October 24, 2017
The Executive Director, Seamfix Nigeria Limited, Mr. Chibuzor Onuorah, speaks on the national identity system and the company’s new data management solution in this interview with IFE OGUNFUWA
The National Identity Management Commission has been doing some work in the area of data capturing but many Nigerians have not been able to obtain their National Identification Number. What solutions do you think should be deployed to get the expected results?
There is quite a lot that has gone under the bridge. The NIMC is making some excellent strides right now. If I were there, it is what they are doing now that I would be doing; which is to consolidate the various databases from the security and identify perspectives. It is okay for organizations to have their silos of data. That will never go away. Even countries that have social security number still have various companies having their own data but from the identity perspective, a country should have a central identity and I think NIMC is doing a wonderful job by collating this. The more they push for the collation of these databases, to match the identity in the SIM registration system or BVN system, the better. From the operational perspective, I want to believe that since they have started collating these data, they are putting measures in place for the operational part, which is the distribution and getting people to have these ID cards as well as the replacement of missing ID cards. For any system, you must build and then maintain. If you tar a road and five years later you don’t introduce an operational process, you will not maintain it. For the technology aspect which we are privy to, the consolidation of the databases is the way to go.
We have problems with trackable identity in Nigeria. Is your company looking at partnering security agencies to investigate crime perpetrators using your platform?
At Seamfix, we view ourselves as enablers for businesses and people, to help them do their business well. For instance, we have a security company today that has signed up for BioRegistra. They are utilizing the platform to track and manage their members of staff so that as they outsource the security workers around the country, they are able to track them. We empower them to do this. We won’t do these ourselves because we are not a security outfit. Our hope is that one day, our national security agencies like the Nigerian Police Force may find BioRegistra a veritable tool, to either come to utilize or request the security company’s platform. For us, our own interest is to provide an enabling platform and tools to do their business.
What are the important features of a trackable identity system?
To have a trackable identity, we must have a uniquely identifiable identity. And to have something unique, you have to ensure that you have a centralized system; and you have been able to ensure that within that centralized database, the information occurs only once. That is part of the work the NIMC is doing now and that is the first step. If you get that first step right, you can properly track the lifecycle of that identity as it interacts through various aspects of the system. But our forte is to empower organizations to do their business better. If it means capturing human information or verifying that information against an identity database, so be it.
What is your new product, BioRegistra, about?
BioRegistra is a cloud-based data capture and management solution. It is a solution that enables anyone from anywhere in the world to set up a captured project, specify what they would like captured no matter how complex or simple it is-fingerprints or facial-and define the process for how they want the data captured as well as set up their agents if they need one. BioRegistra also allows them to capture this data from a computer whether online or offline. As soon as the app detects an Internet connection, it synchronizes the data. With that data captured from different locations, it tags the data with the location they are captured from so that the administrator of the data can log into the administrative consul and begin to make sense of the data.
Does it allow users to analyze their data?
As long as you have defined the data in your form and it is captured, you can analyze it. For example, if at the end of the year, you want to have a Christmas party, you can log into your platform and the data will let you know that 70 percent of people live around Ikorodu in Lagos State and the other 30 percent live elsewhere. The system has the capacity to design custom report if you want and we have our dedicated personnel to assist in doing this.
Is there provision for harmonization of data of the same person logged on to the platform by different organizations?
There are two people that matter in these- the users whose data have been captured and the company the users have given consent to. If your data ends up on our platform for any reason, you have given permission to the organization to use it. Based on that promise, asking companies to share data will be a difficult thing because we have to protect the sanctity of customer information. However, we can give users the right to allow some other companies requesting for their data to give the data available on the platform, although this is not available today, it is something being considered.