Wanted Lebanese-born Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) cleric, Ahmad Al-Assir, was able to secure Nigerian visa, using fake Pakistani passport because the country’s embassies do not employ the technology that capture applicants’ biometric data, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revealed.

Al-Assir, who was arrested last week in Lebanon as he attempted travelling to Nigeria via Cairo, Egypt under a disguise as Pakistani national would have been detected if the technology is employed by the Nigerian embassy in Beirut, the unnamed official claimed.

The Presidency had shortly after the incident, which could have gained the radical cleric on wanted list of many countries access to Nigeria, ordered full investigation into the circumstances surrounding his visa procurement.

According to experts, biometrics cover a variety of unique identifiable attributes of people including fingerprint, iris print, hand, face, voice, gait or signatures, and are used for identification and authentication. Such machine could have blown open Al-Assir’s disguise.

The foreign affairs official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said with the surge of security breaches and religious fundamentalism, biometric capturing has become a norm yet, Nigeria, currently battling Boko Haram insurgency, has failed to utilise the technology. “While the measure tends to pre-empt influx of terrorists instead they (sic) depend on the use of stop list for potential visa applicants,” the official said.

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)


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