Tuesday , October 4 2022

Why NIN is Important in Nigeria

Every Nigerian is expected to have National Identification Number (NIN) to ensure presence in the nation’s data base. The NIN is issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), which was created in 2010. This commission was mandated by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007 to register people the Act covers and give each person a unique National Identification Number (NIN). According to the NIMC, the essence of each individual having an NIN is part of a measure to create a national identity database and to put a stop to both double identity and identity fraud.

What is NIN?

You might be wondering what this number really means. Here’s what it means; The National Identification Number (NIN) is a set of numbers assigned to an individual upon successful enrolment. The NIN is used to tie all records about an individual in the database and is also used to establish or verify his/her identity. The NIN is designed for citizens’ registration as part of government’s national strategy to build database on all citizens for enhanced economic planning.

How to Enroll for NIN

According to National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) website, to enroll means to record an individual’s demographic data and capture of the ten (10) fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture and digital signature, which are all used to cross-check existing data in the National Identity Database to confirm that there is no previous entry of the same data.

After the completion of the process and making sure no duplication exists in the data base, the data is then stored with a unique NIN that was assigned to it. The NIN is then issued to the person who requested it and once it is issued to a person, it cannot be used again or issued to another person even if the previous person is dead. The NIN number that helps to tie all records about a person in the database and is used to check the identity verified.

Upon registration, individuals will be provided with an NIN and eventually a national ID card.

In 2018, the NIMC revealed plans to complete issuing electronic identity cards (e-ID) to 70 million Nigerians by the end of December 2019. However, with many people complaining about not having the e-ID after the registration, it appears that the commission has not met its target.

Once a NIN holder dies, his/her NIN is retired once a death certificate is presented to the Commission and the individual’s death is established.

It is very necessary for you to provide the right information about yourself while your data is captured during enrolment for your NIN. This is because the information you provide will be used always to legally identify you for life whenever your NIN is used.

Who should have NIN?

Every citizen of Nigeria (home and abroad), including legal residents in Nigeria, from age zero (birth) and above are eligible to enrol for their NINs. It is like your digital image in virtual Nigeria. The relevance of NIN makes it pivotal for all citizens (home and abroad) as well as legal residents of Nigeria to endeavour to obtain their unique NINs as soon as they can. So let’s see why this number is very essential.

Why NIN is Important

The NIN is very essential for several reasons. First is that it is to be used for all transactions in Nigeria requiring identity verification. This makes it very important to any Nigerian citizen in this county. Here are specific uses of NIN, according to NIMC;

  • obtaining your National e-ID card
  • travel (international passport application & acquisition)
  • opening personal bank accounts
  • getting your driver’s license
  • obtaining your Permanent Voters’ Card
  • participating in the National Health Insurance Scheme
  • payment of your taxes
  • transactions related to your contributory pension scheme
  • access to welfare and other relevant services from the Nigerian Government
  • transactions with social security implications
  • land transactions subject to the Land Use Act
  • any other transactions NIMC may so prescribe and list in the Federal Government Gazette

To the individual, NIN is important for specific reasons among which are these:

  • It is used for retrieving your captured information from the National Identity Database
  • Your matching information associated with your NIN can be then used to verify that you are really who you say you are.

To the society as a whole, NIN is important for specific reasons among which are these

  • It helps provide accurate records about actual living/dead persons in every region of the country
  • It helps keep track of actual transactions as well as movement of people within and out of the country
  • It helps confirm which individuals are in actual need of particular Government services, e.g. age and retirement confirmation for pensioners.

When you look closely at what NIN is used for in the society especially in transactions involving vital services, you’ll further understand the relevance of this number. For instance, NIN is very essential when it comes to access to vital services (like passport issuance, banking services, land transactions, insurance services, pension, health insurance, payment of taxes, voter’s registration, consumer credits, and all Government services). Here’s what NIN helps to do in this area:

  • It helps in cutting down the time needed for verifying documents to properly identify you in order to access the services you require
  • It helps in reducing errors in allocation of services to the right people
  • It helps in prevention of fraud (419) where someone else impersonates you
  • It helps in verification of the real identity of other people you go into financial or business transactions with or even people you wish to employ such as house help
  • It ensures you are properly identified when receiving health services, e.g. verifying the actual blood types of blood donors at hospitals
  • It helps in verification of voter eligibility during elections.


How to check your NIN using USSD code

You can get your NIN number using USSD code. What is the USSD code? It refers to Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, which is sometimes referred to as “Quick Codes” or “Feature codes”, which is a communications protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the mobile network operator’s computers. So how can you use the code to get your NIN number? Here’s how: According to Tech.Africa, if you have enrolled for the national ID card scheme, you can get your NIN by dialling *346# from the phone number associated with your voter’s card, drivers licence, or BVN registration. You should make sure you have at least ₦20 airtime on your line and then dial the code. Then you either write or take a screenshot when the NIN is displayed on the screen as it will not be displayed more than once. Presently, the USSD code works on MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile.

Difference between NIN and National ID Card

This has been a source of controversy for quite a long time. Even NIMC is still on the hot seat over the commission’s failure to convincingly tell Nigerians the difference between the two. But here’s an attempt at differentiating them, by ITEdge News. The NIN is more than the ID card. The NIN is a set of unique 11-numbers issued to individuals/citizens who have registered with the NIMC. The NIMC captures the digital identity of all citizens and issued them the NIN as their unique digital identity. The NIN is issued in a slip which is free. The slip is a lawful means of identification for Nigerians.

On the other hand, the ID card is mere cosmetic and does not bar a citizen from the statutory benefits of the NIN once it has been acquired. You may lose your ID card but you must never lose your NIN – it is your identity number a Nigerian for life.

Still not very clear but the fact is that you should just make effort to get your NIN so you wont have problems doing transactions in Nigeria. Let the authorities keep the difference between the NIN and National ID card to themselves, you may say.

How to Link Your Phone Number to NIN

You can easily link your phone number to your NIN by following certain steps. The process is specific for different network providers because of the difference in codes used to begin the process. Here are few steps to link your phone number with your NIN

MTN Users

For MTN users, simply dial *785# and get it done in few seconds or

Visit https://mtnonline.com/nim/ using your phone or computer

Complete the NIN linking form by entering your name, phone number, NIN, and email address.

Submit the form as soon as you’re done.

Wait for feedback from the network.

Airtel Users

To link your NIN to your Airtel phone number, follow the steps below:

  1. Dial *121# on the Airtel line you wish to link.
  2. Type 1 for “NIN Capture” and send.
  3. Enter your 11-digit NIN and send.

Wait for the message confirming your submission. If you get an error, just wait for some time and try again. You can visit the nearest office of your service provider for further confirmation where the process is complicated to you.

9mobile Users

To link your NIN to your 9mobile phone number, follow the steps below:

  1. Dial *200*8# on the 9mobile line you wish to link. You will see three options- 1. Verify your linked NIN; 2. Enter your 11 digit NIN; 3. NIN registration Centers. If you already have your NIN, select option by entering the number “2”  in the provided space.
  2. Type 1*your 11 digit NIN and send. That’s all.

Glo Users

To link your NIN with your Glo line, follow the steps below:

  1. Simply send “UPDATENIN NIN FirstName and LastName” to 109.
  2. Wait for network feedback on your linking status.

Take note that the name you submit must match the one on your ID card/slip for the linking to be successful.

Alternatively, visit www.gloworld.com/ng/nin. Thereafter, enter your name, phone number and NIN to carry out the linking.



The NIN is a something you should guard jealously and not disclose anyhow. The NIMC warns that NIN should be closely guarded by holders of the number and should not be revealed to all and sundry except to relevant authorities when requested. It should not be made public on social media or such online platforms, and should not be printed with contact details on business cards or other office stationery. This means the NIN should be very private information to holders.


Every citizen and resident of Nigeria should have this number. The process is not really difficult and it is worth whatever stress you might face while getting it. This is because you will definitely find it difficult to do any meaningful business or any other official dealings in Nigeria without your NIN. This is a unique number which identifies you for life and is issued to you by NIMC after your enrolment. So you need to have it.

About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a writer with passion for cutting-edge news

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