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‘Citizens’ data is safe’ — NIMC speaks on alleged partnership with private identity verification firm

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has denied having any connection to the breach of citizens’ data by a private organisation, XpressVerify.

On March 16, a report by the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) said XpressVerify has unrestricted access to the national identification numbers (NINs) and personal details of every Nigerian registered in the nation’s identity database managed by NIMC.

The platform is said to have monetised access to NINs and the personal information of citizens on the database.

Reacting to the report in a statement on Sunday, Abisoye Coker-Odusote, the director-general and chief executive officer (CEO) of NIMC, said the commission only offers NIN verification and other services through licensed partners.

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However,  Coker-Odusote said XpressVerify “is not one of the Commission’s licensed partners”.

“We express our gratitude to our media partners and the whistleblowers for bringing this to our attention and wish to assure Nigerians and legal residents that there is no data breach of any sort and the Citizens’ data is safe and secure in the Nigeria’s National identity database,” the statement reads.

The commission said a comprehensive investigation into the matter had begun.

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According to Coker-Odusote, the investigation would find out if any of the commission’s tokenisation verification agents has in any way breached the licensing agreement either directly or through any of their sublicensees.

The NIMC boss further assured of the agency’s commitment to data protection and privacy, stating that no stone would be left unturned in ensuring the safety and security of the data of all enrollees.

“Top-level security is in place to protect the NIN and other personal data of every citizen and legal resident,” Coker-Odusote said.

“NIMC reaffirms its unwavering dedication to safeguarding, securing, and responsibly managing the data entrusted to us.”

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The commission stressed the importance of maintaining public trust and confidence in its operations, adding that it “will continue to uphold the highest standards of integrity and accountability”.

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