Biometric Databases: FG Issues Guidelines For Harmonisation With NIMC Infrastructure

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The federal government (FG) has issued detailed guidelines for implementation of presidential directive of Thursday 17th October, 2013 which decried the development of multiple biometric databases in the public sector. The president, on that occasion, ordered all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and security agencies of the federal government that are involved in all forms of biometric data capture of all persons to complete their registrations and handover over to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on or before December 31, 2014.

In a circular with reference number: Ref. Na. 59B03Nll/87 signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, on 28th May, 2014 and obtained by LEADERSHIP, FG said only the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has the statutory responsibility to create, manage, maintain and operate including harmonisation and integration of existing identification databases in government agencies into the National identity Database housed in the commission.

The federal government circular is coming on the heels of an exclusive story entitled: FG Wastes Billions On Multiple Biometric Registrations published by LEADERSHIP on Monday May 12, 2014 which exposed multiple biometric registrations being carried out by over seven federal government agencies in the country.

The LEADERSHIP story had listed agencies of government involved as Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Population Commission (NPC), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as the suspended Nigerian Police Biometrics Central Motor Registry (PoliceBCMR).

By its 2007 Act, NIMC was established to carry out the registration of citizens and non-citizens into the National identity Database and issue a General Multi-purpose identity Card to any person so registered. NIMC has already deployed the National identity Management System (NIMS) for the attainment of this purpose.

Anyim in the circular said “All government agencies requiring identity verification and authentication services or are involved in data capture activities must align their activities with a view to switching over to the NIMC infrastructure. All necessary arrangement to achieve the set date of 31st December, 2014 has been put in place by the constitution of a harmonization and integration implementation committee in NIMC with membership drawn from the Office of the SGF, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Communication Technology.”

The SGF said in line with Mr. President’s directive, NIMC shall have the primary responsibility to manage the Committee and deliver the processes and procedures for achieving a seamless integration of its NIMS infrastructure with existing infrastructures of other agencies within the time-frame set by government including all data capture related activities, development of database, identity authentication and verification, card issuance activities and related infrastructure.

He stated that all identity database-related projects and procurements, especially as it relates to data capture, development of databases, identity authentication and verification and related identity management infrastructure/issues, shall be validated against the Harmonization and Integration Programme in view of the set deadline of December 31 ,2014 to ensure seamless and timely compliance with the directive within this transition period.


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