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NIMC lists five illegal data services websites

This year alone, Nigeria’s digital ID authority, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), has had at least two data breaches linked to its partner agents—a debacle with XpressVerify in March 2024, and recently with last Thursday. 

These unlicensed “data service” providers were selling the personal information of millions of Nigerians—which they had bought from licensed agents—for a mere ₦190 ($0.12). With such sensitive details readily available, the safety and privacy of countless Nigerians were put at significant risk.

In Faith Omoniyi’s report for TechCabal, an unnamed ethical hacker theorised that, “It is either the NIMC is doing a poor job at data protection by using cloud storage to store data or an insider is allowing individuals to retrieve data.”

The second theory by the hacker might be a good point. In February, NIMC restored NIN verification after the World Bank claimed the process was vulnerable to data breaches. With the service restored, NIMC-licensed partners can allegedly make API calls to access data information of Nigerians and sell to sub-agents for profit without NIMC’s knowledge.

The agency issued a statement on its public domains where it denied the claims, and assured Nigerians that no sensitive data was exposed.

Part of the statement read, “The Commission have not authorised any website or entity to sell or misuse the National Identity Number (NIN) amongst all the identities stated in the report,” referring to Paradigm HQ’s report that first broke the news of the breach on Thursday.

More bad actors: Following’s ousting as an illegal data services website, NIMC’s statement drew attention to four other websites—,,, and—that harvested data of millions of Nigerians. All of them have now shut down to hide traces of their activities.

But the real questions still remain: Why was the NIN Verification Service (NVS) recommissioned and why is the Commission allowing licenced agents to make API calls to its database?

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SEC lays ground rule for faster VASP licence approval

Nigeria’s crypto scene just got a jolt. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a surprise programme—the Accelerated Regulatory Incubation Program (ARIP)—for virtual asset service providers (VASPs), a.k.a. crypto exchanges.

Under the SEC’s purview, VASPs are cryptocurrency service providers that facilitate the trading and safekeeping of virtual assets (excluding debt and equity digital assets) for other people (usually its users). An example of a VASP licence holder in Nigeria is Yellow Card—the crypto exchange platform.

Typically, the procedure for a VASP license to become fully operative takes 10—13 weeks. However, with the new 30-day ARIP window already effective, companies that have already filed applications with the Commission prior, and those seeking to be registered as VASPs can obtain approval-in-principle, pending when the Digital Assets Rules [pdf] become operational.

The cost of the ARIP programme, however, comes at the additional cost of a non-refundable ₦2,000,000 ($1,300) fee—plus the original ₦150,000,000 ($98,000) registration fee announced in March—for companies that want to cue in for this programme.

Zoom out: The ARIP and increased fees could potentially weed out smaller players with malicious intent in the crypto space, centralising the market among well-funded entities. While this might enhance stability, it could also stifle innovation and limit access for everyday Nigerians. 

While the SEC frames this as a path to compliance, the rushed nature of the programme raises eyebrows. Is this a genuine attempt at creating a regulated crypto environment, or a hasty reaction to Nigeria’s crypto powerhouse which has accounted for over $50 billion in crypto transaction value since 2022?

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DR Congo’s biometric ID project faces cancellation

The DR Congo has struggled with national identification for decades. The last issuance occurred in 1984 when the country was still known as Zaire.

In 2023, DRC announced the launch of new biometric identification which attracted bids from industry giants such as Idemia, Thales, and Veridos. It was awarded to Afritech and French identity giant Idemia and was expected to cost $697 million. 

The big snag: The contract may be cancelled following allegations of financial misconduct. The Inspectorate General of Finance (IDF) is investigating possible contract inflation. Afritech’s founder, Samba Bathily, will not be allowed to leave DRC .

DRC initially unveiled its plan to create a new population register and implement a biometric identification system in 2020. However, the project fell through at the time due to lack of funding.

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Nigeria Immigration Service to screen travellers with new tech

Nigeria has introduced a new technology called Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) in Nigeria. This system connects with major global databases, including INTERPOL 24/7 and the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), to make passenger entry easier and improve national security.

Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, explained that this project was a joint effort between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

What does it do? Well, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) can now screen travellers before they arrive in Nigeria. This system works by collecting travellers’ information from airlines and checking it against international databases like INTERPOL and MIDAS. This allows the NIS to identify potential security risks and prevent them from entering the country. 

There’s more: The Minister also announced the completion of the Command and Control Centre for the Air Border Control Management System at the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) headquarters, a facility representatives from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Canada reportedly say is one of the best in the world. The system is a high-tech hub that monitors air traffic, analyzes passenger data, and coordinates with security forces to streamline and secure air travel.

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Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3


Coinmarketcap logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $62,680

– 2.81%

– 7.17%

Ether $3,363

– 4.18%

– 11.01%



– 9.17%

– 38.14%

Solana $124.71

– 7.20%

– 26.42%

* Data as of 06:40 AM WAT, June 24, 2024.


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