Nigerian banks plan to capture biometric information of customers
By Cudjoe Kpor
Lagos. October 3, 2012: Plans are underway by Nigerian banks to collect biometric information of their customers for real-time and easier identification of account holders in the country.
Biometric information uniquely distinguishes one person from another and are used to establish a record of and confirm an individual’s identity with the most common being photographs and fingerprints. Iris scans and voice recognition are also other forms of biometric information.
Under the plan, the Bankers’ Committee has invited reputable IT companies with requisite expertise and experience to set up a biometric verification system for customers of all the 21 deposit money banks in the country.
The Bankers Committee is the powerful group of chief executive officers of all the DMBs chaired by the Governor of Central Bank, the apex bank that regulates the banking sector estimated to have more than 44.5million customers at the end of last year.
Applicants for the technology project must be legally-registered companies in Nigeria, or their partners and must have executed similar large scale biometric verification contracts worth N800 million ($5m) for clients covering five million persons, according to the Bankers’ Committee that announced the deal.
The proposed centralised platform would provide an online real-time database accessible by all the DMBs to enable them identify and authenticate each customer uniquely in their Know-Your-Customer (KYC) verification processes.
The Bankers’ Committee requires all applicants to submit their applications by October 5, 2012.
With the proposed project, the banks in Nigeria will join the growing list of public and private organisations that require individuals to submit their biometric data for requisite databases.
In February, last year, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registered 67,764,327 voters nationwide capturing their biometric data.
About four months later, National Communication Commission (NCC) followed up with supplementary registration of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards by the private mobile phone networks for the total number of users which currently stands at 103.43 million active subscribers at last July.
Biometric verification systems capture the unique biological features of any individual, such as finger-print and by law all data captured are warehoused by National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the government agency says.
According to NIMC, a secure identity helps both citizens and businesses to reduce fraud, make false applications, minimise identity theft, enhance commercial transactions with remote locations, as well as minimise fraudulent theft of financial benefits.