NEWS: Data capture: Reps committee query NIMC over diaspora enrolment fees 》REELPLUGMEDIA ⭐️

The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora on Wednesday queried the National Identity Management Commission over the fees charged to Nigerians in diaspora for data capturing for the purposes of the National Identity Number and the National e-Identity Card.

Chairperson of the committee, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, sought further clarification on the fees from the Director-General of the commission, Mr Abubakar Aziz at the 2020 budget defence session on Wednesday.

Akande-Sadipe said that the private companies the commission had licensed to handle the process of data capture were overcharging Nigerians in diaspora.

“How have you been operating without a budget? You have been operating because you have been licensing it (data capture) out (to private companies).

“If their cost is 47 dollars and you are giving them 50 dollars, there is a 3 dollars difference. So where is the difference going?

“If they do not pay it to NIMC then they are overcharging Nigerians in diaspora. Is that profit to them? So where is it?

“Looking at the documents you gave here, you have an enrollment fee of 50 dollars for countries other than Africa. Below the age of 16 is 40 dollars and some other fees when they lose a card and then when they come back to collect their card you also charge them some money for the issuance of the card. So you are charging them more than 50 dollars.”

The chairperson also said that NIMC had not been remitting money to the Federal Government.

She also criticised the process employed by NIMC in involving private companies in the process of gathering “sensitive data” of Nigerians.

“One of the major gaps we see as the diaspora committee is that our people in the diaspora are not happy with regard to the process you are using where private companies are gathering their sensitive data.

“The National Identity Number is what is called a Social Security Number in the America, in England it is called the NI number. No private organisation in England is allowed to capture that data or do same in America.

“This is Nigeria our country and we need to protect us. This is a fundamental issue and it has come to our attention because of the Nigerians in diaspora who have complained.

On his part, the director-general of NIMC, however, disagreed that the commission exposed the data of Nigerians by using private companies.

He explained that the commission followed international best practices to ensure the data was safe.

The NIMC boss also explained that the extra fee charges.

“We are collecting money and where does it go? This is for licensing private companies to make sure their investments are recovered.

“Based on the requirements needed we agreed with them to charge a fee and we regulate the fees and by regulating the fees, we have to put it in a factsheet and it is an open document, it is on the website.

“If we allow them, they will overcharge people. Based on the BVN model they came up with the cost of 47 dollars and we put it at 50 dollars to regulate.”

He also revealed that the commission had not received a budget for diaspora capturing in the past four years but just gets “envelope budget.”

“Outside Nigeria, we are constrained, no funding but if you are able to provide the funds then we can capture the data of Nigerians. For diaspora, there is no funding for it and if there is, it can be done by Nigerians.”

He, however, said that over 1,627 persons had been captured outside the country and urged the committee to assist the commission with funds and facilities to enable it to be more efficient.

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