Nigeria counts on biometrics to recapture nearly 4K fleeing jail-breakers
Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said his ministry is working in collaboration with the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to track down close to 4,000 fleeing prison inmates using their biometric data, Punch reports.
Through the country’s Correctional Service (NCoS), Nigeria started a process dubbed the Correction Information Management System (CIMS) in 2018 to collect the biometric data of all prison inmates in the country. Authorities said then that the move was to curb the recurrence of jailbreak incidents across the country.
There have been at least three jailbreaks in Nigeria this year, with the latest coming last month when 575 prisoners escaped from a correctional facility in the south western state of Oyo. Some of the inmates were recaptures days later, the federal government said.
Speaking recently at the State House in Abuja during a press briefing organized by the president’s media team, Aregbesola said 954 of 4,860 inmates known to be at large in the country have been recaptured, but the remaining 3,906 will not flee forever as there is available biometric technology and the necessary national and international collaboration to fish them out.
Punch quoted the Minister as saying: “This is the advantage of the state. How long can they continue to run from the state? The state is a patient vulture. You can run but you cannot hide. We have their biometrics. Whenever and wherever they appear to transact any business, their cover will be blown. I will also like to inform Nigerians that we have captured the biometric information of all inmates in the facilities of Nigeria Correctional Service working in partnership with the Nigerian Identity Management Commission.”
He added: “Therefore, we have the capacity and are tracking all escapees from our facilities. In addition, we are working with and have shared the details of escapees with Interpol, to check the risks of cross border movements.”
The Minister also spoke on other issues related to prison inmates, including enrollment in university programs and adult literacy courses.
The Interior Ministry boss also had a word about the biometric passport, saying work is being done to facilitate the process of obtaining the travel document from the Nigeria Immigration Service, as demand for it continues to surge.
Nigeria has also recently been collecting the biometric data of school children for a school feeding program.