On the 13th of November, 2017, the MANDATORY USE OF NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REGULATIONS 2017 (Government Notice No. 123) was gazetted. The regulations were made pursuant to the National Identity Management Commission Act, 2007.
By the introduction of these regulations, it would appear that it is now mandatory for Lawyers to indicate their National Identification Number (NIN) in Court processes, agreements and similar legal documents they prepare.
Regulation 1 (1) relevant to lawyers provides, inter alia-
“In accordance with provisions of section 27 (1) (1) of the Act , the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) shall be mandatory for the following additional transactions-
(u) filing and registration of criminal and civil actions in courts or other arbitration process;
(oo) executing any contract or business agreement ;
(pp) tenancy agreements;
(qq) obtaining and processing of probate documents ;
(rr) all transactions involving the acquisition, use or transfer of parcel of land or landed properties ;
(ss) any transaction, contract or agreement for a valuable consideration and for the transfer of any interest, tangible or intangible;
(2) It shall be *mandatory* for government agencies listed in the First Schedule to these Regulations which offer services listed in sub-regulation (1) of this regulation to-
(a) require any person transacting with them to produce his NIN: and
(b) verify and authenticate the person or NIN so provided in the National Identity Database using the following means of verification or authentication –
(i) real time online verification from the NIMC Verification Service platform.
(ii) Card Acceptance Device (CAD).
(iii) Card Reading Device, or,
(iv) a combination of the means stated in this paragraph.
4.(1)The Commission shall ensure *strict compliance* with the NIN requirements under the Act , the Mandatory Use of NIN Regulations , 2015 , these Regulations and the Nigeria Biometrics Standards Regulations ,2017.
(2) The Commission shall –
(a) ensure that every *agency* with statutory functions that requires identity management maintains a NIN and Biometrics Standards Compliance Register within its agency , which shall record the compliance with the Mandatory Use of the NIN Regulations 2015 , these Regulations and the Nigeria Biometrics Standards Regulations 2017.
- In exercising its powers of enforcement and compliance, the Commission shall have power to –
(a) demand for evidence of compliance from persons , *public or private institutions and organizations*;
(d) institute criminal proceedings against a non -compliant person or entity through the Office of the Honorable Attorney -General of the Federation or by instituting civil action against defaulting person or entity;
(e) obtain a Court warrant or order to seize and detain any book, record, document or other information storage system used for creation of identity or used as an identity database which does not conform with the Act, these Regulations and other relevant Regulations made pursuant to the Act, for such period and on such terms as the Court may consider expedient or necessary to carry out monitoring and enforcement procedure .
- The Commission May, in ensuring compliance with the provisions of these Regulations –(a) upon giving written notice of not less than 24 hours , have the right to conduct an audit on the *state of affairs and operations* of transactions or services carried out by applicable persons and entity .
As time evolves, the applicability of these regulations would be put to operation and the enforcement mechanism to test.
We hope another channel of technicality has not been opened to lawyers who are expert in that field.
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