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Tinted glass permit is free


SIR: I read with astonishment again, the announcement that the Nigeria Police was asking citizens to register for a tinted glass permit on various news media websites. Not that this is a bad thing, I was concerned that the process again necessitated going to the police station for capture of biometric information. This is following the call by the President for the harmonization of all biometric data capture processes as far back as August 2015. It is surprising that the police that did not have this process in place at that time have now developed their own biometric data capture process claiming it to be a free registration process. I want to believe that the police authorities are oblivious of the press release by the office of the President instructing the harmonisation of all data capture processes thereby prompting me to do this write up.

While the police may have good intentions, there are too many points where these data capture processes are taking place within the Nigerian system thereby prompting the presidential directive. This does not foster an efficient e-governance system that the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and other partners advocate. It is also not in the best interest of Nigeria to allow these multiple biometric data capture processes in government institutions. It amounts to a waste of resources as the same equipment for collection of this biometric information have to be bought by different government institutions across the country when the data capture could have been done in one spot and the data shared across other government institutions that need them across the country through encrypted and well protected interphases as is seen in industrialised nations. It also does not build an enterprise government system where the information of an individual can be linked across different ministries that deal with information on the individual. Such is necessary for the intelligence mining that is necessary for the digital age that we currently operate in.

If the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) had completed the issuance of national identifiers to citizens, there would have been no need for this new registration process but rather how the police system could be integrated. Having registered over a year ago with NIMC, I am still yet to get the necessary documentation and so are many others across the country. Though advertised as free by the police authorities, this is a means of chaos which some people will capitalise on to extort citizens that rightfully want to obtain the permit. Imagine going to the police station to get your data captured and being told that there is no power so you must return on another day or on the contrary, you can buy petrol to drive the generator. This is not a far-fetched story having been in similar situations in the past.

• Olusesan Makinde.