According to Punch newspaper on the 2nd of February 2022, “the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) portal let thousands of telecommunication subscribers nationwide seeking to retrieve their lost Subscriber Identity Module cards or acquire new lines temporarily have been left stranded, following a technical glitch in the NIMC portal that has grounded SIM-related services”.
The disruption to the NIMC portal not only affected the telco firms but also the Nigerian Immigration Service, banks and other institutions which verify the National Identity Number of their customers/citizens before attending to them, in line with the Federal Government’s directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission for the inclusion of NIN in the requirements for all new and existing databases.
In bid to salvage the situation reported by nairametrics, the Spokesman of NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, said that nobody should be excluded from any service under the guise of non-verification of NIN.
Adegoke said, “Even though the NIN verification service (NVS) might be down due to maintenance by one of our service providers of its infrastructure, the alternative platform – TOKENISATION is up and running,” the spokesperson said. But according to the daily trust newspaper “those who resorted to tokenisation and attempted to use the USSD code complained that the device was not working, and that the NIMC app for NIN verification was not effective”.
Recent reports state the NIMC portal is back to normalcy as this was indicate by Kayode Adegoke in statement verifying the report stating “The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is pleased to announce that the National Identification Number (NIN) Verification Service (NVS) portal, which went down a few days ago due to maintenance by one of the Commission’s network service providers of its infrastructure, has been fully restored,” the statement reads” reported by thecable.ng Feb 12, 2022.
For over 10 days there was a disruption in the economy of the nation and critical infrastructure, service of Nigeria left millions of Nigerians stranded and helpless, plus it is yet known the cost of the disruption to the affected institutions. This article aims to speculate on the causes and proffer solutions.
3 Likely causes of NIMC downtime
A Server Overload happens when conditions cause a server to exhaust its resources so that it fails to handle incoming requests. As the NIMC portal is the validator for the National Identification Number (NIN) Verification Service (NVS) for different government institutions and authorized companies. The server may have been overwhelmed causing a total breakdown of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC)’s server.
Hardware and Software issues
In this kind of event when a server Overload happens when conditions cause a server to exhaust its resources so that it fails to handle incoming requests, redundancy should have kicked in, but due to whatever reasons the downtime was prolonged with this we. Hardware and software is among the top reasons that cause major outages across the world.
For example, according to Wikipedia On October 4, 2021, at 15:39 UTC, the social network Facebook and its subsidiaries, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Mapillary, and Oculus, became globally unavailable for a period of six to seven hours. It stated the outage was caused by the loss of IP routes to the Facebook Domain Name System (DNS) servers, which were all self-hosted at the time.
Due to how valuable the data and information in possession of NIMC, it was an intentional engineered downtime caused by cyber criminals aka hacker and the most likely tactic employed was a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. A DDOS attack is when a system sends a high volume of fake traffic only to take the site down.
Nigerian government agencies cannot afford another downtime because they hold critical keys to the lives of its citizens to access basic amenities and for institutions both public and private to function as seen in the NIMC downtime. Here is the following solution.
Due to the sensitivity of NIMC data and information the agency must implement a robust IT resilience platform that delivers multiple functions, such as disaster recovery, hybrid cloud integration and ransomware protection. A resilience platform not only prevents downtime but also accelerates recovery and reduces outage costs.
Reliable Redundancy Platform
Nigerian government agencies cannot afford another downtime because they have the critical connection to citizens’ livelihood, access to basic amenities and for public and private organizations to function. As discussed earlier In this kind of event when a server overload redundancy should have kicked in. A reliable Backup Solution platform with a completely fault-tolerant data center with redundancy for every component and this platform comes with an expected uptime of 99.995% per year is what a government agencies like NIMC needs to ensure this incident never occurs again
Cloudflex Cloud computing services is the best cloud service provider in Lagos, Nigeria. We offer Information Technology as a service (Cloud services, Co-location, Managed solutions, Backup services, Disaster Recovery, etc.), and support for diverse infrastructure needs by providing Industry-specific Solutions.