The synching of National Identity Number (NIN) with Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) does not provide absolute guarantee that kidnappers, bandits, cattle rustlers and killer herders will be apprehended, experts said at the weekend in Lagos.
The experts, who spoke against the backdrop of rising insecurity in the country and the seeming failure of NIN and SIM to track down the criminals, said a combination of technology, intelligence and holistic collaboration among the security agencies would do the magic.
The President, Nigerian Computer Society (NCS), Prof Adesina Sodiya, said it is obvious that the NIN-SIM information is not enough to track down criminals, especially those engaged in kidnap-for-ransom as they use the telephone number of the captives to communicate with the family members of their victims.
He said the Federal Government should move further to extend biometric information gathering of the citizens to cover voice recognition along with intelligence gathering and satellite technology to track the criminal elements.
Sodiya recalled that aside cash payment to the kidnappers, parents of the kidnapped students of Greenfield University in Kaduna, were also asked to buy bikes.
He said in very sane climes, microchips would have been installed on the bikes to facilitate information gathering about the location of the kidnappers.
He said the group has prepared a blueprint which will be handed over to the Federal Government soon.
The former president, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusol Teniola, said the difficulty faced by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the security agencies in using NIN-SIM to track down criminal elements in the country is understandable.
He said the efficacy of using telephone numbers to track criminals was on the front burner of a conversation in 2019.
Teniola who is the Nigeria National Coordinator, Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), said people who were bent on committing criminal activities would find a way to circumvent the system put in place by state actors, adding that in other countries, technology tools are being used to track down criminals.
Like Prof Sodiya, Teniola said satellite technology should be deployed along side location based service (LBS) which can monitor the signal of the kidnappers’ phone if they have one in close proximity with the victims. He also stressed the place of intelligence and the need to do a lot of data analytics to correlate the available data. He said the criminal elements too could use SIM cards bought from neighbouring countries, roam same to carry out their nefarious activities without leaving any signature through which they could be traced behind.
“When you have a SIM linked to a NIN, it is the information that is in the hands of the intelligence community that can be used to solve a crime. It does not solve a crime. It is recognized that in other countries, other pieces of technology, in addition to this, are used to identify what happened during criminal activities.
“In my expert opinion, there should be the use of satellite imaging in addition to the cell site information. It requires not only the technology but also data analytics. It requires the human knowledge and expertise to be able to piece this information together in very quick manner to resolve kidnapping in an expedient way.
“If you have all the data presented to you, you still need to corroborate and correlate the information to identify those that are involved in criminal activity. So if the information is not being provided by the criminals in terms of registering NIN, how do you know who these criminals are?
“You can see we need more infrastructure; we need satellite imaging; we need CCTvs; we need other forms of technology combined holistically to be able to solve this problem. The NIM-SIM assists but does not solve the problem on its own,” Teniola said.