By Emma Okonji
The House of Representatives Committee on Interior, Wednesday, stressed the need to upgrade the data capturing facilities at the Ikoyi office of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). The committee also spoke on the need to empower staff of NIS in the area of training and skills development, to enable them have mastery and competence in managing the database of NIS that is currently being managed by its technical partner, Continental Transfer Technique Limited (CONTEC).
The committee members, led by its Deputy Chairman, Patrick Aisowieren, representing Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde federal constituency in Edo State, made the observation when the committee visited the Ikoyi office of NIS as part of its oversight function.
The lawmakers said the need to empower NIS staff to handle the management of its database, became necessary in order to enhance national security as it relates to information storage dissemination from the country’s database.
Dissatisfied with the state of data capturing machines at NIS, the committee members said it would put its findings together and make recommendations on how best to manage both staff and facilities at the complex.
In an attempt to have further insight into the operations of NIS, committee members bombarded CONTEC with several questions relating to its operations and management of NIS office.
The Corporate Affairs Manager of CONTEC, Mr. Tunde Anyasanwo, said CONTEC, which is the technical partner of NIS, that is managing the data capturing and card issuance to expatriates living in Nigeria has trained several staff of NIS since 2002 and has empowered members of NIS to manage certain aspects of data capturing.
He however said the database, the servers were being managed by CONTEC alone.
Aggrieved that NIS staff are not allowed to manage the database and servers, which are the most sensitive parts of the data gathering and storage system, the law makers said since 2002, CONTEC would have been able to train enough NIS staff to manage the sensitive aspect of the business.
“What we have observed today is a far cry from what we expected of NIS and CONTEC. We observed that a big gap exists between NIS and COTEC, which is supposed to train NIS staff. There are lots of disagreements between both bodies and most of the equipment are not only obsolete, but insufficient for actual data capturing and biometric exercise,” Aisowieren said.
CONTEC is the technical partner to NIS, that is involved in data capturing and information storage as well as card issuance to expatriates living in Nigeria. It was contracted to handle the job and to train NIS on its operations, but the lawmakers observed that the training lacks in-depth technical skills that will make NIS manage the entire operations.