The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) says the federal government was locked out of previous database of Nigerians captured in 2004.
Hadiza Ali Dagabana, general manager, legal services, regulatory and compliance of the commission, said the current administration inherited a database controlled by foreigners but was unable to regain full access.
Speaking on Nigeria Info FM 99.3 on Tuesday, she said this was as a result of vendor lock-in, which refers to when people are forced to continue using a service regardless of quality, because of the cost of switching away from it.
Most Nigerians may have participated in at least four data-capturing processes during which various government agencies collect their data including biometrics.
But despite the previous data capture, the federal government recently mandated all citizens to update their SIM card with their national identity number (NIN) as issued by the NIMC.
This angered many people who called on the government to create a central database with existing data collected by various agencies.
But Dagabana said NIMC does not have access to the national identity card database of Nigerians as captured in 2004.
“For 2004, the database is sitting in our office but we don’t have access to it. We learnt from the mistake of our predecessors to make sure that what we are creating is managed and run by Nigerians 100 percent,” she said.
“What we inherited was not accessible to any Nigerian; it was foreigners, what you call — for those that are in the IT industry — vendor lock-in. So, the vendors locked us out. Nobody can access the system.
“The government negotiated, tried as much as possible to get access but when there is no guarantee that if we are given access, we will find the data the way we wanted to, we just decided to build our system afresh with privacy.
“The issue of vendor lock-in, we had to look into that seriously to make sure that no foreign vendor will lock us in in our country with resources and infrastructure that the government had built.”