Nigerian army arrests fake NIMC staff registering people in Niger for national ID
Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has clarified that two national ID fraudsters recently arrested by members of the country’s defence and security forces do not belong to its staff. The fraudsters had been to the Gagamari Internally Displaced Persons camp in neighboring Niger to register non-Nigerians for Nigeria’s national digital ID.
Major General Musa Danmadami, a spokesperson for the Nigerian defence forces, told reporters last Thursday at the defence headquarters in Abuja that a joint operation, which included officials of the National Immigration Service (NIS), led to the arrest of the accused.
As reported by Sahara Reporters, Danmadami said during the briefing that the suspects identified themselves as staff of the NIMC – the federal government agency overseeing the national ID card issuance in Nigeria. The Army was already suspicious of their claims and NIMC was quick to react to the development, emphasizing that the arrested suspects were not part of its personnel.
“It is important to note well the Army’s clarification from the onset, when they referred to the fraudsters as ‘fake,’ meaning their claim to be NIMC staff – if at all they did – was proven from the beginning to be false,” read a portion of the statement signed by NIMC director general Aliyu Aziz.
“We wish to state categorically that neither NIMC officials nor staff of the NIMC licensed enrolment agents across the country are authorized, nor do they go from one country to another, let alone from Nigeria across the borders, to enroll Nigerians, much less foreigners,” it adds.
The statement explained that the ID authority has licensed agents to operate over 152 centres in 38 countries around the world with the mandate to enroll only Nigerians.
While NIMC lauded the efforts of the Nigerian army for the arrest, it called on citizens to remain vigilant and guard against such ill-intentioned persons working to sabotage Nigeria’s digital ID development efforts.
“Fraudsters and impersonators should be pointed out for who they are: criminal elements and the cooperation of the public is required in assisting security agencies in their work of curbing these crimes in our society.”
At the time of their arrest, the suspects were in possession of enrollment machines for the national identification number (NIN), a printing and lamination machine, a computer tracking machine and a set of power generator, according to the defence official as cited by Sahara Reporters. It is not clear if this includes devices for biometric capture.
The NIMC has been enrolling citizens in and out of the country for a national digital ID scheme, with more than 90 million citizens already issued a national digital ID number.