Isa Pantami, the Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has said that some security agencies have gotten approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to access the database of the National Identity Management Commission in the course of going about their duties.
The minister said this in Saudi Arabia to Nigerian journalists on the sidelines of LEAP 22, a technology event.
Mr Pantami, who did not list the names of the security agencies, said some of them are permitted to gain access based on the cybercrime law without the permission of the ministry because the database allows lawful interception.
What the minister said about access to NIMC data
The minister said permitting the lawful intercept was aimed at supporting the security agencies.
Mr Pantami said, “Mr. President has given approval for them to do it, without even our intervention. So, with that approval, the NCC has conveyed that through my office to all the relevant institutions that the President has granted approval.”
“So, with it, they can gain access into the database even without our permission, and they have never complained to me, even for once. The only person that wrote a letter to me is the Minister of Defence, asking that we should try to finish the NIN-SIM policy on time,” he added.
Mr Pantami revealed that the NIMC has captured over 73 million so far. “If you look at the circumstances, NIMC is doing very well. Before my coming, what NIMC captured was just about 40 million, but now over 73 million have been done. We have achieved over 30 million within one year, while 40 million was achieved from 2007 to 2020.”
“Secondly, about NIN-SIM registration, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the NIMC are not security institutions. We are a sector for economic development but we came up with the policy because the priority of the government is security and it is a constitutional obligation of any government. It is in the 1999 Constitution as amended, Section 14 Subsection 2, Article B, it is our responsibility,” the minister said.