FG Signs N14.7b MoU for ECOWAS Biometric Card
The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement as a contractor – Financed Scheme in favour of Messrs Euphoria Press Limited, over a concession period of ten years to produce 13million internationally compliant ECOWAS Biometric Identity Cards at the cost of N14.7billion.
The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen (rtd) Abdurahman Bello Dambazau, said that the move is one of government’s effort towards curtailing illegal movement into the country as well as curb insecurity.
General Dambazau said that the ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments adopted the use of the smart card and biometric technology to provide a high level of confidence in the identity of the travel document holder and help to validate their status and entitlement.
According to him, the N14.7 billion smart card which incorporates biometric identity credentials will enable an authentication process that will link identity to the physical person through an electronic authentication process.
The minister who added that the implementation of the biometric smart card is an ECOWAS obligation, with member States expected to commence issuing the cards to their citizens, said further that the card which will replace the current travel certificate will have the same colour in all member states, especially detailed information of the holder, including a photograph.
Dambazau said that there was need for Nigeria to show Africa and the world that the nation is serious in providing integration services in West Africa.
He added that the signing would not have come at a better time than now, as the ministry recently signed another MoU with Interpol for security within Nigerian borders, even as he revealed that the Ministry is saddled with the responsibility of issuing the ID cards.
General Dambazau assured that: “the ECOWAS Biometric ID Card is meant to complement the effort of the present administration in enhancing integration in the sub region. It is meant to replace ECOWAS traveller certificate. Incidentally, we just signed an agreement with Interpol for security partnership within our borders, so the ID card is meant to complement this effort”.
“The project will cost N14.7 billion for 13 million cards. Nevertheless, due processes will be followed in the execution of the project, especially the TSA that will be used for the execution of the project. There must also be constant monitoring and evaluation for duration of the project.”
According to him, the decision to grant approval for the production of the cards on PPP arrangement by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), was based on the realisation that they can inject capital into the economy, create employment opportunities and improve security.
The agreement he said, shall be for a period of ten years.
Earlier, the President/CEO, Euphoria Group of Companies explained that the new card which would be linked with the National Identity Card Number (NIMC) will among other things eliminate extortion, harassment and humiliation which Citizens currently experience at different entry borders and check points within the sub region.
He said the implementation of the scheme will not only be in compliance with an ECOWAS policy which the federal government is obliged to adhere to but will facilitate efficient trade between member countries.
Director (Press & Public Relations)
For: Honourable Minister