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Effective Identity Management, Cornerstone of National Security– Tunji-Ojo

The Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has emphasised the critical importance of identity management in safeguarding the nation’s security.

He said this during a courtesy visit by the President and Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Investigators of Nigeria, Dr. Illiyasu Gashinbaki, and his team on Wednesday 29th May, 2024 that it is challenging to protect those you do not know.

“Identity management is the foundation of any nation, and the prevalence of identity theft in Nigeria is 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 noted.

He said two key responsibilities of the Ministry of Interior include enhancing national security and preserving citizenship integrity, adding: “We must build capacity to conduct forensic analysis domestically, eliminating the need to travel abroad for such services.”

The Minister further highlighted the Ministry’s commitment to supporting the Institute and enhancing the integrity of national documents.

“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 disclosed.

Addressing Nigeria’s reputation, Dr. Tunji-Ojo stated, “Nigerians are among the most law-abiding people I’ve encountered. With over 200 million citizens, our correctional centres house about 70,000 inmates, including approximately 25,000 convicted individuals. This means only 0.035 per cent of Nigerians are in custody, reflecting the law-abiding nature of the vast majority. Unfortunately, the actions of a few have tarnished our national image.”

During the visit, Dr. Gashinbaki expressed the Institute’s desire for continued partnership with the Ministry. He stressed the importance of verifying and authenticating documents, capacity building, and maintaining the Ministry’s representation on the Institute’s Council.

“Our goal is to establish independent laboratories to conduct forensic analysis. This ensures 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,” Dr. Gashinbaki said.

The Ministry of Interior, responsible for maintaining internal security, public safety, and the administration of immigration and border control in Nigeria, remains dedicated to enhancing national security and preserving the integrity of Nigerian citizenship.

Through collaboration with organizations like the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Investigators of Nigeria, the Ministry aims to uphold the highest standards of document verification and forensic analysis to protect and serve the nation.

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