Biometrics put to work to reduce cost and fraud in Nigerian education system

NIMC head urges digital ID collaboration to help economic recovery
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Biometrics put to work to reduce cost and fraud in Nigerian education system

As Nigeria continuous its digital transformation drive, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) says it is pursuing its efforts to lay the foundation of that transformation by establishing a biometric digital identity for every Nigerian. Two different projects are aiming to use biometrics to improve the efficiency and trustworthiness of its higher education system, meanwhile.

Aliyu Abdulaziz, NIMC director general said while the digital transformation will ensure efficiency in public and private sector operations, it is important to exploit every aspect of it so as to boost socio-economic development and progress, Nigerian Tribune reports.

“Identification is central to realizing our country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and works hand in hand with greater use of internet, payments and skills for a vibrant digital economy in Nigeria,” the report quoted Aliyu Abdulaziz as saying.

He added that as the push for a digital Nigeria is facing varied challenges such as a wide digital divide, there is the need for stakeholders to work in close collaboration to bridge the divide and sensitize more Nigerians on the importance of the project, which seeks to give a digital ID to at least 150 million Nigerians by 2030.

Nigeria lecturers get November deadline to enroll on biometric platform for salary payment

University lecturers across Nigeria have been given until November 2020 to get themselves enrolled on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) – a biometric platform put in place by the country’s federal government to ensure that salaries are only paid to active or eligible university teaching staff.

This extension is indicated in a memo from the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation which was issued at the start of this month and addressed to bursars of universities through the Committee of Vice Chancellors of federal universities, Nigeria’s Premium Times reports.

The report quoted the Accountant-General as directing that staff of universities who have not “enrolled on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System either as a result of study leave (with pay), maternity leave or on medical ground, will no longer appear on the IPPIS payroll with effect from November 2020.”

He however said they will be an exception for staff who present themselves for the biometric data capture at the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation in Abuja with an introduction letter and IPPIS enrollment forms duly endorsed by the principal authorities of the institution.

The IPPIS is an initiative started by President Muhamadu Buhari in 2019 with the view to fighting the phenomenon of ‘ghost workers’ within the federal civil service. Enrolment on the platform by university staff has however been a subject of contention for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), according to Premium Times.

ASUU has argued against the IPPIS system claiming it will undermine the autonomy of university institutions and that it does not factor in some of their unique operations.

New guideline for management of biometric data for JAMB students

While the federal government is pushing for university lecturers to register on the IPPIS payroll system, the federal Ministry of Education has issued new instructions on the handling of biometric data of students who have written the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations.

The new move is intended to reduce incidents of fraud and impersonation, according to Daily Post.

The new directive, the report adds, requires JAMB authorities to transfer the biometric data of students to their institutions of choice after taking the examinations.

JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, said the measure will prevent the capturing of biometric information of Nigerian students anew when they seek admissions into the country’s tertiary institutions, the Daily Post added.

Officials say they have taken note of a phenomenon whereby candidates who show up to apply for admission into tertiary institutions appear to be different from those who actually took JAMB exams. This, they explained, is because the institutions are taking fresh biometric information of the candidates.

Professor Oloyede is quoted as saying institutions offering admissions to JAMB holders should henceforth use the biometric data of candidates already captured by the board.

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