The Federal Government has indicated plans to install facial recognition technology at major airports in the country.
The Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, made this known on Tuesday when he hosted the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, and a team from NEC Corporation, an information technology company, in Abuja.
He stated that the technology, which will be deployed through grant agreements between the Nigerian Government and the Japanese counterpart, would easily detect impostors and improve security at airports.
He also pleaded for the cooperation of all relevant stakeholders, assuring that facial recognition had proved to be very effective globally, in securing airports.
According to a statement signed by the Finance ministry’s Information Officer, Olude Omolade, the minister promised to ensure the deployment of the gadgets at the Lagos and Abuja international airports in the pilot phase before the project will be extended to Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano airports.
Agba said: “I am happy that the series of meetings, which began in January this year in Tokyo on this project, aimed at recognizing the faces of persons who pass through our international airports have started 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 and the need to nip these growing concerns in the bud”.
The minister further disclosed that as part of the prerequisites for the installation procedure, he would be leading the ambassador and the team on a site survey visit to Lagos and Abuja airports for necessary assessments.
Speaking during his welcome address, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, explained that the use of advanced technology would ensure that security threats were reduced in and around Nigerian 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 a similar project implemented in Nairobi, Kenya and how the project changed Kenya’s security narratives.
“In all, we want to holistically support the 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.
Stakeholders present during the meeting include officials of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, the Nigerian Immigration Service and the Nigerian Police.