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Nigeria’s Abuja, Lagos airports to pilot facial recognition from NEC to boost security

TSA head says US system opt-out is temporary
Nigeria’s Abuja, Lagos airports to pilot facial recognition from NEC to boost security

The federal Ministry of Finance of Nigeria has disclosed that talks are underway for the conclusion of agreements with Japan which will enable the deployment of facial recognition technology by NEC Corporation at some of the country’s airports, starting with a pilot at those of Abuja and Lagos.

At the end of talks which the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Clem Agba had with the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria Matsunaga Kazuyoshi and officials of NEC recently, the government official said deploying facial recognition in Nigeria’s airports will curb insecurity and other illegal activities, Punch reports.

The project is expected to be financed with grants secured through the planned cooperation agreement. NEC will first deploy the system at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internal Airport in Abuja for a trial, before eventually expanding it to airports in the cities of Enugu, Kano and Port Harcourt.

Agba called on the support and collaboration of shareholders for the project which he said started with consultations back in January in the Japanese capital Tokyo.

He said he believes the system “would further strengthen the security of our people and the country as a whole” as “this project was conceived in view of several security concerns and the need to nip these growing concerns in the bud.”

Before the project implementation begins, Agba said a site visit would be conducted by a joint team.

The Japanese Ambassador is also quoted as hailing the project, saying it will go a long way in bolstering Nigeria’s airport architecture and encourage travel to and investment in the country.

“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,” said Kazuyohsi as reported by Punch.

In the past, experts in the aviation industry in Nigeria have suggested the use of biometrics technology to improve security at the country’s airports.

Biometrics boost airport security, will become mandatory, says TSA

In an airports security related story, the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) David Pekoske has underscored the use of facial recognition technology as one of the best ways of enhancing airport security and accelerating passenger checks at airports across the United States.

Speaking at a panel which was themed on improving airport security, Pekoske said the federal agency’s advanced technology including biometrics enables the screening of around 2.4 million persons at airports in the U.S. daily, as reports The Dallas Morning News.

The tech deployment, according to the TSA chief, means lesser need for deployment of personnel.

For now, biometrics screening for passengers by the TSA is optional as they can out of any stage they are uncomfortable with. The official mentioned however that this will not be the case eventually.

He added that their technology is being improved upon for greater efficiency.

“We’re upgrading our camera systems all the time, upgrading our lighting systems, upgrading our algorithms, so that we are using the very most advanced algorithms and technology we possibly can. With the technology we’ve already deployed, we know we don’t have to increase the size of our workforce,” said Pekoske.

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