Nigeria is set to establish a National Criminal Information Management, as recommended by a committee set by President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issues that led to the US travel restrictions on the country.
According to the recommendations of the committee, headed by the minister of interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the National Criminal Information Management would be fashioned after the INTERPOL model.
The panel also recommended the establishment of a National Criminal DNA Laboratory all aimed at aiding criminal investigation, administration of criminal justice as well as sharing of relevant information.
Receiving the report of the committee today, August 13 at the presidential villa, Abuja, President Buhari said that the implementation of the far-reaching recommendations as articulated in the Report will fully address all outstanding issues that led to the visa restrictions.
‘‘An effective Citizen Data Management System is critical for socio-economic planning, improved service delivery and good governance, as well as national and global security. It also has the over-arching benefit of enhancing integrity of the nation’s citizens’ identity instruments for the purpose of information sharing.‘‘
Accordingly, the Committee’s recommendations on the strategies for harmonizing existing databases, improving the infrastructure for the National Identity Database as well as a review of the supervisory mechanism of the National Identity Management Commission would be given serious consideration.
‘‘The implementation of the recommendations as estimated by the Committee would require enormous resources. In this regard, an Implementation Committee would be constituted to further study the recommendations and develop a workable implementation plan.”
President Buhari pledged Nigerian Government’s commitment to sustaining the follow-up for the removal of the visa restrictions by the United States and developing a credible harmonized National Identity Data Management System.
He recalled that the Federal Government’s response to the temporary visa restrictions placed on Nigerian citizens by the United States in January this year, led to the setting up of the Committee to review the restrictions and develop systems and processes that would address the security concerns raised.
‘‘In consideration of the fact that the concerns raised cast doubts on the credibility of the nation’s citizen identity data management system, the scope of the Committee’s assignment was expanded to include strategies to harmonize the various citizen identity data held by different Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
‘‘I have gone through the highlights of the Report and must commend the Chairman and members of the Committee for painstakingly carrying out the assignment in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘The recommendations as highlighted are capable of addressing the concerns raised by the US Government as well as lead to the development of a reliable national citizen identity data management system.’’ he said.
In his remarks, Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonization, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola recalled that the body was set up on February 3, 2020, to among others, review the visa restrictions imposed by the U.S and develop systems and processes that would address the security concerns raised.
Another mandate, the Minister said, was to review the status of Nigeria’s numerous citizen identification data, including biometrics, held by different ministries, departments and agencies, and propose strategies for the harmonization of same.He reported that Nigeria had fully satisfied two of the six areas of concern raised by the U.S, two others substantially satisfied, and progress being made on the remaining two.
“It is our hope that the findings, strategies and implementation plans proffered, if fully implemented, will expedite the lifting of the visa restrictions while bequeathing to the nation an enduring identity management system.”