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NIN generated via BVN must be updated at enrolment centres – NIMC

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By Ogaga Ariemu

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), has insisted that it is compulsory for Nigerians to visit the enrolment centres to complete their National Identification Number registration.

It stressed that it was important for people not to get carried away with the generation of NIN due to Bank Verification Number (BVN) record harmonisation with the National Identity Database.

In a post on its Twitter handle on Tuesday, the agency asked those who have gotten their NIN through such a process to visit the enrolment centres to validate their number.

It said, “NIN generated by the BVN can only be used after it has been updated at the NIMC enrolment center. You must complete your NIN registration even if your BVN has generated a NIN.”

“If your NIN was generated due to BVN record harmonisation with the National Identity Database, you will not have access to the NIMC mobile app, and your NIN-SIM integration will be invalid.

“Kindly visit an enrolment centre to complete your NIN registration,” another tweet read.

The NIMC made the clarification following the controversy sparked by the use of shortcodes to generate the NIN.

This comes after some enrolees said they got the number after getting registered for the BVN, insisting that there was no need to visit any NIMC centre again.

Amid the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, thousands of Nigerians storm the NIMC enrolment centres daily.

There are fears that the rate of transmission at the enrolment centres is high because the enrolees fail to comply with the COVID-19 protocols.

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NITDA inaugurates startup labelling committee for implementation of Nigeria Startup Act

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By Blessing Emmanuel, Abuja

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has taken a significant step towards driving the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) with the inauguration of a Startup Labelling Committee. This committee, inaugurated by NITDA Director-General Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, comprises representatives from both the public and private sectors.

Enacted on October 19, 2022, the NSA established a legal and institutional framework to foster the development and growth of Nigerian startups. A critical provision within the Act is the Startup Label, which recognises eligible startups and grants them access to various benefits outlined in the NSA. The issuance of the Startup Label hinges on a thorough assessment and validation process to ensure a startup meets the eligibility criteria as defined by the Act. The newly formed committee will play a pivotal role in overseeing this process.

In his address at the inauguration ceremony, Inuwa emphasised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration’s unwavering dedication to fostering an environment conducive to the growth and success of young Nigerian innovators. He acknowledged the pivotal role startups will play in propelling the nation’s economic development and the significance of the committee’s work in nurturing and supporting these enterprises.

Inuwa elaborated on the various initiatives and support mechanisms the government plans to implement, aimed at reducing hurdles and providing financial assistance and mentorship opportunities to young entrepreneurs. He expressed optimism about the future, asserting that with the right support, these budding innovators could transform their ideas into thriving enterprises, contributing significantly to job creation and the overall economic prosperity of Nigeria in line with President Tinubu’s priority to “reform the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth.”

He urged stakeholders to join hands in creating a robust ecosystem that would empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to flourish and contribute to the country’s progress. Inuwa added that the committee will be instrumental in establishing a robust legal and institutional framework for the successful implementation of the Startup Act. Their collaborative efforts will ensure a participatory approach that benefits all stakeholders within the Nigerian startup ecosystem.

“The composition of the committee reflects the emphasis on collaboration. Representatives from government agencies, industry experts, investors, and startup founders will bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to the table. This collaborative approach is expected to lead to a more efficient and effective labelling process, ultimately benefiting the growth of Nigerian startups,” he stated.

The National Coordinator of the Office for Nigeria Digital Innovation, Victoria Fabunmi, outlined the terms of reference for the advisory committee. These include reviewing and evaluating startups’ applications for the label based on criteria defined in the Act, periodically updating labelling criteria to ensure alignment with industry trends, and conducting impartial evaluations of submitted applications.

Furthermore, the committee will recommend the issuance or otherwise of the Startup Label based on defined criteria, provide feedback and recommendations on areas of improvement for rejected applications, and engage startups for more clarity where necessary. It will also periodically review its activities and data on labelling to identify opportunities and gaps that policymakers may need to address, review workload capacity, and recommend a fair ceiling for the number of applications to be considered per period.

The Labelling Committee comprises nine members: four representatives of incubators (ISN Rep, North and South), two representatives of the public sector (NITDA, NSIA), two representatives of civil society, and the Portal Coordinator who will serve as Secretary.

The inauguration of the Startup Labelling Committee marks a significant milestone in the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act. With a multi-stakeholder committee guiding the process, the Act has the potential to unlock the immense potential of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development.

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Airtel Nigeria appoints new advertising, media agencies

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Airtel Nigeria has appointed new agencies to handle its advertising and media activities in the country.

This was disclosed by the Director of Corporate Communications and CSR, Mr Femi Adeniran over the weekend.

According to Adeniran, “Following a rigorous pitch process, Airtel Nigeria is pleased to announce the appointment of three marketing communications consulting agencies to collaborate with the internal teams to drive Airtel brand communications, beginning July 1, 2024.

“Insight Publicis and The Hook were successful with their RFPs and have been appointed as advertising agencies while Algorithm Media has been charged with the responsibility for media strategy, planning and buying as well as digital marketing.

“MediaTrak Limited remains the media monitoring agency for Airtel Nigeria,” the statement revealed.

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NIMC boosts data security measures to protect citizens’ information

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By Opeyemi Abdulsalam

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has temporarily suspended the bypass enrolment process to prevent abuse and rectify any irregularities.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by NIMC, Head, Corporate Communications, Kayode Adegoke,  on Saturday.

Bypass enrollment is a way to avoid or skip the process of setting up a device with restrictions and management controls, usually set by an organisation.

This process allows the user to have full control over the device.

“The commission has received numerous reports regarding fraudulent online platforms compelling Nigerians to submit their personal information for national identification number (NIN) modification or enrollment services,” NIMC said.

“Perpetrators of these illegal activities will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“In addition, the commission has temporarily suspended the bypass enrollment process to prevent abuse and rectify any irregularities.”

Adegoke also said NIMC will communicate to the public the resumption of the bypass process later.

The commission also stressed its commitment to providing secured identity services and protecting the citizens’ data per its mandate as Nigeria’s foundational identity provider.

According to NIMC, enhanced measures have been implemented to safeguard the information stored in its national identity database.

“These actions align with the commitment outlined by the Director-General/CEO, Engr Abisoye Coker-Odusote, upon assuming office in August 2023,” NIMC said.

“Engr Coker-Odusote emphasised that the NIMC collaborates with relevant security agencies to uphold the utmost data security standards and regulatory compliance.

“As part of these new security protocols, all licensed verification agents, front end partners (FEPs), and diaspora FEPs will undergo rigorous security vetting to ensure adherence to global best practices in identity management.

“Any FEPs in violation will face sanctions by established regulations and the nation’s laws.”

NIMC said law enforcement authorities have been directed to crack down on and apprehend individuals involved in online phishing schemes targeting citizens’ data from other sources.

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