The Director –General of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz has said that the capturing of the data of Nigerians in the Diaspora will start before the end of 2016.
Aziz gave the cheering news when the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa paid a visit to the commission in Abuja to know its level of preparedness to capture the identity of Nigerians living abroad.
Aziz said by September this year, the commission would have engaged the company that would assist it in the capturing of those in the Diaspora through a pilot scheme.
He attributed the delay in the capturing of the Nigerians in the Diaspora to logistic problems and paucity of funds.
He said the commission would soon select competent private companies that would assist it in the capturing of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
According to him, part of the national mandate of the Commission was to create a credible national data base.
To this end, he said the commission has started registering children from birth and had opened 400 locations in Nigeria which are connected with its data base.
He said the commission has opened a website whereby every Nigerians are free to register online via www.nimc.gov.ng, and fill the pre-enrolment form and take it to any of NIMC centre for capturing of the face and fingerprints.
He assured Nigerians that the commission has a certified technology by ISSO which are securely connected and back up to be able to carry out its national mandate of having accurate data of Nigerians within and outside the country.
The DG also said that the commission was already harmonizing all previous data captured by some government agencies like INEC, NCC and BVN for its data base because of its sophistication.
So far, he said the commission has captured less than one per cent, about 9.5 million national identity cards, attributing the low output to paucity of funds allotted to the agency
Responding, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa said it was a shame on Nigeria that after 56 years of independence, no one is sure of the population of the citizens living abroad as there was no actual data.
The Nigeria population in abroad has been estimated to be between 15 million to 20 million with majority estimates of four million based in the United States of America alone.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will want to know the actual number through your data base of Nigerians in the Diaspora for planning purposes.”
Dabiri-Erewa said such capturing would help to solve the problem of non-Nigerians infiltrating as Nigeria and assist in the data security and storage as well as enhance the patriotism of those living abroad.
She said quite a lot of Nigerians are making break through outside the country but Nigeria is not showing interest in tapping these great human resources to its advantage because of lack of data.
She said the September date set aside by the NIMC to start data capturing of those abroad was ideal as all issues pertaining to its logistics would have been resolved.
She advised the management of NIMC to be transparent in their selection process of the consultant to carry out the task, assuring that her office would be willing to partner with the commission