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SCANDALOUS: Outrage in Nigeria as government brands National ID Card with MasterCard’s logo

The new Nigerian National Identity Cards launched Thursday by President Goodluck Jonathan, with branded logo of the American firm, MasterCard, have sparked outrage across the country amid fears of serious security and economic breach, with many Nigerians calling for an immediate stoppage of the deal.
Nigerians expressed shock and fury Thursday at how the Nigerian Government, through the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, would surrender a symbol of national sovereignty and pride to a foreign commercial organisation by not only sharing the biometrics of 170 million Nigerian to the firm but by also allowing the firm to boldly engrave its insignia on the IDs.
Many Nigerians raised the alarm over the implications of the agreement in an age that has seen intense data surveillance by the National Security Agency of the United States of America, Mastercard’s home country.
One commentator said allowing MasterCard’s emblem on the Nigerian National ID Card could only compare to the trans-Atlantic slave trade abolished in the nineteenth century.
“The new ID card with a MasterCard logo does not represent an identity of a Nigerian. It simply represents a stamped ownership of a Nigerian by an American company,” said Shehu Sani of the Civil Rights Congress. “It is reminiscent of the logo pasted on the bodies of African salves transported across the Atlantic.”
At the launching Thursday, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission said the cards, designed to also allow handlers effect payments and other financial transactions, will be issued to 13 million Nigerians.
At the completion of the pilot phase of the program, 100 million cards would have been issued, the commission said, describing the move as the “broadest financial inclusion program in Africa”.
The cards will be issued to Nigerians, 16 years and older, and are expected to serve as voting cards in the 2019 elections.
President Jonathan, who flagged off the rollout, praised the outcome of a partnership between NIMC, MasterCard and Access Bank.
“The card is not only a means of certifying your identity, but also a personal database repository and payment card, all in your pocket,” Mr. Jonathan said.
Under the partnership, the NIMC is the project leader, MasterCard provides payments technology, while Unified Payment Services Limited is payments processor. Cryptovision is the Public Key Infrastructure and Trust Services Provider, and the pilot issuing bank is Access Bank Plc.
The Identity Management Commission said it was working with other government agencies to harmonize all identity databases including the Driver’s License, Voter Registration, Health Insurance, Tax, SIM and the National Pension Commission into a single, shared services platform.
For a National ID card project jinxed for decades due to corruption and mismanagement, Nigerians welcomed what seemed like a breakthrough this time, several years after the first attempt at a national Identity Card project ended in fiasco.
But the optimism waned after it became clear Thursday the new ID cards, a key instrument recognised by the federal constitution, will not only bear the Coat of Arms and the Nigerian colours of green white green, but also the logo of MasterCard, a profit-driven private entity.
“Nigeria’s colours and coast of arms is what should be there. It is not an opportunity for advert for promoting companies,” said Eze Onyekpere, Lead Director Centre for Social Justice. “As far as we are concerned it cannot stand. It is not worth it if that’s what they have done.”
Beyond national pride, many Nigerians spoke of the dire economic and security implications for Nigeria.
“Clearly, there are National Security implication,” said Nasir El-Rufai, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. “All these data go to the American payment platform.”
Mr. El-Rufai recalled that Malaysia was the first country to implement a general multipurpose ID card and that the country did so with its own resources and technology to protect its citizens.
Economically, analysts say, the deal also hands over all adult Nigerians as direct and compulsory customers of MasterCard.
The US-based firm appeared so elated at the outcome of the contract that by Thursday, it hired a media consultant, African Media Agency, to publicise the landmark deal all over the world.
MasterCard could not be reached immediately for comments.
Details of the partnership between the NIMC and MasterCard were unclear as of Friday.
A former senior government official, well briefed about the process, said the Nigerian government may have adopted the Public Private Partnership model for the project, with MasterCard underwriting part of the cost of the deal.
Still, the former official, who asked not to be named, said it was unbelievable that Nigeria could not insist on fully funding such a project at any cost, considering its strategic importance to its sovereignty.
“It’s so scandalous that there are countries you present this to and they will be confused,” the official said. “I have never seen this done anywhere in the world.”
The Nigerian Identity Management Commission, NIMC, refused to comment on the concerns.
When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES late Thursday, a spokesperson dismissed the concern raised by our reporter.
“What is wrong with that (displaying MasterCard’s logo on the IDs)?” asked Ben Alofoje, the Assistant Director/Head Research and Strategy, who is the designated media person for the project.
A PREMIUM TIMES reader,Ola Onanugaola, said of the project, “Good idea but bad implementation. Why do we have to brand the e-ID card? Are these people aware of the huge economic and security implications of the branding.
“Any country population database/information is too vital to attached to any non-governmental organisation.”
 

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we can never do anything without adding an epic **** up
There is nothing wrong with the project. The key is the quote below.
Mastercard allows the id cards to be for nidentification as well as financial services such as debit cards for ATMs.

"At the launching Thursday, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission said the cards, designed to also allow handlers effect payments and other financial transactions, will be issued to 13 million Nigerians.
At the completion of the pilot phase of the program, 100 million cards would have been issued, the commission said, describing the move as the “broadest financial inclusion program in Africa”.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nothing wrong ? Where in the world do they take your biometrics to access financial services. Or worse to vote. And them turn it over to NSA central. I wonder why they'd even ask for they info. Those guys must be sitting around laughing at the idiocy of the leadership
 

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PAddylo they should act based on a reasonable assessment of how uncomfortable people will be having their bio-metrics taken buy a foreign financial institution. It's just stupid. All of the criticism has come from that exact standpoint. Implementing anything in Nigeria is difficult because of the high percentage of underexposed people, but this is a policy that well exposed people will hate let alone the underexposed ones.

I don't know why we can't do anything well. It blows my mind. Just make a damn ID card without a mastercard logo. all GEJ did was give mastercard 200 million customers. Nigeria will now ask mastercard for data on Nigeria. This is very stupid and gives the institution more leverage over Nigeria than it has on any nation on earth. Would any dream of the day where Americans use a Mastercard to vote?


This is the issue. When we have a chance to do anything we do it in a very shitty way, then the adverse results of it kill us 10-15 years later and beyond and everyone wonders why development is rocket science only in Nigeria/Africa.
 

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There is so much misinformation about the card. First of all Mastercard and Access bank do NOT have Nigerian peoples info. Each of the 13 applets in the chip are totally isolated from one another. So basically someone working in the Nigerian penison office does not have access to the corporate salary section on the chip.

On top of that MASTERCARD IS NOT THE PAYMENT PROCESSOR FOR THIS PROJECT. The payment processors in Nigeria are Interswitch, etranzact and Unified Payments Nigeria. All 3 are NIGERIAN RUN AND OWNED COMPANIES.
http://etranzact.com/etranzact/
http://www.interswitchng.com/
http://unifiedpaymentsnigeria.com/
For this particular project MasterCard will be using Unified payments transaction processor. So the company that will really benefit from this will be unified payments.

Infact there are rumors that the reason the deal with Nigerian company Interswitch (verve) to also partake in this project fell off, was because Interswitch verve did not want to use unified payments platform because they are competitors. They wanted to instead use their own platform.

So back to my point. Companies like Mastercard and VISa do not have thier payment processor platforms in Nigeria. If you have a visa or mastercard then you are most likely using etranzact or unified payments, If you have a discovery card then you will be using Interswitch's platform.

Again Nigerians info will never be in the hands of mastercard.
 

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Finally found a report about ti. Nigeria's media houses are really trash. they need to learn to do their due diligence before creating unnecessary alarm.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201409010771.html

n a statement announcing this development, Unified Payment said that, "With the eID card, citizens will have the ability to deposit funds, receive social benefits, pay for goods and services at Merchant locations within and outside Nigeria as well as draw cash from ATMs around the world.

Under the processing arrangement, citizen's identity data will be hosted and managed exclusively by NIMC while payment data will be hosted and managed by Nigerian banks and Unified Payments, a leading payment transaction processing company owned by Nigerian banks."
Again the reason Nigerias government used mastercard is to ensure Nigerians have access to the global financial system. For example one benefit from this is instead of companies like western union reaping off Nigerians in the diaspora who want to send money back to their families, Nigerians in the diaspora can now completely bypass western union and transfer money straight to their families NIMC cards
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Finally found a report about ti. Nigeria's media houses are really trash. they need to learn to do their due diligence before creating unnecessary alarm.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201409010771.html



Again the reason Nigerias government used mastercard is to ensure Nigerians have access to the global financial system. For example one benefit from this is instead of companies like western union reaping off Nigerians in the diaspora who want to send money back to their families, Nigerians in the diaspora can now completely bypass western union and transfer money straight to their families NIMC cards
I pray you're right. My brother has written code for financial companies and can't see how MasterCard can operate transactions without access to the system even if they don't host it.
 

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^^
Indeed, they will have access. Whatever systems exists to limit the level of information accessable to what constitutes a foreign entity needs to be better explained. Without wanting to discredit the noble attempt of some to throw more light on this shortsighted decisions, the concerns doesn't necessarily revolve around the technicality or the custodians of the data per say(which is nevertheless important), rather on the willful acceptance in subscribing to the very idea of transcribing the insignia of a foreign entity on a supposed "national I'D card". It's in seriously bad taste.
 

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There is so much misinformation about the card. First of all Mastercard and Access bank do NOT have Nigerian peoples info. Each of the 13 applets in the chip are totally isolated from one another. So basically someone working in the Nigerian penison office does not have access to the corporate salary section on the chip.

On top of that MASTERCARD IS NOT THE PAYMENT PROCESSOR FOR THIS PROJECT. The payment processors in Nigeria are Interswitch, etranzact and Unified Payments Nigeria. All 3 are NIGERIAN RUN AND OWNED COMPANIES.
http://etranzact.com/etranzact/
http://www.interswitchng.com/
http://unifiedpaymentsnigeria.com/
For this particular project MasterCard will be using Unified payments transaction processor. So the company that will really benefit from this will be unified payments.

Infact there are rumors that the reason the deal with Nigerian company Interswitch (verve) to also partake in this project fell off, was because Interswitch verve did not want to use unified payments platform because they are competitors. They wanted to instead use their own platform.

So back to my point. Companies like Mastercard and VISa do not have thier payment processor platforms in Nigeria. If you have a visa or mastercard then you are most likely using etranzact or unified payments, If you have a discovery card then you will be using Interswitch's platform.

Again Nigerians info will never be in the hands of mastercard.
well this is reassuring
 

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^^
Indeed, they will have access. Whatever systems exists to limit the level of information accessable to what constitutes a foreign entity needs to be better explained. Without wanting to discredit the noble attempt of some to throw more light on this shortsighted decisions, the concerns doesn't necessarily revolve around the technicality or the custodians of the data per say(which is nevertheless important), rather on the willful acceptance in subscribing to the very idea of transcribing the insignia of a foreign entity on a supposed "national I'D card". It's in seriously bad taste.
here is more info about the project


Nigerian National ID/Debit Card: Response from MasterCard

The recent decision by the Nigerian government to combine their new national identity card with a debit card has been raising a number of concerns ranging from privacy to conflict of interest. Coin Telegraph reached out to MasterCard’s Daniel Monehin, Division President, Sub-Saharan Africa, with some questions about the program and MasterCard’s role.

If you have not kept up with the issue the new card is expected to combine a national identity card that citizens can use for identification, voting and in the future even travel, with a debit card that users can both receive government funds and make deposits as well as withdraw cash and make purchases. Some of the concerns already expressed are how much influence will this collaboration give the banking community over economic policy in Nigeria and how can government records be protected from a private company without sacrificing efficiency in the program.

We would like to thank Daniel Monehin for responding to our questions:

CoinTelegraph: Please tell us about the new national identity card in Nigeria and MasterCard’s connection with the project?

Daniel Monehin: The National eID card program is an initiative led and implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria under the mandate of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). NIMC is responsible for the creation, maintenance and operation of the National Identity Management System including the registration of citizens onto the National Identity Database, the issuance of National Identification Numbers, the issuance of the eID card to enrolled citizens, as well as the harmonization and integration of Government databases.

Early on in this program, the Federal Government of Nigeria recognized the importance of combining an identity card with payments functionality, acknowledging the transformative role that electronic payments and increased financial inclusion can play in creating inclusive growth in Nigeria.

A few years into the program, NIMC approached MasterCard to provide the payments technology on the eID card, as they recognized our deep experience with government prepaid cards, our proven track record in rolling out other large scale card schemes that combine biometric functionality with electronic payments, as well as our commitment to furthering financial inclusion and reducing the usage of cash in Nigeria.

In May 2013, NIMC signed an agreement with MasterCard to be the payments technology provider for the National eID pilot program. As part of the pilot program, NIMC will issue 13 million National eID cards with MasterCard’s prepaid technology to Nigerians 16 years and older.

MasterCard is responsible for providing the payments technology on the National eID card that enables cardholders to make safe and secure electronic payments. Using the National eID card as a payment tool, citizens can deposit funds, receive social benefits, save, pay for goods and services and withdraw cash at any of the millions of MasterCard acceptance locations globally or engage in many other financial transactions that are facilitated by electronic payments.

MasterCard’s prepaid technology is just one of the card’s 13 different applications, which is stored securely and separately from the other applets including the card’s identification applet. MasterCard is not involved in the identification component of the program and cannot access the National Identification Database or any citizen’s personal or biometric information.

CT: What percentage of the population is unbanked?

DM: Nearly 70% of Nigerian adults do not have bank accounts. Through the eID card, cardholders will gain access to formal financial services, and receive an identity card that is universally accepted, enabling them to live more self- determined lives.

CT: What are some of the reasons that so many people lack access to these services?

DM: One of the biggest barriers to owning a bank account is the lack of a universally accepted identification document. Combining an identity card with MasterCard’s prepaid payment capability creates a game changer as it breaks down this barrier - proof of identity - while simultaneously enabling Nigerians to access the global economy and providing citizens with state of the art financial services. Thanks to the scale and scope of the National eID program, financial inclusion is a goal that can be reached as it makes mainstream financial services available to those who cannot participate today.

CT: What are the effects of remittance and other fees on the average Nigerian?

DM: MasterCard does not set remittance fees. The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued guidelines for the maintenance of adequate and reasonable financial services to the public including regulation of the international remittance services to Nigeria.

CT: Citizens who have one of these cards will be able to deposit money to an account. What banks are being used to handle those accounts?

DM: The pilot issuing bank is Access Bank Plc. NIMC expects other banks to join the scheme in the next few months. These issuing banks will manage the cardholders’ financial accounts, should cardholders activate the payments functionality on their cards and use this service.

CT: What are some of the fees that MasterCard or the banks be charging Nigerians for transactions with this card?

DM: MasterCard does not set transactional fees. The issuing financial institutions that manage cardholders’ accounts set transactional fees.

It is worth noting the registration and first issuance of the identity card is free. However, there is a cost for any subsequent card replacement e.g. in the event of a loss, update, damage, expiration etc.

CT: The card can be used as a debit, voting and identity card. What about concerns for privacy?

DM: MasterCard is providing prepaid functionality on the National eID card as part of the pilot program. MasterCard does not grant open access to its transaction data to any law enforcement agency, neither in the US nor in other international jurisdictions. The privacy and security of transaction data is of paramount importance to MasterCard. As part of its transaction processing, MasterCard does not receive cardholder name and cardholder contact information. In the case of the Nigerian eID scheme, MasterCard does not capture or manage any personal data including biometrics. These remain the exclusive preserve of NIMC.

CT: What are the plans to improve digital infrastructure in rural areas to give everyone access and will fees be different for rural as opposed to urban residents?

DM: In 2012, there was approximately 22,000 Point of Sale (POS) terminals in Nigeria. Currently, there are about 150,000 devices, which have been deployed at merchants located in both urban and rural areas. Nigeria is on a steep curve when it comes to acceptance of POS technology, and is on a path to democratize acceptance by making it more functional and deployable. The deployment of Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) devices will help to increase payment card acceptance in rural areas, as these terminals will reduce the cost to merchants and significantly boost acceptance of payment cards in rural areas.

The one note that we would like to make is that while MasterCard itself does not charge remittance fees the company greatly benefits from remittance fees charged by their clients. Monehin did however answer the question by stating that remittance fees will remain the same, regulated by the same guidelines that have burdened the West African people for generations.
http://cointelegraph.com/news/112469/nigerian-national-iddebit-card-response-from-mastercard

This should put all controversy to rest.
As you can see MasterCard has no access to your personal information plus on top of that the payment app on the card is OPTIONAL.


DM: The pilot issuing bank is Access Bank Plc. NIMC expects other banks to join the scheme in the next few months. These issuing banks will manage the cardholders’ financial accounts, should cardholders activate the payments functionality on their cards and use this service.


The best part about this is that the government will have more control over the billion of dollars being remitted back to Nigerians from the diaspora. The days of companies like western union fleeing Nigerians with remittance fees is about to end.
 
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