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Nigerian government issues guidelines for biometric databases


Nigeria’s federal government issued guidelines for the implementation of a presidential directive that criticized the development of multiple biometric databases in the public sector, according to a report by the Nigerian newspaper Leadership.

The president at the time ordered all ministries, departments, agencies and security agencies of the federal government that are involved in all stages of the biometric data capture process to complete their registrations and submit it to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) by December 31, 2014.

In a federal government circular obtained by Leadership, which was signed by Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, secretary to the government of the federation, on May 28, 2014, the Nigerian government said the NIMC is solely responsible for creating, managing, maintaining and operating — including the harmonization and integration of current identification databases — in government agencies into the National Identity Database housed in the commission.

As detailed in its 2007 Act, NIMC was formed to effectively enter citizens and non-citizens into the National identity Database and to issue a general multipurpose identity card to everyone who registered. NIMC has already deployed the National identity Management System to accomplish this goal.

“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,” wrote Anyim in the circular. “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.”

Echoing the president’s directive, the secretary to the government of the federation said that the NIMC will be responsible for managing the committee and delivering the processes and procedures for facilitating the seamless integration of its National Identity Management Systems (NIMS) infrastructure with existing infrastructures of other agencies within the timeframe set by government.

The Nigerian government has quite a few active projects that include biometric technology, but just recently, the chairman of the independent election commission announced that the country would not use biometric verification and registration for its upcoming elections in 2015. 

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