T oday, I presented the Report of the Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonization to President Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) at the Federal Executive Council Chambers in Abuja.
All concerns which led to the imposition of visa restrictions by the United States have been reviewed and processes put in place or proposed to address them. The Committee also engaged with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria and the Charge d’ affaires of the United States Embassy in the course of the assignment.
Out of the six areas of concern raised by the United States, Nigeria had fully satisfied two, two are substantially satisfied while little progress has been made on the remaining two. Specifically, Nigeria started issuing electronic passports in 2007; had distributed passport exemplars to all foreign missions accredited to Nigeria including the USA; substantially provides information on Travellers Identity except data on Emergency Travel Certificates for Nigerians being repatriated while information on 145,695 Lost and Stolen Passports had been transmitted to the INTERPOL Database as at 31st May, 2020, following the intervention of the Committee.
The Committee recommends the setting up of a Criminal Information Management System to include the establishment of a Data Fusion Centre fashioned after the INTERPOL model for pooling of crime data and a National Criminal DNA Laboratory with the Nigeria Police Force as the co-ordinating agency.
The committee recommended the harmonization of all existing identity data held by Agencies with National Identification Number (NIN) should be completed by 30th June, 2021 except INEC whose deadline was extended to 31st December, 2021.
INEC should collaborate with NIMC and NOA to utilize the NIN in voters’ validation exercises for upcoming elections and work towards ensuring that all eligible voters were issued NIN by 31st December, 2022.
Federal Government should issue an Executive order that would provide for:
i.exclusive collection of biometric data by NIMC and its Licensees;
ii.exclusive storage of Biometric data in the National Identity Database and the discontinuance of biometric data storage of new registrations by all agencies and institutions in Nigeria;
iii.the mandatory use of the NIN for identification in all government services;
iv.the mandatory use of the NIN by all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for issuance of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) with effect from 30th June, 2021 subject to the issuance of NIN by NIMC to at least 80 per cent of the population; and
v.NIN as a unique identifier for all public servants.
There is a critical need for the establishment of a National DNA Data Bank for Nigeria. This is a national database maintained by the government for storing DNA profiles of its population. They are generally used for forensic purposes which includes searching and matching of DNA profiles of potential criminal suspects.