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Nigeria boosts Biometric ID system capacity to 100m, becomes largest in Sub-Sahara Africa



By Ibrahim Olukotun

goodluck jonathan votes
President Goodluck Jonathan (in picture) cast his vote at the last General Elections. NIMC says its system has been upgraded to capture voters information in the country

Lagos. February 6, 2013: The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has upgraded of its Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) first deployed in 2010 to 100million ranking its capacity as the largest in Sub Saharan Africa, the nations ID agency has said.

According to the NIMC, with the upgrade in capacity, the body will be able to process volume databases from institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) since the ‘de-duplication’ system in the ABIS can take more records with its larger record-handling capacity.

Anthony Okwudiafor, Director, Corporate Communications, NIMC  says the ABIS when it was first deployed had only two bimodal functionalities — fingerprint and face, but a third functionality called “Iris” has now been added.

The ABIS enables the determination of unique identities in the database before the National Identification Number (NIN) is issued to an individual, says NIMC.

The NIMC spokesman says the Commission has achieved additional 30 million capacity with the same budget that was meant for 70 million capacity due to cordial relationship with the contractor.

On September 28th 2011 the Federal Executive Council approved the sum of N30.066 billion for the accelerated implementation of the ‘back end’ component of the project. This was done to accelerate the delivery of the NIMS by December 2013.

“Government had approved the upgrade to 70 million database record size on the two modal functionalities as part of the N30.066n billion, a three   year funding approved for the accelerated implementation of the back end component of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) in 2011. But the management of NIMC had been able to utilise the same funding to achieve a higher upgrade due to its cordial relationship with the service providers L1 identity Solutions, USA”, Okwudiafor says

He adds that the deployment plan includes an upscaling in a matter of hours to 200 million whenever the Commission desires.

This means that the ABIS infrastructure is currently the largest in Sub Saharan Africa. Already, eight (8) members of staff of NIMC have been trained on the use of the system which will be maintained in partnership with a local technology solutions firm and the Biometric Unit of the NIMC, he adds.

While noting that the Commission has taken an important step towards achieving its mandate of integrating identity databases in government agencies, Okwudiafor adds that the facility is already in use for the planned roll out of the National Identity smart card to Nigerians scheduled for the second quarter of 2013.

NIMC says it is aims to process and manage information and identities in the country in a permanent and sustainable basis that will culminates in five deliverables: creation of a unique, secure and accessible National Identity Database (NIDB) of registered persons as defined by the NIMC Act 2007; generation and assignment of an eleven-digit unique National Identification Number (NIN) to every registered person in the NIDB; introduction and issuance of a multi-application Smart Card to every registered person in the NIDB; Provision of identity verification services infrastructure based on the NIDB and finally, harmonisation and integration of existing identity databases in government agencies with the NIDB

NIMC was established in 2007 primarily to foster the orderly development of an identity sector in Nigeria through the development of a modern and universally acceptable identity management infrastructure in Nigeria.





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