From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

The Federal Government has said it would  install facial recognition technology at major airports in Nigeria.

Speaking when he hosted Japanese Ambassador to  Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi and a team from NEC Corporation of Japan in his office, in Abuja, Minister of  State , Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanada Agba confirmed that the airports would soon be operating an automatic security measures that would incorporate the use of facial recognition technology in order to improve security around airports and easily detect impostors.

Agba said that the technology would be deployed to 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 Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano airports.

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  for necessary assessments.

“I am happy that the series of meetings, which began in January this year in Tokyo on this project, aimed at recognising faces of persons who pass through our international airports has started to yield result.  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” he said.

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The minister expressed his readiness and determination to leave a worthy legacy that would be inherited by the next administration in the area of a more secured country, just as he pleaded for the understanding and co-operation of all relevant stakeholders that would make the proposal a reality, assuring that facial recognition technology had proven to be very effective globally, in securing airports.

Earlier  in  his presentation on the project, the ambassador,  His Excellency, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi had  explained that the use of advanced technology like the facial recognition system 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 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, neo face watch logging in, live view, widgets and dashboard, face search and image manager and basic configuration, among others, the ambassador assured that it was practically impossible to compromise security issues with the use of  facial recognition technology.

Kazuyoshi called on the Nigerian police  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 at  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.