Identity management is key to boosting national security- Minister

The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, says identity management is a key to safeguarding the nation's national security architecture. Tunji-Ojo stated this when the President and Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Investigators of Nigeria, Dr Illiyasu Gashinbaki, led his team on a courtesy visit to him on Thursday in Abuja. He said that identity management was the foundation of any nation, saying that the prevalence of identity theft in Nigeria was alarming. 'Unearthing the truth about identities is crucial for addressing critical issues. 'Recently, we uncovered 2,400 non-Nigerians with fake National Identity Numbers attempting to acquire Nigerian passports. This passport symbolises our sovereignty and identity as Nigerians,' Tunji-Ojo said. The minister said that the two key responsibilities of the Interior Ministry included enhancing national security and preserving citizenship integrity. 'Therefore, must build capacity to conduct forensic analysis domestica lly, eliminating the need to travel abroad for such services,' he said. The Minister highlighted the Ministry's commitment to supporting the institute and enhancing the integrity of national document. 'The integrity of our documents is crucial for national pride and security. Many individuals holding Nigerian documents are not Nigerians. 'For instance, we recently arrested a British Airways crew member with a Nigerian passport procured in London, who turned out to be Ugandan,' Tunji-Ojo added. On Nigeria's reputation, Tunji-Ojo stated that Nigerians were among the most law-abiding people he had encountered with. 'With over 200 million citizens, our correctional centres house about 70,000 inmates, including approximately 25,000 convicted individuals. 'This simply means that only 0.035 per cent of Nigerians are in custody, reflecting the law abiding nature of the vast majority. But unfortunately, the actions of a few have tarnished our national image,' he said. Tunji-Ojo added that through collaboration with the institute, the ministry aimed to uphold the highest standards of document verification and forensic analysis to protect and serve the nation better. Earlier, Gashinbaki said that the purpose of the visit was to express the institute's desire for continued partnership with the ministry to serve the nation better. He said that the goal of the institute was to establish independent laboratories to conduct forensic analysis to ensure impartiality and adherence to scientific protocols in legal cases. 'We have also witnessed numerous building collapse due to inadequate testing of structures and product specifications, particularly from countries dumping substandard products in Africa,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria