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Group Raises Alarm Over Allegedly Sale of Nigerians’ NIN, BVN Data Online For N100

Paradigm Initiative, a Pan-African social enterprise, has sounded the alarm over the discovery of a website selling sensitive personal data of Nigerians, including National Identification Numbers (NIN) and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), for as little as N100.

According to Paradigm Initiative, the website is involved in the commercial distribution of private data, claiming to offer services that verify identities using NIN, BVN, International Passport, Driving License, Voter’s Card, and more.

A visit to the site by Nairametrics confirmed these claims, indicating the site has access to various government databases.

“This alarming development presents a major breach of the fundamental rights to privacy, a breach of data privacy rights, and poses significant risks to individuals and the national economy,” Paradigm Initiative said in a statement.

The organization emphasized that the unauthorized access and sale of personal data could lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and other malicious activities, putting millions of Nigerians at risk.

In response to this serious breach, Paradigm Initiative, through its legal partners Vindich Legal, has served a pre-action notice to several government agencies.

These include the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

The organization highlighted the severe implications of this data breach, warning that it could undermine the stability of Nigeria’s banking system and compromise national security.

The unauthorized dissemination of driver’s license information and other personal data could be exploited by criminal elements for unlawful activities, posing a threat to public safety.Paradigm Initiative stressed the urgent need for robust data protection laws and stringent enforcement mechanisms to safeguard citizens’ data.

“Fraudulent transactions and identity theft can erode public trust in financial institutions, potentially leading to a financial crisis,” the organization stated, noting the recent findings of significant losses suffered by Nigerian financial institutions due to digital manipulation.

The discovery of these unauthorized websites underscores significant gaps in data protection and cybersecurity measures in Nigeria. Paradigm Initiative is calling for immediate action to address these vulnerabilities and protect the personal data of Nigerian citizens from exploitation and abuse.

Source: Nairametrics