2400 Foreigners Caught Applying For Nigerian Passports With Fake Identity Numbers, NIN

At least 2400 foreigners with fake National Identity Numbers (NIN) had been identified attempting to acquire Nigerian passports, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo has said.

A statement by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Interior, Ozoya Imohimi, said that the Minister disclosed this when the President and Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Investigators of Nigeria, Dr Illiyasu Gashinbaki, paid him a courtesy visit with his team on Wednesday.

According to the statement, Tunji-Ojo during the visit emphasised the critical role of identity management in enhancing national security, while highlighting the importance of having a robust identity management system to track and monitor individuals within the country effectively.

The statement partly read: “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 2400 non-Nigerians with fake National Identity Numbers attempting to acquire Nigerian passports. This passport symbolises our sovereignty and identity as Nigerians.

“Identity management is key to boosting our national security. It enables us to have a comprehensive database of residents, which is crucial for identifying and addressing security threats promptly.”

The government’s ongoing efforts to improve the national identity management system, according to the Minister is aimed to provide accurate and up-to-date information, which he noted will assist law enforcement agencies in their operations.

While pointing out that a reliable identity management system can help prevent crimes, track down criminals, and ensure that resources are allocated effectively to maintain public safety, he tasked the institute to ensure they build capacity to conduct forensic analysis domestically.

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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.

“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.”

The statement noted that 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,” Gashinbaki said.

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