Identity Management, Key To Boosting National Security – Interior Minister

By Anne Osemekeh, Abuja

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The Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo, has emphasized the critical importance of identity management in defending the nation’s security.

According to a statement on Thursday by the ministry’s spokesperson, Ozoya Imohimi, the Minister made the assertion during a courtesy visit by the President and Chairman of the Chattered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Investigators of Nigeria (CIFCFIN), Dr. Illiyasu Gashinbaki, on Wednesday.

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Tunji-Ojo, who averred that identity management is the foundation of any nation, decried the alarming rate of identity theft in Nigeria, adding that unearthing the truth about identities is crucial for addressing critical issues, as it is “challenging to protect those you do not know”.

The minister disclosed a recent uncovering of 2,400 non-Nigerians with fake National Identity Numbers (NINs) attempting to acquire Nigerian passport, as well as the arrest of a British Airways crew member, with a Nigerian passport procured in London, who turned out to be Ugandan, buttressing the fact that many individuals holding Nigerian documents are not Nigerians.
“This passport symbolises our sovereignty and identity as Nigerians”, he said.

Highlighting two key responsibilities of the Ministry of Interior: enhancing national security and preserving citizenship identity, Dr. Tunji-Ojo harped on the need to build capacity to conduct forensic analysis domestically, thereby eliminating the need to travel abroad for such services.

He also reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to supporting the institute and enhancing the integrity of national documents, saying, “the integrity of our documents is crucial for national pride and security”.

Dr. Gashinbaki expressed the institute’s desire for continued partnership with the Ministry of Interior, and stressed the importance of verifying and authenticating documents, capacity building and maintaining the ministry’s representation on the Institute’s Council.

“Our goal is to establish independent laboratories to conduct forensic analysis. This ensures impartiality and adherence to scientific protocols in legal cases”, Gashinbaki said, and decried the numerous cases of building collapse due to inadequate testing of structures and product specifications “particularly from countries dumping sub-standard products in Africa”.

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