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Nigeria’s Edo state emulates Lagos on biometric resident ID cards to fight insecurity

Nigeria’s Edo state emulates Lagos on biometric resident ID cards to fight insecurity

The Governor of Edo State in southern Nigeria, Godwin Obaseki, has unveiled plans by his administration to issue biometric identification cards to all residents of the state, reports Business Daily.

The development comes as Lagos State authorities announced they were resuming the issuance of the Lag ID – an upgraded version of a biometric ID card to be issued to all Lagos residents.

According to Obaseki, the ID, which will be delivered to residents of all 18 Local Government areas of Edo State, will be linked to “biometric verification numbers.” It is not clear whether this means the National Identity Number (NIN) or Bank Verification Number (BVN), also biometric.

As part of the measure to boost internal state security, he has also asked for a list of all duly registered motorbike riders and riders of tricycles referred to locally in Nigeria as ‘Keke Napep,’ following similar moves in states such as Anambra.

“We are launching the Edo State Resident Identification System. Every resident in Edo must have an identity card. The identity card will be linked to the Biometric Verification Number (BVN) (sic) so that we know who is who,” Obaseki was quoted as saying during a recent meeting of security stakeholders which he chaired in the town of Auchi.

The Governor also clarified that the move is not intended to send away visitors from the state, but to ensure that whoever resides within the territory of the state is properly identified and easily traced if the need arises.

The Business Daily article also states that vigilante groups must be registered, suggesting they may also need to have their IDs verified.

Lagos concludes deal for issuance of first 3M Lag IDs

Authorities of the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LSRRA) say they have entered a partnership with Sterling Bank to deliver the first three million Lag ID cards to Lagos residents.

After initial reports, the upgraded version of the card was launched on July 21, 2022, by Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who explained that the smart card is meant not only for security purposes, but also to enable holders enjoy other benefits such as access to financial and government services.

“Sterling Bank is the pioneer financial partner of this initiative, providing support for the first three million cards that will be distributed to residents,” Sterling Bank Chief Executive, Abubakar Suleiman, was quoted by Punch as saying in a statement issued after the Lag ID launch last month.

The article also quotes the LSRRA General Manager Ibilola Kasunmu, who says, “the new Lag ID card is a multi-application smart card that offers registered residents access to services ranging from personal security and identity verification at points of accessing various government services, to applying for loans from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.”

Biometrics for security is on an uptick in Nigeria. While some states like Kano are deploying the technology to enhance airport security, others like Anambra are banking on it to identify operators of local transport systems to instill order.

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