Nigeria urged to curb forged documents amid invention of security ink

A ink to combat the problem of counterfeit passport printing and counterfeit currencies was recently discovered in India by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the National Physics Laboratory.

The ink, called bi-luminescent security ink, contains a new security feature to protect against duplicity. It consists of a “unique excitable double-emission luminescent pigment” developed based on the “concept of fluorescence and phosphorescence phenomena”.

A statement from the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology on the ink developed to reduce the high risk of illegal duplication of certain currency denominations in the country said it could be used to verify the authenticity of passports, documents government, tamper-evident labels, ID cards, among others.

The ink was said to “glow in red and green colors when illuminated by two different excitation sources at 254 nanometers and 365 nm, respectively. The ink was prepared in a 1 kg batch and given to Bank Note Press, Dewas, a unit of Security Printing Minting Corporation of India Ltd. New Delhi The ink is found to be comparable to the standards that are in use.

Currencies and documents printed with the ink appeared white under ambient light, revealing a red color when exposed to ultraviolet light and green when the ultraviolet light was turned off.

However, this invention does not negate the effectiveness of existing security features such as fibers, bright dots, and ultraviolet inks, among others, to authenticate and prevent document forgery. Rather, it serves as more protective layers to greatly reduce tampering while promoting authenticity.

Cases of documents and forged currency are not uncommon in Nigeria. From school certificates to other vital documents are falsified in the country.

The Nigerian passport, printed by Iris Smart Technologies Limited, is considered the best proof of identity and has 22 security features to ‘deter criminal intent’. The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, said in 2019 that the new passport would be integrated with the national identification number and biometric verification number to end multiple identities.

But a global ranking in March 2022, according to data from the International Air Transport Association, placed the Nigerian passport 98th out of 199 countries, with Gambia, Malawi and Niger ranking 75th, 76th and 90th respectively. The ranking is based on several indices. But the standards and regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization have ranked Nigerian passports in tandem with international best practices.

However, in April this year, reports indicated that a US court had sentenced a Nigerian prince, Sobanke Adereti, to 33 months in federal prison for passport fraud and attempted bank fraud.

Adereti’s check and passport presented during a bank account opening were detected as fake by the bank and led to his arrest.

Also, in 2021, the Nigeria News Agency reported that the Nigerian Embassy and Consulates General in the United States raised the alarm over a bogus website,, for passport applications. The site scrolled as a Nigerian international passport processing platform urged applicants to make payments through a payment portal, Zelle.

So far, several cases have been reported about the ease of obtaining a fake passport, a mis-issued real passport and/or an altered passport. The cases show that passport forgery continues to thrive and that criminals are finding ways to circumvent security features.

On a different note, the Central Bank of Nigeria website has stated that producing and spending counterfeit money is a form of fraud or counterfeiting. He described it as imitation currency produced without the legal sanction of the state or government.

The apex bank said in 2016 that it had been able to reduce the prevalence of counterfeit notes to “less than one percent (0.0014%) or 14 counterfeit coins out of a million banknotes” thanks to the application of ticket security features and public awareness.

Currently, the security features on naira banknotes are embossed printing, security thread and watermark. The CBN added that the serial number on each note turned green under ultraviolet light.

The advantage of bi-luminescent ink is its multiple ways to provide authenticity.

Nevertheless, bypassing security features on passports and forging currency is a call for more layers of security and sophistication.

Some players in the secure printing industry have proposed measures to improve the detection of counterfeit documents and counterfeit currencies.

Speaking about the invention, a branch manager of a digital printing company, Digital Dynamics Printing Company, Jimmy Etuk, said that biluminescent ink that could make detection easier under ambient light would also make duplicating easier.

He noted that “the mercury bulb that worked like ultraviolet light served as an X-ray to show the quality and color of the ink used to print money. It is generally used to detect counterfeit currency and help display the necessary watermark that should be present in the banknotes.

Etuk further said that the biluminescent security ink still needs a different means of detection than the mercury light currently used by Nigeria, adding that availability and affordability should be considered before being used. adopted.

“People still produce false notes because they cannot be detected simply by touch. The sensation will simply draw attention to the quality and whenever money is suspected, it must be passed to through UV light,” he added.

Additionally, an operations engineer from a secure financial and ID card printing company who spoke on condition of anonymity said that while ink adoption is possible in Nigeria, measures should be put in place to ensure local production and adoption.

The engineer added, “The ink is a new innovation that would be useful if there are devices available that would be used for detection, but would the device be readily available as accessible for testing?

“When trying to secure an environment and provide a solution to help minimize fraud or authenticate processes, you need to look at what works well in the environment and what is available to work in that system. If we bring the one from India, the structure in India might not be the same in Nigeria, so we need to apply our current situation to develop a solution to make it work effectively. We can start with theirs, but we have to introduce our own system.

He also said that an accurate and updated database was needed to ensure transparency and efficiency in document verification.

“For passports, we can still do an onboarding process since each passport has a unique ID, but do we have a solid and reliable database to check the details? First of all, we need to have a database of accurate data containing all of each user’s unique identifiers and information for a particular passport or document.Then we can now trace it to verify if the identifier information matches the carrier.Security features with appropriate devices that can access quickly to the database were needed,” said the engineer.

Regarding counterfeit money detection, he added that “a machine called D&D comes with chemical solutions built into the system to help detect counterfeit notes. Previously, notes just passed through blue light and many fake notes were passing through undetected because people found a way to authenticate them more like the original.

The engineer highlighted the need for an effective, updated and modified database, emphasizing the availability of reliable, efficient and durable detection devices.

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