A national biometric database may aid in the Nigerian government’s fight against Boko Haram, says aviation minister Osita Chicoda. According to journalist Colin Freeman, in an article written for The Telegraph, the Nigerian minister has recently unveiled plans to biometrically register the nation’s entire 173 million population in a database and track their activities from primary school through the duration of their life.
A biometric registry will help keep tabs on Boko Haram’s criminal networks, a task Chicoda told The Telegraph Nigerian police and security forces have so far found impossible.
“The president has realised that as much as we are going to fight militarily, we need to introduce the systems of modernity that will fight global networks of terror,” said Chicoda. “Then we will also know if these people fighting in our country are really Nigerians. Right now we don’t.”
In addition to keeping better track of Boko Haram’s criminal networks, a national database containing every citizen’s biometric data will allow for security forces to determine if the group is receiving outside aid from foreign jihadists.
Prior to this initiative, Chicoda played a part in bringing about Nigeria’s biometric drivers license program, which currently boasts three million registered users. Despite that number accounting for only a small portion of Nigeria’s massive population, the drivers licence program has allowed for greater law enforcement efficiencies thanks to face and fingerprint biometrics that can help identify subjects.
February 3, 2015 – by Peter B. Counter