FG to install Facial Recognition Technology at Nigerian Airports

Honorable Minister of State , Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba,(c) flanged on his left by the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Matsunaga Kazuyoshi and the Permanent Secretary, Budget and National Planning, Engr. Nebeolisa Anako, and other dignitaries, during the meeting on facial recognition project, in Abuja.

The Federal Government is set to install facial recognition technology at major Airports in Nigeria.

This was made known by the Minister of  State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, on Monday, when he hosted the Japanese Ambassador in Nigeria, H.E Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, and a team from NEC Corporation of Japan in his office, at Abuja.

He affirmed that the airports would soon be operating automatic security measures that would incorporate the use of Facial Recognition Technology in order to improve security around Airports and also easily detect impostors.

Agba said that the Technology would be deployed in Airports through grant agreements between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Japanese Government with a focus on Lagos and Abuja International Airports in the pilot phase before the project would be extended to airports like Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano.

The Minister disclosed that as part of the pre-requisites for the processing of the Facial Recognition Technology, he would be leading the Ambassador and the team on a site survey visit to Lagos and Abuja Airports on Tuesday 21st and Thursday, 23rd of March 2023 respectively for necessary assessments.

Agba said: “I am happy that the series of meetings, which began in January this year in Tokyo on this project, aimed at recognizing faces of persons who pass through our international airports has begun to yield results.

“This, we believe, would further strengthen the security of our people and the country as a whole. This project was conceived in view of several security concerns among Nigerians and the need to nip these growing concerns in the bud.”

The Minister expressed the readiness and determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to leave a worthy legacy that would be inherited by the next administration in the area of a more secure country.

He pleaded for the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders that would make the proposal a reality, assuring that Facial Recognition Technology had proven to be very effective globally, in securing Airports.

In his presentation on the project, the Ambassador explained that the use of advanced technology like the facial recognition system would ensure that security threats were reduced in and around Nigeria Airports.

The initiative, he said, would further strengthen the country’s security architecture and encourage more investment opportunities in different sectors of Nigeria’s economy, citing the instance of similar project implemented in Nairobi, Kenya and how the project changed Kenya’s security narratives.

He stated that the security solution works through image capturing techniques, NeoFace Watch Logging in, live view, widgets and dashboard, face Search and image manager and basic configuration, among others.

The ambassador assured stakeholders that it was practically impossible to compromise security issues with the use of  Facial Recognition Technology.

Kazuyoshi called on the Nigeria Police force and the country’s immigration services to embrace the initiative as it would automate most of their operations and ease day-to-day security checks in the Airports.

“In all, we want to holistically support Nigerian Government to improve security, social cohesion and promote better migration management through the use of technology and installation of CCTV Cameras at strategic places.”, the Japanese Ambassador added.

Other Stakeholders present at the demonstration of how the technology works, included: the Deputy Comptroller General, Board Management, Nigeria Immigration Services, Mohammed Aminu Mohammed, the MD/ NEC West Africa, Mr Louw Cilliers, the Director of Nigeria Cyber Crime (NCC) of the Nigerian Police, DCP Henry Uche Ifeanyi, and Mr Badejo from FAAN.