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With the recurring security challenges bedeviling the country, the Nigerian government has set up a committee to collect and harmonise data on her citizens with the objective of fighting the influx of foreigners aiding insecurity in the country.

Tagged the ‘Citizen data management and harmonization committee,’ the committee was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Tuesday, an official said.

Mr Buhari was, however, in Ethiopia on Tuesday and flew from there directly to Maiduguri on Wednesday, indicating his role in unveiling the committee was done by a representative.

According to a statement by the ministry of interior’s spokesperson, Mohammed Manga, on Wednesday, the committee would use standard methods of data collection and would work with different government agencies to arrive at desired goals.

“It has assured that it would enhance speedy harmonisation of Nigeria’s numerous citizen identification data held by different government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a view to ensuring a single database owned and managed by the Federal Government,” the statement read in part.

According to the statement, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who doubles as the chairman of the committee, assured that efforts are in place to fight terrorism as such would leave no stone unturned in ensuring national security and public safety of Nigerians and foreigners alike.

According to him, the harmonisation of the database has become imperative because of the present global security challenges and the urgent need for Nigeria to join the international community in the fight against transnational crimes and criminality.

Mr Aregbesola further set up three Sub-Committees (Citizen Data Management and Harmonization, Central Crime Data Management and Harmonization, and Limited and Temporary Visa Restrictions) for speedy and efficient delivery of the presidential mandate as contained in the terms of reference of the committee.

He urged members to commence the review of the recent limited and temporary immigrant visa restrictions by the United States of America, with immediacy.

“Develop and implement systems and processes that will address the security concerns raised by the US and submit their interim report on or before February 14, 2020,” the minister said.

Mr Aregbesola thanked the president for granting them the opportunity to serve the nation and assured that all hands will be on deck to ensure that the committee carries out its assignment in record time.

Members of the committee present at the inaugural meeting include –

Minister of Interior – Chairman

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice

Minister of Police Affairs

Governor of the Central Bank

Inspector General of Police

Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service

Director-General, State Security Services

Director-General, Nigeria Intelligence Agency

Director-General, National Identity Management Commission

Director-General, National Population Commission

Others are –

Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission

Accountant General of the Federation.

The presidential committee is expected to prepare and submit its final report on or before March 16.

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