What we should expect of NIN-SIM linkage contribution to national security

NEWS DIGEST – On the order of the Communications Minister, Dr Isa Pantami, Nigerians who would have failed to link their SIM with their NIN by Thursday will be unable to make calls or surf the internet.

When Pantami first announced this directive last December, the reasoning was that a lack of biometric data was incapacitating the country’s fight against crime and terrorism.

“This will definitely help to curtail and checkmate the lingering security challenges in some parts of the country,” Bashir Ahmed, Senior Special Assistant on New Media to the President, said on the directive.

Nigeria has witnessed a surge in insecurity lately and many of these have been founded on religious, political and ethnical ideals. Backed against a wall, the presidency cannot wait for the NIN-SIM linkage to be completed.

Centre to a country’s fight against terrorism is often the availability of data. The radicalization that leads to expansion of terrorist cells not only happens through conventional recruiting of out-of-school, misinformed children, but also literate on social media.

The collection of biometric data will serve as intelligence for security agency towards quick identification of suspects when cross-referenced against a national database.

The National Identity Management Commission, the unit responsible for issuing NINs, says the NIN is tied to demographic data, fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture, other biometric data and digital signature that makes it easy to confirm and verify the identity of anyone captured in national identity database.

Biometrics has done wonders for criminal investigations, giving detectives an additional tool when conducting investigations.

Perpetrators of crime would also need to communicate with their accomplices and would be forced to link their NIN with their sim, hence, registering their data in the country’s biometric database.

When the NIN-SIM linkage becomes finalised, detectives will be able to validate crimes from technologies like fingerprint matching, triangulate the location of the criminal through information on the SIM card and ensure there is a crackdown on criminal units within the country.

This will allow for a more ordered response to insecurity in the country and the switch to data-based investigations will make it relatively easier to share intelligence across security agencies.