The federal government has began moves to replace Bank Verification Number (BVN) with National Identification Number (NIN), saying the former is illegitimate.
Isa Pantami, communications minister who disclosed this yesterday said a proposal has been forwarded to the National Economic Sustainability Committee for approval.
He explained that the BVN, an initiative by the CBN to reduce illegal banking transactions in the country, was merely a bank policy without legal backings.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari made NIN enrolment mandatory for Nigerians and permanent residents who want to use telephone numbers or risk being deactivated, although this is not contained in the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Act 2007.
“BVN is a policy of a bank and has not been established by law. NIN is the only mandatory number, and the primary identification of our citizens and every other identification is secondary,” The Cable quoted the minister to have said during an inspection of the ongoing NIN enrolment exercise in Abuja.
“I made a presentation to National Economic Sustainability Committee, and I drew the attention of CBN governor that we need to replace BVN with NIN because the BVN is a bank policy while NIN is a law.
“So this (the NIN) is the primary identification of all, and all other databases are supposed to utilise this and not for NIN to utilise the BVN because it is the primary one,” Mr. Pantami explained.