BIO-key is sending tens of thousands of biometric scanners to Nigeria to help agents enroll citizens in the country’s new national identity program. Nigeria first announced its national ID registry back in 2019, shortly after BIO-key signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Technology Transfer Institute of Africa and opened a new subsidiary in the country.
The project is now moving forward in collaboration with Sterling Bank Nigeria, which runs the Specta online lending program. Specta representatives are being outfitted with BIO-key’s portable Pocket10 scanners, which they will use to register people’s fingerprints in Nigeria’s national identity database.
Once registered, citizens will be assigned a National Identity Number (NIN), and will be able to use their fingerprints to gain access to various government services. The national identity program is also being integrated with private services to encourage large scale adoption. Most notably, people will be able to use their NIN to make payments and complete mobile banking transactions, thanks in large part to the collaboration with Sterling Bank.
The Pocket10 scanner, meanwhile, is a FAP 50 scanner that debuted in 2021. The scanner can be used to capture all 10 fingerprints, and Nigeria believes that its small form factor will help Specta agents reach citizens in remote areas that do not have access to more modern financial infrastructure. As a result, the scanners are expected to raise inclusion, and make it easier for more people to participate in the national financial ecosystem.
“With the distribution of these mobile biometric devices across our agent banking network, we are now more enabled to bring top-tier banking services closer to the people,” said Sterling Bank Retail and Consumer Division Head Shina Atilola.
“We are now ready to expand our business in supporting the tens of thousands of Independent Agents with the requisite technologies – hardware, software and capital provided through Specta, that allows them to traverse the country to enroll the Nigerian citizens at scale,” added BIO-Key Africa Managing Director Akintunde Carlton Jeje.
Nigeria’s identity program is being pushed by the National Identity Management Commission, with the financial backing of the World Bank and the support of the United Nations. BIO-key started shipping biometric hardware to Nigeria in early 2021, to fulfill contracts that were delayed due to COVID-19 disruption.
March 1, 2022 – by Eric Weiss