BD Insider 240: Data of Nigerian Citizens sold online for 100 Naira

In this letter, we explore; Data of Nigerian Citizens being sold online, WIOCC Group to raise over $50 Million to bolster digital infrastructure in Africa, Crypto traders face Sars scrutiny.

BD Insider 240: Data of Nigerian Citizens sold online for 100 Naira

The big three! 

#1 Sensitive Data of Nigerian Citizens Sold Online for Just 100 Naira

Image Credit: BBC

A digital rights organisation, Paradigm Initiative, has revealed that millions of Nigerians' personal information is being sold online for as little as 100 Naira (7 cents). This includes personal data such as the National Identity Number (NIN), Bank Verification Number (BVN), virtual NIN, Driving License, International Passport, Company details, Tax Identification Number (TIN), Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), and Phone Numbers.

In a statement released on June 20th, 2024, the digital rights organisation implicated, a platform operating in Nigeria's digital space since November 2023. According to Paradigm Initiative, this website was visited five hundred and sixty-seven thousand nine hundred and ninety (567,990) times in February 2024 and one hundred and eighty-eight thousand three hundred and sixty (188,360) times in April 2024. 

“We tested the website, archived it and could pay for NIN slips belonging to Bosun Tijani the minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy and Vincent Olatunji, the commissioner of the NDPC,” said Gbenga Sesan, the executive director of Paradigm Initiative.

Context: This is not the first time such a breach has occurred. In March 2024, a website called XpressVerify was accused of selling personal data. The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) denied that XpressVerify was a licensed partner.  An investigation by the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) found NIMC’s security infrastructure compliant and indicated that the March breach was due to access abuse by an NIMC agent.

In 2021, NIMC was also accused of negligence after a self-service app for identity verification was breached, and personal data was sold on the dark web.

Why It Matters: Paradigm Initiative highlights the potential consequences, including identity theft, financial fraud, and even physical harm if criminals exploit access to home addresses.  The economic impact could also be significant, with potential disruption to the banking system and a decline in public trust in financial institutions.

Zoom in: Paradigm Initiative is investigating the breaches and taking legal action against relevant government agencies.  They argue that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has been irresponsible in granting access to personal data without proper oversight.

The NIMC has denied allegations of any data breach. In a press statement signed by Kayode Adegoke, Head of Corporate Communications, on Saturday, June 22, the Commission reassured the public that their data remains secure and has not been compromised.

They identified several websites, including, Verify.Ng/signin,,, and, as unauthorised data harvesters. It clarified that licensed partners or vendors are not permitted to scan or store NIN slips but are only authorized to verify NINs through approved channels.

NIMC further warned the public against providing personal data to these sites, labeling them potentially fraudulent. It also announced an ongoing collaboration with security agencies to apprehend individuals posing as online vendors who will face legal consequences.

#2 WIOCC Group to Raise Over $50 Million for Digital Expansion in Africa

West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) Group, a high-capacity connectivity provider, plans to raise a significant funding package of over $50 million from a consortium of international institutions to finance its expansion plans across three key African nations: Nigeria, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The institutions include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group; Proparco, a development finance agency and a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement Group; and RMB Corvest, a private equity company.

Why It Matters: This funding is a major boost for bridging the digital divide in Africa. By expanding its digital infrastructure, WIOCC will enhance internet connectivity across the continent. This improved connectivity will empower individuals, unlock economic growth opportunities, and contribute to the overall development of African nations.

“We are excited to conclude this next stage of our capital raise, which will enable significant expansion, adding further capacity to our open-access data centre operation and extending open-access hyperscale national, international, and metro connectivity across our key markets in Nigeria, southern Africa, the DRC and Greater East and Central Africa,” said Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC Group.

Context: Since its inception in 2007, WIOCC has been a prominent player in Africa's digital transformation journey. The company has consistently invested in building open-access infrastructure, meeting the ever-growing demand for reliable internet connectivity solutions across the continent.

In 2021, WIOCC completed a $200 million debt and equity capital raise, which was used to expand its connectivity within Africa and internationally. Through Open Access Data Centres (or “OADC”), it launched a network of pan-African data centres optimised to serve the needs of the cloud provider and wholesale community.

This new funding strengthens WIOCC's commitment to digital development and positions them to significantly increase their footprint in key African markets.

Zoom In: The partnership seeks to raise over $50 million in funding and has raised $41.7 million so far, with $10 million, ZAR 200 million ($11.07 million) coming from IFC, and $20 million from Proparco. WIOCC plans to sign a loan of $10 million in the next few weeks with RMB Corvest, a private equity company, to expand in Nigeria.

The secured funds will be used for a two-pronged approach.  First, WIOCC plans to expand its core and edge data centers in Nigeria, South Africa, and the DRC.  These data centers play a crucial role in storing and processing vast amounts of data, forming the backbone of a robust Internet infrastructure.  Second, WIOCC will invest in growing its fiber networks, which act as the physical pathways for data transmission.  

By expanding data center capacity and fiber network reach, WIOCC aims to bridge the digital divide in Africa, offering more individuals and businesses access to reliable internet connections.

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