The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revealed the rationale behind the visa issued to the Lebanese Sunni Muslim extremist, Ahmad Al-Assir who was arrested while
attempting to enter Nigeria via Egypt.
[Photo: Lebanese Sunni Muslim terrorist, Ahmad Al-Assir]
According to an official of the ministry who spoke to Premium Times, lack of facilities to captures applicants’ biometrics was the bedevilling factor.
Biometrics cover a diversity of unique identifiable attributes of people comprising fingerprint, iris, hand, face, voice, gait or signatures, and are used for proof of identity and verification.
The anonymous source said that with the surge of insecurity and terrorism bedevilling the world at large, biometric taking has become necessary.
However, Nigeria has failed to apply the technology albeit an enduring fierce battle with Boko Haram, a resilient Islamic terrorist sect that has slain thousands.
He said that while the measure tends to pre-empt influx of terrorists, they depend on the use of stop list for potential visa applicants.
“If we have a bank for storing the number of personal data which should be distributed to all our embassies; the prevailing spate of insecurity in the globe which has gone beyond just the antiquated stop list method would be checkmated,” he said.
The foreign affairs official disclosed that the obsolete list which Nigerian embassies rely on are not even supported with photographs or fingerprints.
He said Nigerian consular officers do not adequately check the background on all visa requirements as no applicant appears for oral interview with visas even issued in applicant’s absence.
The source questioned why visa applications go through a third party and why Nigerian embassies seldom validate addresses and telephone number(s) of the person inviting the visa applicant.
He suggested that the federal government take steps to stop the policy of the issuance of visa within 48 hours and make room for efficiency technology.
In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari has demanded a probe into how the wanted terrorist was able to receive the visa.
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