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FG, W/Bank plan to integrate biometric database of all Nigerians into one system

The federal government has started fresh move to collate and integrate all biometric data of Nigerians currently scattered in several agencies of the government and some private entities into one central and credible entity.

Otherwise, lack of a one stop identification system has been a source of concern for the government and agencies using biometric data to do businesses in the country.

Before now, Nigeria is inundated with multiple databases but none can be said to be complete of trustworthy, thus raising fears of planning and working with wrong data in national development.

Some of the existing databases in Nigeria include International Passport scheme of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Drivers’ License of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Voters Card produced by the Independent Electoral Commission, banks account opening data, birth certificates and so much more.

But yesterday, the federal government in partnership with the World Bank has started a move expected to terminate at generating a one central data base for the entire country.

It would be recalled that in December 2015, the presidency directed all stakeholders who have built independent identity management systems to consolidate, aggregate and integrate all existing data bases to the database of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

But indications have shown that the directive may not have been complied to as agencies of the government still manage whatever they have in their system as their biometric database.

Speaking Thursday at a roundtable conference in Abuja, the presidency through the deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Ade Ipaye, who represented the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo noted that the country must manage the potentials inherent in digital identity.

Osinbajo said “An accurate identity management system with quality data is no doubt, a national asset to any country.

“It is time for Nigeria to also offer this unique identity to every one of its citizens,” he said.

The roundtable meeting on identity seeks to build a consensus on identity management in the country.

Analysts say without proof of identity, people may be denied access to rights and opportunities.

According to the Minister of Communications, “the simple challenge we have as a nation n is to try to harmonise all of these identity management issues so that we have one uniform platform that can be accessed anytime and anywhere by governments, corporate bodies and Nigerians”.

“The type of data I am referring to is one that can be trusted, relied upon and used in doing genuine things by government and all Nigerians.

International agencies say about 1.5 billion people are not captured in database anywhere and the development remains a concern for planning for development.

The roundtable conference was sponsored by the World Bank in collaboration with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).