The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) says it is putting measures in place to deploy satellite technology in capturing citizens’ identity.
Dr Aliyu Aziz, the Director-General (D-G) of the commission disclosed this on Thursday at the third annual lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Space Engineers (NISE) in Abuja.
The lecture, which was held in honour of Brig. Gen. Michael Agu (Rtd), the pioneer Chairman of NISE, had its theme as: “Remote Sensing Technology and National Security’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the lecture holds concurrently with the induction of some engineers as Fellows of NISE.
Aziz said that government’s data capturing agencies had not been able to effectively capture citizens identity.
He assured that with satellite technology, remote sensing could go a long way for more impact.
“In the 21st century technology, you have to use remote sensing to really count the people to check the data that we are capturing.
“In Nigeria, we have not been capturing the data of our citizens properly and when there is crisis, we claim we do not know who those people are.
“It is vital that we deploy remote sensing into identity management which is important to national security,’’ Aziz said.
According to him, data capturing agencies of government are working in silos, but “we need to work in collaboration to build a strong team and ensure the vision of a greater Nigeria.’’
The director-general further disclosed that the commission had been able to capture 36 million Nigerians on its database over the past four years.
“We have 36 million Nigerians in our database which we are still working to grow the number.
“We are planning to work together with other agencies that are into data capturing so that we can capture the whole population within three to five years,’’ he said.
He also said the commission was capturing Nigerians in the diaspora to ensure that every citizen was captured.
Dr Spencer Onuh, Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD), said “remote sensing can change the outlook of agriculture, town planning and many social amenities.
“We are trying to let everyone know that with the power of satellite that we have, there are a number of benefits that can accrue to the Nigerian society’’.
The director reiterated that space engineers and scientists have crucial roles to play in the development of infrastructure, the economy and national security of any nation.
Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Whyte, Chief, Defence Space Administration, said information from remote sensing images could help to provide intelligence needed for operational planning.
“If I need to reach an object in Maiduguri, I have to send somebody but with remote sensing I can access it from anywhere.
“Remote sensing has been used in nations of the world to enhance the operation of troops, to give geo-spatial knowledge,’’ Whyte said.
The officer reiterated that the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), the military and technology institutions across the country had the capacity to deploy remote sensing technology but the hardware was lacking.
He noted that the infrastructure for satellite technology is capital intensive, but the agency is having discussions to acquire them.
NAN reports that Dr Aliyu Aziz, Dr Spencer Onuh and Major Gen. Emmanuel Whyte were conferred with the fellowship of the NISE.