Taylor & Francis Group
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Dilemmas of ‘biometric nationality’: migration control, biometric ID technology and political mobilisation of migrants in West Africa

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-26, 10:00 authored by Victor Chidubem Iwuoha, Martin Doevenspeck

This article interrogates the use of biometric ID technology to facilitate political mobilisation of migrants for election purposes in West Africa. We contribute to the migration instrumentalisation (MI) debate by fishing out four structures that facilitate MI for election purposes, namely: regional migration regimes; state identity politics/policies; monetary inducement; and biometric ID technology. Based on a qualitative in-depth study of migrants from Chad, Niger, Benin, Cameroon and Togo in Nigeria, we reveal how biometric ID technology has been instrumentalised to delegitimise the state; and how migrants’ strategies/demand for political belonging – via ‘biometric nationality’ – intersect with elite manipulations.


This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft [grant number EXC 2052/1-390713894].