Nigeria to require face, fingerprint biometrics for Anambra State election
A system that will combine fingerprint and face biometrics for identity verification will be required to verify voters during Governorship elections in Nigeria’s Anambra State in November, local newspaper Vanguard reports.
The outlet attributes this disclosure to the Chairman of the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Yakubu Mahmood, who had a recent meeting with political party representatives in the capital Abuja ahead of the election.
Speaking at the meeting, Mahmood said the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) will be used at polls with the new biometric system, dubbed Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). BVAS includes functionalities of both fingerprint authentication previously performed through the Smart Card Reader (SCR), which is known to have failed in the past, and facial recognition, which was performed with the Z-Pad tablet. Scans for verification with both biometric modalities will now be performed with the IVED.
Political parties have often protested that SCR failures in previous elections have led to voting by individuals with other people’s Permanent Voter Card (PVC) because, in cases of biometric authentication failure, INEC has resorted to using ‘incident forms’ to accredit card holders, without being sure of their real identity.
With the new system including face biometrics now being implemented for voter accreditation, the INEC boss believes more credible elections are guaranteed.
The biometric system, he said, will be deployed on a trial basis this weekend for a State Assembly by-election in the State of Delta. However, it is however already being used for the Continuous Voter Registration process which is ongoing in the country.
Mahmood has also insisted that no PVC holder will be allowed to vote without successfully going through either the fingerprint or facial recognition identity verification process during the said polls.
“We believe that this multi-layer process will eliminate the possibility of voting by identity theft using another person’s PVC. Where the voter fails both the fingerprint and facial authentication, he/she will not be allowed to vote. In other words, no electronic authentication, no voting,” Vanguard quoted Mahmood as saying.
He also expressed optimism about the new system: “We are convinced that the new machine is robust enough to further guarantee the credibility of voter authentication and transparent management of results during elections.”
Nigeria is also looking forward to introducing some digital aspects to its electoral process in preparation for the 2023 general polls concerns about availability of funds linger.