Is Nigeria’s BVN, NIN duplication of ideas?

No doubt, majority of Nigerians are gradually coming to terms with the benefits and the need to get the new national Iden­tification card, after much persuation through series of sensitisation pro­grammes by the government.

In the same vein, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), recently introduced its Biometrics Verification Number (BVN), mandating banks to act upon it for the purpose of knowing their customers .

The BVN is coming on the heels of the grumbling of some Nigerians that the toll of going to designated enrollment centres are stressful as well as unreceipted N300 being collected by some agents of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC). They said that both are impacting negatively on them.

Although, one of the Directors at NIMC, John Durojaiye has always denied NIMC’s involvement in the N300 being collectect for the purpose of enrollment. But this denial has not stopped these agents, rather they smile to their banks on daily basis.

Meanwhile, Daily Sun’s investigation of some banks in the Lagos metroplis reveals that the queue at most banks designated for the BVN purpose are also not encouraging, because some of the staffs are still slow with the process of stamping , verifying and taking the biometrics of their customers.

BVN technology is the capturing of an individual’s basic biometric data information, which includes the facial image, the 10 fingerprints as well as other unique features of that individual. It will utilise the biometric technology system for verification and secure authentication of the identity of the bank. And a permanent unique number will be generated in that process and synchronised for other banks transaction. While the new Electronic Identity Card (e-ID), also involve the biometrics technology and the generation of a unique number, which is known as the National Identification Number (NIN), that will enable an individual perform other functions under the harmonised National Identity Database that was ordered by the Presidency in October, 2013.

However, the question on every lip is whether, this is not a duplicity of idea because both will address the same issue of identification?

According to an industry analyst, Blaize Ezeigbo, Nigeria just preferred to waste resources and time unnecessarily.

“If the e-ID card will solve some banking issues, one would have expected an harmonisation or a convergence of these things. Rather for another biometrics technology to be deployed again by the CBN. There is every implication for these things. How many Nigerians will remember their NIN and BVN numbers? Take for instance, I have four mobile numbers, I only remember two out of the four. It’s not easy for an adult to put up these things. Technology is about convergence and I think, it is something that should be looked into”.

Another industry watcher, Uche Ilomuanya, said that both the electronic identification card and the BVN can be used for the same purpose, rather than bring up another biometrics format.

He reiterated that since the e-ID card has the functionality of a payment card, a platform that includes the CBN and others banks. He maintained that there shouldn’t have been any duplicity of ideas.

In developed countries, what they have is security number and it’s such a powerful one that addresses every thing that an individual will need. We all know that in Nigeria, everyone wants to come up with idea that will translate into money”

Although the Deputy Director at CBN, Obot Udofia, defended the BVN at a recent function, and explained that it has direct benefits of financial inclusion.

Said he: “The essential of this is to discourage money laundering and the use of cash for transactions; making financial resources transparently available for efficient intermediation and allocation for uses that have the highest returns.

“Funds moved from the informal sector into the formal sector; strengthens the confidence in the financial industry and leads to financial development, which would in-turn accelerate economic growth; the financial institutions benefit, as the cost of financial services substantially reduces due to less volume of documentations, increased number of customers and through the deployment of innovative technology; the customers can benefit from having access to a variety of financial products and services provided by regulated and supervised institutions’ . Noting that it would curtail social vices as more hands are engaged; and the regulators and law enforcement agents will benefit from the audit trail as transactions are conducted transparently in supervised environment and transactions hitherto undertaken in the informal un-regulated sector are gradually carried out in the formal sector.

Meanwhile, an industry watcher, Adekunle Idowu said that Nigeria is a great country with people of intellectual prowress and that is why , she is respected globally.

“And this intelligence is being maximised for monetary gains of a few people. How do you explain BVN again? Someone, somewhere will just wake up with the idea of BVN, shortly after Nigerians are still grappling with the adoption of the e-ID card by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

“Whichever way, we look at it, the bottom line is this: duplication of idea is a way of getting and pocketing a chunk of the national cake,” he said .

However, a new twist was injected by a Chief Executive Officer of a blue chip company,who pleaded anonymity.

He explained that all the generated numbers are the predicted one talked in the holy book that would herald the coming of a demon, who will rule and insist that everything must be unified.

According to him, all these numbers including BVN and NIN will be unified for a futuristic use.

Source : SunOnline

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