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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

BRISIN PROJECT: Nigeria starts biometric data ‘harmonisation’ process 

Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) hwww.brisin.gov.ngas begun consolidating its biometric data with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) as part of plans revealed by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
Speaking in Abuja, the corps marshal and chief executive of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, said the harmonisation of the data with the NIMC will ensure a central database for the country, where information can easily be traced.
Last week, speaking on divergent sources of biometric data tracking each citizen, Buhari said a “harmonisation” was needed to lower costs and improve efficiency.
"It will be more cost effective if you work together. It helps even the credibility of the election process, as Nigerians of voting age can be identified easily," said the president who wondered why each agency would gather its own biometrics, when such data could easily be shared.
However, local media has since pointed out that President Goodluck Jonathan gave this same directive more than a year ago when he said all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) should work with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the agency providing biometric database for the country.
“Nothing was done about his directive as several agencies continue to demand biometric data from Nigerians,” wrote This Day in an editorial.
The newspaper claims that several agencies of government including the National Population Commission (NPC), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and indeed the Nigeria Police had at different times asked Nigerians for their biometric data.
It would be recalled that In 2007 President Olusegun Obasanjo approved and awarded a contract to an organization to institute BRISIN (Basic Registry and Information System in Nigeria).
BRISIN biometric system will include schemes for facial, fingerprint, hand features, eye and iris , signature, vein and voice recognitions. Naturally, a nation like Nigeria plagued with bribery and corruption would not want such a program or system.
Following the award in 2007 through the present, budget for BRISIN has always been appropriated yearly without any payment to the contractor.  Following the inauguration of BRISIN Implementation Committee by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2015, efforts have been  effectively geared towards the taking off the project.

Without BRISIN Nigeria may not be able to attract needed foreign investments and the economy will always be stagnant and the administration will be non transparent and unaccountable to Nigerians; and law enforcement will be almost impossible."

With BRISIN, the Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Police, National Population Commission and other agencies of government will be able to access accurate bio data and other relevant figures at any point in time.

Further on how structuring Nigeria’s data storage system in line with BRISIN will boost other sectors, sectors such as security and economy will receive a boost, as records of offenders anywhere in the country would be captured electronically and stored in a central data bank from where it can be called up on demand from any part of the country.

In a policy analysis on BRISIN in Nigeria,  Tajudeen Kareem one of the National Coodinators, BRISIN project stated in August 7th, 2015 published opinion on an online news medium All-Africa.Com that 'Ministries, Departments and Agencies will use BRISIN centres to collect data and information for their sector and transmit through a programmed network from the local to the national level. This will allow verification of information from the source. Alternatively, the solution providers will provide trained data and information collectors and miners for them within the country."

AllAfrica.com published that Nigeria needs BRISIN in the face of dwindling oil revenues more than ever 'where it was emphasized that Outside oil, Nigeria is basically living on commerce and subsistence production. Therefore the economy should have fundamental attitude on fiscal and revenue management, which in actual fact cannot function without BRISIN. The underground economy in Nigeria is about 70 per cent and IGR is 30 per cent. The reduction in oil price is sending fever to Nigeria because we diverted from following the principles of economic development.

Appropriate and reliable data and information are fundamental for citizen identification, documentation, criminal monitoring and tackling insurgencies," according to All Africa.Com
"The BRISIN project transcends issuance of identity card to citizens," argued Dr. Anthony Uwa, being the Head of Implementation Committee for BRISIN.

By Lashley Oladigbolu

Mr Oladigbolu  is an accredited journalist for World Bank Online Media Briefing Centre and Acting President of Nigerian Union of Journalists Europe Chapter.



Related story: How vital  is BRISIN for Nigerian economy?

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