The Federal Road Safety Corps and National Identity Management Commission on Wednesday in Abuja began the process of harmonizing biometric data as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Buhari’s had on August 10 directed all agencies involved in collection and usage of biometric data in Nigeria to harmonise the data.
The president said all the agencies should work collaboratively, instead of going in different directions, saying that adequate data was necessary for planning and development in any country.
At the brief interaction between both agencies, the director general, NIMC, Chris Onyemenam, said the identity management commission will essentially make sure that it leverages on the presidential directive to reinforce the synergy it has been working on.
“Our experience in Nigeria is that we have not organised ourselves well around the categories of identities. Partly, historical and the other is because we did not understand the conceptual distinctions,” Mr. Onyemenam said.
The identity management, he said, is categorized into capturing, processing, storing and issuance of the unique identity card which is aimed at identifying an individual and ensures eligibility of the service and benefits.
He said, “The last one which the primary reason why we are here is harmonizing, to make sure that who you are, is an important criterion in confirming your eligibility for a service, benefit or function which is national identity.”
“What the electronic identity management system from the NIMC does is to create that connection that enables the driver’s license process to check if this man who claiming to be 18 years is actually 18 years old,” he said.
Mr. Onyemenam added that the check will clearly be possible because the harmonization allows all the agencies to reference every card at a level of data migration, verification among others.
Listing the benefits of harmonization – reducing the cost of governance, enhance public safety and national security, guide best practices among others – Mr. Onyemenam said the NIMC will assist the FRSC in making a conversion of its work to complete the needs of assessment.
“In these days of very scarce resources and dwindling national revenue due to the fluctuations that have become significant in the prices of crude oil, we can only help leverage one another; you have database that you can support us with, INEC has, NCC has, the task people has, all we need is to look at how to map it out, convert, migrate and pass it through our system then generate the national Identity Number, NIN,” he said.
He added, “For the few that are not available now, we will just send an SMS to the individuals and say we have used you’re your road safety data to issue a NIN to you in compliance to government’s directive, however, you have XYZ data left to update in our system before we can issue you a card.”
Speaking, the corps marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi said the corps is ready to work with the all relevant agencies including NIMC in compliance with Mr. Buhari’s directive.
He said, “Once NIMC is ready, we just surrender our hands and move on, the stage we are now is something we have been waiting for, we are all going to work together to comply with the presidential directive.
Mr. Oyeyemi said the technical teams from both FRSC and NIMC will commence work immediately to actualize the harmonization of biometric data within the shortest possible time.