U.S Visa Ban: Nigeria Substantially Met Demands _ C’ttee

The Committee on Citizens Data Management and Harmonisation has concluded its assignment and addressed substantially the concerns of the United States on citizen data.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Feb. 3, 2020 constituted an 18-member Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation following the visa ban from the United State on Nigerian citizens.

Mr Mohammed Manga, the Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Interior made this known in a statement on Thursday in Abuja. He disclosed that the Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Presidential Committee, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this on Thursday at the State House, Abuja, when he presented the report of the Committee to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The statement quoted the Minister as saying that out of the six areas raised by the United States, two have been fully met, two substantially met while work is ongoing on the remaining two.

According to Aregbesola, Nigeria has substantially provided information on travellers identity except data on Emergency Travel Certificates for Nigerians being repatriated adding that information on 145,695 Lost and Stolen Passports had been transmitted to the INTERPOL Database as at 31st May, 2020, following the intervention of the Committee.

Aregbesola further said that the committee recommended the setting up of a Criminal Information Management System to include the establishment of a Data Fusion Centre fashioned after the INTERPOL model for pooling of crime data.

“In addition, Aregbesola made known the fact that the Nigeria Immigration Service has now acquired the capability to directly transmit information on Lost and Stolen Passports to the INTERPOL Headquarters in Lyon which was one of the key demands of the United States,”

Also, a call was made for a National Criminal DNA Laboratory with the Nigerian Police Force as the co-coordinating agency which according to the Minister is to be complemented by an industrialized standard procedure for the collection of DNA samples of all suspected criminals in government crime control and custodial facilities to aid criminal investigation and administration of criminal justice in the country.

It would be recalled that U.S. had raised concerns on citizens of Nigeria which led to its imposition of visa ban on Nigerians.

In a effort to reverse the US ban quickly, the minister said the committee made far reaching recommendations including the Federal Government issuing an Executive Order that would provide for the exclusive collection of biometric data by NIMC and its Licensees.

It also recommended exclusive storage of Biometric data in the National identity Database and the discontinuance of biometric data storage of new registration by all agencies and institutions in Nigeria.

And suggested as well the mandatory use of NIN by all Mobile Network Operations (MNOs) for issuance of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) with effect from June 30, 2021, subject to the issuance of NIN by NIMC to at least 80 per cent of the population, with NIN as a unique identifier for all public servants.

Others are the need for the National Population Commission to commence the digital birth, death and other vital registrations (marriage, divorce, adoption, etc), at all hospitals and designated NPC offices in all federal wards. The integration of the National Identity Database (NIDB) with all agencies capturing identity data directed to commence full enforcement of NIN as a requirement for accessing their services.

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