Technology Telecom

Technical Glitches Hit Nigerian Identity Database, Disrupt Access to NIN Verification

Nigeria identity database suffered a glitch, which has disrupted transactions across the board nationwide with thousands of telecommunication subscribers seeking to retrieve their lost Subscriber Identity Module cards or acquire new lines temporarily have been left stranded.

Also, people who want to renew their international passports, or obtain fresh one have been unable to do so due to the glitch which has made inaccessible the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) portal.

The affected NIMC portal enables telecom firms, the Nigerian Immigration Service, banks and other organisations to verify the National Identity Number of their customers before attending to them, in line with the Federal Government’s directive.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had in 2020 directed mobile telephony subscribers to link their National Indentification Number (NIN) with their SIM, while telecom firms are required to synchronise their SIM registration portals with the NIMC portal in order to verify the details of subscribers.

The inaccessibility of the NIMC portal has made it almost impossible for telecom firms to sell new SIM cards or retrieve lost lines.

According to a source at MTN who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorised to speak on the matter, the downtime in the NIMC network which occurred late on Tuesday has brought SIM-related services to a halt.

“NIMC made it compulsory that before we can register a customer, we have to verify their NIN. The agency gave us a back route to its server. We connect to the server to verify NIN. When we verify, it will bring the record of the customer (the information the customer gave to NIMC while registering for NIN). We have to confirm the information the customer gave NIMC against what we have. There’s a way we connect to the NIMC server. It is that server that has been down since Wednesday.

“Before now, we didn’t need NIN to do this. We just use the customer’s valid ID card and SIM pack. If the customer does not have that, a sworn affidavit is okay. However, the introduction of NIN has changed that,” sources said.

Also, officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service told our correspondents on condition of anonymity that passport application process was delayed in some passport offices because the NIN verification process was stalled.

They said some passport capturing appointments might have to be rebooked over the development.

“The glitch at the NIMC portal affected passport application process during the week. There was a need to verify applicants NINs. This could not be done. It started since late on Tuesday,” an immigration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the NIMC said its NIN verification service was down due to maintenance being executed by its service provider.

“The National Identity Management Commission wishes to inform the general public that its NIN Verification Service is temporarily unavailable due to the maintenance service being carried out by one of the Commission’s network service providers.

“The NIMC wants to assure the public that verification and authentication services would be restored once the maintenance is concluded.

“The commission apologises for any inconveniences this might cause our esteemed customers, and all hands are on deck to ensure speedy restoration. Meanwhile, the public can make use of the alternative tokenisation verification platform,” NIMC said in the statement.

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