An IT expert with the OPEC Fund for International Development has become the latest official to decry duplication and overlap in Nigerian authorities’ collection of citizens’ biometric data, reports The Guardian. Speaking at a press conference, the official, Jacob Edo, said that Nigeria’s federal government could be losing as much as $2 billion annually due to the inefficiencies.
This has long been known to be a problem. Two years ago, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called on government agencies to start sharing their biometric data to avoid duplication, and he was just echoing similar calls from previous president Goodluck Jonathan. This year, a high-ranking UN official raised the issue again at a session of the UN Commission on Population and Development.
In his effort to raise the issue, Edo asserted that there are currently 23 different government agencies collecting biometric data in Nigeria, and suggested that much of the money being spent on biometric data management is going to paid consultants.
Fortunately, this April the National Identity Management Commission of Nigeria renewed a contract with Safran Identity & Security (now OT-Morpho) with plans for the company to upgrade its ABIS system to the more sophisticated Morpho Biometric Search Services platform, which could help to ameliorate the biometric data management issue in Africa’s most populous country.