- Nigeria Loses N610bn Annually to Agencies’ Biometric Duplication
Nigeria is losing about $2bn (N610bn at the official exchange rate of N305 to a dollar) annually as a result of the duplication of biometric verification being conducted by no fewer than 16 agencies of the Federal Government.
According to the report of a research by Information and Communication Technology experts, which was revealed in Abuja on Tuesday, Nigeria can cut down this huge yearly loss by collapsing all biometric verification centres across the country into one entity.
Biometric verification is a means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits.
Speaking at a press briefing to announce the public presentation of a book titled, ‘Digital Transformation: Evolving a digitally-enabled Nigerian public service’, the author of the book, Mr. Jacobs Edo, said there was a need for a law that would empower one agency with the responsibility of providing the biometrics of all citizens in Nigeria.
He said, “I may not be able to tell you what the country is losing as a result of poor digitalisation on a general or broad perspective, but I can tell you that our findings show that about $2bn is lost annually as a result of the biometric duplication that we see everywhere in Nigeria.
“For supporting the different infrastructure on biometric capturing in various locations scattered around the world, the country is losing about $2bn yearly. For example, some of the agencies of government have their servers in the United States and they send money outside Nigeria in order to support the service.”
Edo explained that one single agency could get the biometrics of every citizen in Nigeria and distribute the data to other agencies that needed it.
He said, “The country needs to begin to look at a harmonised database for identity management and this starts with coming up with policies. We should be able to make a law that says one agency is now responsible for collecting the biometric data of citizens in Nigerians. When the agency collects the data, it will distribute to other agencies that need it.