The House of Representatives on Thursday urged Federal Government to expedite action on the harmonization of various biometric databases of all public and private agencies without further delay.
According to the lawmakers, the exercise is expected to save about N40 billion operational costs and accord citizens the opportunity to have their biometrics taken over and over again by different agencies working for the same government.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Ochiglegor Idagbo (PDP-Cross River), who frowned at the duplication of functions among government agencies.
Other lawmakers who spoke in Favour of the motion include: Hassan Saleh, Nasir Ahmed, Jide Jimoh, Chris Azubogu and Chukwuemeka Ujam, observed that the Ad-hoc Committee set up by Federal Government to harmonize the biometric databases has not concluded its assignment.
They further observed that the harmonization of the biometric will help in regulating birth and death rate across the Local Government level.
According to him, Some of the agencies during the separate data capturing exercises conducted showed that: Central Bank of Nigeria/Nigeria Interbank Settlement System recorded 16 million persons; Independent National Electoral Commission recorded 60 million persons; Nigerian Communications Commission recorded 150 million persons; Federal Road Safety Commission recorded 5 million persons while Nigerian Immigration Service recorded 20 million persons.
He observed that the issue of National Identity Scheme in Nigeria was first conceived in 1977 was eventually executed almost 25 years later in view of the importance of biometric data in planning and development of all sectors of a country’s economy.
“Several countries of the world like the United States, Canada, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, among others have achieved great outcomes in economic development and crime detection, prevention and fighting as a result of the harmonization of the biometric data of their citizens.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Road Safety Commission, Federal Inland Revenue Service, National Pension Commission, Independent National Electoral Commission, National Health Insurance Scheme, National Population Commission, telecom service providers and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have all separately initiated their own biometric data gathering which has led to duplicity of efforts due to lack of coordination, thus leading to the storage of the same biometric data by multiple data by multiple agencies,” Idagbo noted.
To this end, Speaker Yakubu who presided over the plenary session mandated the joint Committee on Population and Government Affairs to ensure implementation and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.