President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is making progress in reversing the suspension of the issuance of immigrant visas to Nigerians by the United States.
In January, the United States imposed an immigrant visa ban on Nigeria as a result of the country’s failure to comply with its established identity-management and information-sharing criteria.
Speaking on Thursday when he received the report of the committee on citizen data management and harmonisation in Abuja, Buhari said two out of six areas of concern raised by the United States have been fully addressed.
The committee was set up in February to address issues that led to the temporary visa restrictions on Nigerian passport holders.
‘‘I also note the progress made by Nigeria towards the removal of the visa restrictions as two out of the six areas of concern raised by the United States had been fully addressed, two are substantially satisfied while some progress is being made on the remaining two,” the president said.
‘‘I am delighted that this progress, especially the uploading of lost and stolen passport and travel documents has been acknowledged by the United States government.
‘‘An effective citizen data management system is critical for socio-economic planning, improved service delivery and good governance, as well as national and global security.
“It also has the over-arching benefit of enhancing integrity of the nation’s citizens’ identity instruments for the purpose of information sharing.
‘‘Accordingly, the Committee’s recommendations on the strategies for harmonizing existing databases, improving the infrastructure for the National Identity Database as well as a review of the supervisory mechanism of the National Identity Management Commission would be given serious consideration.
‘‘The implementation of the recommendations as estimated by the Committee would require enormous resources. In this regard, an implementation committee would be constituted to further study the recommendations and develop a workable implementation plan.”
The committee had recommended the establishment of a National Criminal Information Management, fashioned after the INTERPOL model, and a National Criminal DNA Laboratory, to aid criminal investigation, administration of criminal justice as well as sharing of relevant information.