Nigerian officials are planning to use biometric technology in an upcoming national census, according to a Commissioner from the state of Ekiti.
Speaking at a recent press conference, Commissioner Deji Ajayi explained that the National Population Commission will involve over a million Nigerians in the 2023 census. And it will be an entirely digital process, with participants recruited online. Naturally, that leads to some questions about the integrity of the results, but the Commissioner explained that biometric tech will be used to ensure that every participant is a unique and real individual.
“Technology is open to manipulation, but NPC has gone a step higher by having an updated technological innovation that can prevent multiple registrations,” Commissioner Ajayi explained. “The biometric technology will capture your face and fingerprints and goes to the server and any similar information supplied will be noticed and expunged from the data immediately.”
It’s the latest indication of the Nigerian government’s enthusiasm for biometric tech, arriving shortly after the news that authorities in the state of Abia were planning to launch a biometric registration system for commercial drivers. Biometrics have also been used for the distribution of military pensions and in the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, and the country has been working on a biometric national ID program since 2019.
As for the National Population Commission’s technology partner or partners, it’s unclear who will provide the biometric technology to be used in the census project. BIO-key and NEXT Biometrics have both provisioned fingerprint sensors for projects in the country this year, and FacePhi provided facial recognition for the military pension project last year.
Nigeria’s ambitious census project will offer a number of benefits, with Commissioner Ajayi noting that the statistics will help government authorities to conduct appropriate policy planning for youth and students, for the elderly, and for the provision of healthcare services. A trial census is planned for the towns of Ado, Emure, Iro, Ijero, Ikole, Iworoko, Ise, Ikun, and Omuo Ekiti.
July 5, 2022 – by Alex Perala