What you need to know about NIN tokenization to be implemented Jan 1, 2023

by Johnson Daniel

The Federal Government has implemented “Tokenization,” or virtual National Identification Number (NIN) tokens, through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). The FG announced plans a year ago to replace the 11-digit NIN number with a digital token, which is expected to go into effect next year, in 2023.

What is Tokenization?

Tokenization is a collection of digitally generated numbers (tokens)/encrypted, coded representations generated by a NIN holder whenever he or she is required to identify himself to a service provider. It is known as Virtual NIN (vNIN).

The primary goal of NIN Tokenization is to protect people’s data privacy by using an encrypted, coded version of the NIN instead of the actual NIN that is used for everyday transactions.

The use of tokens rather than actual NIN will eliminate or reduce instances of illegal NIN retrieval, use, transfer, and storage. Tokenization will also allow people with NINs who are eligible for the National e-ID card to obtain visual and high-security representations of the National e-ID on IOS and Android smartphones.

Why do I need Tokenization & how is it beneficial to me?

  • Before the introduction of Tokenization, the NIN was shared and stored by various entities/service providers when presented for identification or when subscribing to a service without the knowledge (or consent) of the NIN holder or the custodian of the foundational identity in Nigeria, NIMC.
  • These verifying entities/service providers store the NIN and use it for other transactions without the NIN holder’s consent or knowledge.
  • With NIN Tokenization, citizens’ (NIN) data cannot be stored or shared by any verifying entity/service provider without the NIN holders’ consent.
  • Tokenization enables the creation of Virtual NINs, which serve as substitutes for actual NINs during identity verification by authorized verification agents/service providers across the country.
  • It thus provides Nigerian citizens and legal residents with peace of mind by issuing a pseudonym version of the NIN that is time-bound, limited to only one service provider, and not reusable. This alleviates concern about NINs falling into the wrong hands or being exposed to criminals as a result of carelessness.
  • NIN tokenization aids in the enforcement of data privacy provisions in our regulations and laws by reducing instances of illegal NIN retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage.
  • The Virtual NIN will expire 72 hours after it was generated.

How to generate a tokenized version of the NIN (vNIN)

  • Ensure you have your NIN and any 6-digit passcode ready for registration on the NIMC Mobile app.
  • Download the NIMC Mobile app on App Store on iOS or Play Store on your Android-enabled devices and follow the registration process.
  • After registration, select “get Virtual NIN”.
  • If you don’t have the service provider’s code, retrieve the code by selecting “Search Approved Enterprises“. Select the service provider (every agency of the Federal Government and private sector licensed for verification services have their respective unique codes).
  • Input the service provider’s code by clicking “Input Enterprise Short Code” and subsequently generate the vNIN for verification purposes.
  • If you are in the presence or have access to the service provider’s QR code, you can tick the “Scan Enterprise QR Code” and scan the QR code displayed by the service provider to generate vNIN for that transaction.
  • Submit your vNIN to the service provider.


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