Your National Identification Number (NIN) is used to tie together all records about you – demographic data, fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture, other biometric data and digital signature – in the National Identity Database making it relatively easy to confirm and verify your identity when you engage in travels and transactions.
This vital feature of the NIN makes it pivotal for all citizens (home and abroad) as well as legal residents of Nigeria to endeavour to obtain their unique NINs as soon as they can.
Be sure you provide the right information about yourself while your data is captured during enrolment for your NIN, that will be the information legally identifying you for life whenever your NIN is used.
One can see how important the NIN is to an individual:
- it is used for retrieving your captured information from the National Identity Database
- your matching information associated with your NIN can be then used to verify that you are really who you say you are.
To the society as a whole, the NINs issued
- help provide accurate records about actual living/dead persons in every region of the country
- help keep track of actual transactions as well as movement of people within and out of the country
- help confirm which individuals are in actual need of particular Government services, e.g. age and retirement confirmation for pensioners.
When it comes to access to vital services (like passport issuance, banking services, land transactions, insurance services, pension, health insurance, payment of taxes, voter’s registration, consumer credits, and all Government services), your NIN becomes necessary for:
- cutting down the time needed for verifying documents to properly identify you in order to access the services you require
- reducing errors in allocation of services to the right people
- prevention of fraud (419) where someone else impersonates you
- verification of the real identity of other people you go into financial or business transactions with or even people you wish to employ such as house help
- ensuring you are properly identified when receiving health services, e.g. verifying the actual blood types of blood donors at hospitals
- verification of voter eligibility during elections.
The ongoing database harmonization efforts with other agencies and banks across Nigeria, with the announcement by the Nigeria Immigration Service making the NIN a requirement for obtaining a travel passport, further emphasize the importance of every individual having his/her own NIN.
Eventually all agencies and banks will be using your NIN for services and transactions.
Imagine you walk into an Immigration office to apply for an international passport.
You are asked for information verifying your identity and you just give them a number and instantly the Immigration officials connect to the National Identity Database – all your required information appears on their computer screen.
They can only see information they are authorised to see.
Done, your identity is verified – no need to go get extra documents, spend more money, just to prove who you are.
That is the convenience provided by your NIN.
It’s the same thing when you go to process a driver’s licence, you would only need to present your NIN and your identity would be verified.
Even outside the country, your NIN remains valuable whether you are travelling or are part of the Nigerian diaspora:
- you can easily identify yourself with other proud Nigerians abroad
- the Nigeria Government would have more accurate statistical data of its citizens living abroad, useful for harnessing more skills and talent
- identity verification using the NIN would enable easier discovery of relatives and friends worldwide
- senders and receivers of money and goods/services can be identified, verified and traced as needed, enabling secure international transactions.