Nigeria Embraces Blockchain to Combat Certificate Forgery in National Youth Service Corps
The introduction of blockchain technology holds promise for definitively eradicating certificate forgery in Nigeria.
By Anna B Kiwanuka
According to a recent declaration by the country’s IT development head, Nigeria aims to use blockchain technology to provide certificates to National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) graduates.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), sees blockchain as a potent tool to tackle the rampant issue of certificate forgery during the issuance and verification process.
The NYSC is a government project that engages young people in activities that benefit the nation. University and polytechnic graduates are required to participate in the NYSC program for a year.
During a recent blockchain stakeholders forum, Kashifu disclosed that the Director General of NYSC reached out to his agency for assistance in addressing the pervasive problem of certificate forgery. After collaborative efforts, the agencies arrived at the consensus that blockchain offers a viable solution.
“We are all familiar with the extensive forgery within the NYSC sphere… We have reached an agreement to develop a system whereby all NYSC certificates will be stored on the blockchain,” Kashifu stated.
Forgery has long been a problem in the NYSC system. A notable case occurred when the agency accused Peter Mbah, a gubernatorial candidate from Enugu state’s southeastern region, of forging his certificate. Mbah filed legal action and won, blaming the agency’s poor record-keeping as the cause.
Another disturbing revelation was that former Nigerian Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun showed a forged certificate. She resigned from her position in 2018 as a result of an investigation by a local newspaper.
Despite attempts to deter forgery with threats of legal consequences and substantial fines, the impact has been limited in a country that ranks among the top 20% globally for corruption.
The introduction of blockchain technology holds promise for definitively eradicating certificate forgery in Nigeria. The BSV blockchain, lauded for its minimal fees, robust protocol, and expansive scalability, has already demonstrated its efficacy in various applications, such as the University of Sharjah’s academic certificate verification and VXPASS’ COVID vaccination certificate initiative.
NITDA Teams Up with Domineum and nChain for Ambitious Nigerian Goals
Kashifu, who assumed leadership of NITDA in 2019, articulated his belief that Nigeria could bolster its economy by over $40 billion through blockchain integration. Despite regulatory challenges from the central bank, Nigeria leads Africa in digital asset ownership.
“We have the potential to address many of our challenges using blockchain technology,” Kashifu affirmed.
To position Nigeria to harness the potential of blockchain, NITDA has embarked on an extensive campaign to raise awareness and provide training in blockchain skills to the country’s youth.
“We collaborated with Domineum to train 32,000 Nigerians in blockchain technology. Some participants have leveraged this knowledge to establish businesses… Our goal is to empower people with knowledge and enable them to earn from it,” he emphasized.
Further advancing this training initiative, NITDA has joined forces with enterprise blockchain solutions provider nChain. Kashifu indicated that this partnership aims to reach 500,000 Nigerians, with certificates for the program issued on the blockchain.
Speaking at the event, Domineum co-founder Mohammed Jega underscored the importance of demonstrating how blockchain solutions can resolve challenges for large enterprises and governmental entities. He stressed the necessity of conveying how these solutions optimize processes, enhance transparency, and ultimately boost revenues.