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NIN: World Bank Disburses $45.5m For Nigeria’s ID4D Project

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The World Bank said it has disbursed a total of $45.5m to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) under the Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project.

According to the ‘Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project’ report published by the bank on its website, the project is aimed at enrolling more Nigerians for the National Identification Number (NIN).

According to the apex bank, Nigeria was able to secure the funding with the passing into law of the Nigerian Protection Act in June last year.

The fund was disbursed in multiple tranches between December 2021 and April 2024 and disbursement is still ongoing.

The $45m so far released represents about 10.5 per cent of the total project’s cost, which is put at $430m.

While the June 1, 2024 deadline set for the enrollment of 148 million Nigerians for the NIN has passed and Nigeria is still lagging, the Bank described the progress of the project so far as ‘moderately satisfactory’. NIMC recently disclosed that 107.3 million NIN had been issued as of April this year.

The release of funds for the project which comprises a combination of loans and grants, was predicated on the institutionalisation of data protection.

The development comes on the hills of a recent warning by the NIMC to Nigerians, against the activities of some unauthorised websites harvesting people’s data

The websites are idfinder.com.ng, Verify.ng, championtech.com.ng, trustyonline.com, and anyverify.com.

On June 20, Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise, raised alarm over its discovery of the sale of NINs, bank verification numbers (BVNs), and other personal data of Nigerians on a website for as low as N100.

According to the organisation, a website known as ‘AnyVerify.com.ng’ was discovered to be involved in the commercial distribution of personal and private data of Nigerians.

Paradigm Initiative added that several unauthorised websites are claiming to hold and provide access to sensitive personal and financial data of Nigerian citizens “for as little as 100 Naira”.

“This alarming development presents a major breach of the fundamental rights to privacy, a breach of data privacy rights, and poses significant risks to individuals and the national economy,” the firm said.

Reacting to the report, the commission said AnyVerify.com.ng and other aforementioned websites, are data harvesters and unauthorised to access or manage sensitive data.

The agency also denied the exposure of sensitive data of Nigerians “as alleged and reported”.

“The commission, at this moment, assures the public that the data of Nigerians has not been compromised, and the Commission have not authorised any website or entity to sell or misuse the National Identification Number (NIN) amongst all the identities stated in the report,” NIMC said.

“NIMC urges the public to disregard any claims or services these websites offer and should not give their data as they are potentially fraudulent and data provided by the public on such websites are gathered and stored to build the data services they illegally provide.

“Consequently, the public should know that the commission has taken robust measures to safeguard the nation’s database from cyber threats- a secure, world-class, full-proof database is in place.

“The commission’s infrastructure meets the stringent ISO 27001:2013 information security management system standard, with annual recertification and strict compliance with the Nigerian Data Protection Law.”

NIMC also advised Nigerians to avoid giving their data to unauthorised and phishing sites, stressing that licensed partners or vendors are not authorised to scan or store NIN slips but to verify them through approved channels.

“This poses the danger of data harvesting and comprises individual data,” the commission added.

“The Commission reaffirms its commitment to upholding ethical standards in data protection in line with federal government directives and data privacy regulations.

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Tinubu’s Minister Disobeys President’s Order, Fails to Confirm Appointment As Directed

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, has allegedly failed to implement President Bola Tinubu’s directive to appoint Nicholas Agbo-Ella as Nigeria’s OPEC Governor.

Recall that in a May 6 directive, President Tinubu instructed Lokpobiri to submit Agbo-Ella’s name to replace Gabriel Aduda, who was redeployed to the Ministry of Women Affairs.

President Tinubu in his memo to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and copied to Mr Lokpobiri said that Mr Lokpobiri should “take immediate steps to notify OPEC of the change of Permanent Secretary and replace Ambassador Gabriel T. Aduda’s name with Ambassador Nicholas Agbo-Ella as the Governor nominated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, being the current Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum.”

The minister was directed to ensure the “replacement is confirmed by the conference scheduled for 1 June 2024.”

Mr Aduda is a brother to former FCT Senator Philip Aduda who is reportedly an ally of Nyesom Wike.

 

According to sources within the administration, Mr. Lokpobiri has failed to submit Mr. Agbo-Ella’s name to the OPEC Board of Governors as of June 1, despite the president’s directive.

The reason behind Mr. Lokpobiri’s inaction is unclear, and it remains a mystery why Mr. Aduda, who has been reassigned to the Ministry of Women Affairs, continues to serve as OPEC governor.

 

Checks show that Mr Aduda is still listed as Nigeria’s Governor on the OPEC website.

Sources close to the ministry revealed that Mr. Aduda, despite his transfer from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, was recently photographed receiving the OPEC Secretary General, Haitham Al Ghais, in Nigeria. Additionally, a photograph dated June 2, 2024, shows Mr. Lokpobiri and Mr. Aduda attending an OPEC meeting virtually.

This is also not Mr. Aduda’s first controversial involvement. In May 2014, it was widely reported how he entered the federal civil service despite failing exams at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

After resigning due to poor performance, he was surprisingly appointed Director of the Economic Research and Policy Management Department at the Federal Ministry of Finance just six months later. He has since served in various ministries, including Foreign Affairs, Petroleum Resources, and now Women’s Affairs.

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Senators new timetable now 11am to 3pm for Plenary

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The Senate has amended its rule book to start holding Plenary from 11am to 3pm.

The Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, had raised two motions at the commencement of plenary.

One of motions was an amendment to the standing rules which proposed that the Senate shifts the timing of its sittings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 11am, and close by 3pm like their counterpart in the House of Representatives.

The Senate Leader also moved his second motion on Standing Committee’s Amendment of order 96 to create the Senate Committee on Reparation and repatriation.

However, the second motion was stepped down as senators opted to debate on the issue of sitting time.

While lending his voice to the issue, Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio had indicated that the most urgent motion was to align the time of resumption with what obtains in the House of Representatives.

He suggested that the motion should be separated and that the first one to be taken should be the time of sitting.

However, the Immediate past President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan while making his contribution, disagreed with Akpabio.

Lawan said, “I don’t know the basis at the moment for which we want to shift our sitting from 10 to 11 and end at 3pm, for me, we have more energy, our eyes are clearer in the morning and one hour into the day, probably we would have lost some energy.

“If we work between 10am and 2pm, if we sit in the plenary between 10am and 2pm, our committees would do better. If we don’t have any reason except we have to synchronize with the House, I think we need to look at it again.

“However, if we have other reasons that we must change, that is fine. If it is just to synchronize with the House may have their reasons for sitting at 11 and close by 3pm but here I don’t see the reasons.”

Responding Akpabio threw it back at Lawan that the idea of the Senate sitting by 11am started during his time as the President of the 9th Senate especially during the period of the COVID-19.

But Lawan reacted by saying it was as a result of the COVID-19 that the time was tinkered from 10am to 11am adding that they had to cut down on the number of days for plenary.

Akpabio then reacted that, “Our rules said 10am but we came to meet the tradition of 11am, the only thing that we changed was to add additional day because during that COVID-19 period we were sitting twice a week.

“I said no, since there is no more COVID we should sit three times in a week and we maintained what we saw, 11am but now we are.saying that we have not been able to justify the 11am sitting unless it reflects same on our rules.

“The Idea of 3pm in my view is not correct because it does not mean you must sit till 3pm, it simply means if we don’t have musc to do we can close at 1pm or 2pm to enable our colleagues to go for committee sittings and other matters related to the proceedings of the Senate such as clearances and all that.

“The only aspect of it is to legalise it so that people don’t have the impression that we are sitting at 11am while the rule says 10am”.

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Sad! Lagos Marwa operator takes own life over tricycle seizure

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A yet-to-be-identified tricyclist has died by suicide after efforts to reportedly retrieve his seized tricycle from some government agents proved abortive in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the tricyclist was heading to a destination in the state when the officials intercepted him for an offence.

Following the interception, the officers reportedly seized the tricycle and took it to their office located close to the Jubilee Estate, along the Ikorodu-Sagamu Expressway.

Efforts by the tricycle operator to retrieve his tricycle from the officials were said to have been futile.

Our correspondent learnt that perplexed by the development, the tricyclist, in an apparent effort to protest the seizure of his tricycle, went to a tree at the front of the fence of the compound where the offices of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, and Vehicle Inspection Officers are situated, close to the Jubilee Estate, along the Ikorodu-Sagamu Expressway, and hanged himself.

An eyewitness, Prince Excel of Aiyekooto Reporters, in a video posted on WhatsApp, described the case as unfortunate, noting that the man killed himself on Thursday morning.

He said, “This is early Thursday morning, July 11, 2024, an unfortunate situation just happened right now. A man just committed suicide on the major road at the Jubilee Estate infront of the LASTMA gate on the Sagamu Road. This is quite unfortunate.”

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