Nigeria deploying biometrics to prevent manipulation in upcoming population census
An official of Nigeria’s National Population Commission (NPC) has disclosed that advanced digital technology, including biometrics, will be used in the country’s upcoming population and housing census planned for 2023.
Census are particularly politically sensitive in Nigeria as a state’s population size determines its influence federally and entitlement to resources.
National newspaper Punch quotes the NPC Commissioner for Ekiti State, Deji Ajayi, as saying during a recent press conference that the objective of employing biometric technology is to prevent unscrupulous politicians and other ill-intentioned officials from manipulating or skewing the census results.
Ajayi also said there are plans to recruit at least one million personnel for the exercise, and the recruitment process will be done electronically so as to avoid paperwork and other logistical challenges that come with huge recruitment procedures.
A trial census will be conducted in Ekiti and across the country, and digital technology will be used just as it will be during the main activity next year.
“Technology is open to manipulation, but NPC has gone a step higher by having an updated technological innovation that can prevent multiple registrations. The biometric technology will capture your face and fingerprints. This will go to the server and any similar information supplied will be noticed and expunged from the data immediately,” Ajayi said during the presser, as quoted by Punch.
According to the official, it will be the first time Nigeria will go digital with its national population census activity, which he said, is vital for national planning in terms of formulation of policy, be it on youth, education, and healthcare.
Meanwhile, apart from Ekiti, there is also a planned trial census in nine Local Government Areas of Lagos State, as well as in some selected LGAs across the 36 states of the federation.
Per a different report by Punch, census field staff have already received necessary training for the biometric process which has been scheduled to run from 11 to 24 July, 2022 in Lagos.
NPC authorities say with the deployment of technology for the census, they will be able to avoid the mistakes they have made with past censuses. They add that digital technology will ensure quality and accurate data.