By Kester Omu
The Nigerian government has spent a whooping N208.8 billion on the collection of data from its citizens in the last seven years.
A breakdown of how the money was spent, according to a report in the Guardian Newspaper shows that the Banks in Nigeria as instructed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has so far spent N45 billion to issue Bank verification Number to account owners.
Others are SIM Registration, a project of the Nigerian Communications Commission and Mobile Network Operators, which has gulped N46.1 billion. The National Identity Card from the National Identity Management Commission has cost the federal government N30.7 billion, while the Voters Registration, a project of the Independent National Electoral Commission cost the government N87 billion.
This is worrisome and a burden to the government’s pulse, Usman Idris, a public affairs analyst and a social commentator said, lamenting that the multiplicity of data capturing by the federal government is a result of government non-reliance on technology.
Idris, who spoke to ITPulse via telephone noted that what the capturing of data by different agencies of government has successfully done is to give the opportunity to some individuals to become rich with the country’s money.
He said the capturing of data will not end with the above listed agencies, envisaging that the National Population Commission (NPC) would probably collect data again from the citizens ahead of the 2018 national Census.
“In the age and time of technology, it is expected that a country like Nigeria will coordinate its biometric collection and storage in a single database. This can be accessed by any lawful agency of government, including security agencies,” he argued.
In Nigeria, several agencies of government collect data from its citizens. Some of them include Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), National Population Commission (NPC) and most likely the Police.