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INEC ups the tempo, mulls body odour for voter verification


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is considering the technology of using body odour for voter verification in the future as part of its earnest desire to integrate technology into Nigeria’s electoral process

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the disclosure while speaking on Tuesday at the Chatham House in London.

Prof. Yakubu noted that, amongst other breakthroughs, the commission’s in-house engineers designed the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS), as well as other innovative ideas and designs to enhance the electoral process.

According to him, an engineer at the commission proposed using body odour technology to verify voters, but he asked them to wait for a while.

Yakubu said: “The clean-up of the register was painstakingly conducted by the commission because of the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS).

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, speaking at Chatham House, London, Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, speaking at Chatham House, London, Tuesday, January 17, 2023

“Before now, the commission used AFIS [Automated Facial Identification System], the fingerprint identification system.

“But this time around, we used the ABIS, meaning both fingerprint and facial, and that is what we are also using to accredit voters on election day.

“All these innovations were all the work of INEC’s own in-house engineers in the commission.

“The machines may have been fabricated outside the country, but the design of the machines were done by our own engineers in-house.

“In fact, one of them said they were going to introduce a new biometric using body odour.

“I said, ‘please, not yet. Let’s make haste slowly’. But when he explained it to me, it sounded logical.

“He said, ‘Don’t laugh, Chairman, because I said body odour; it is also biometric’.

“He asked, ‘How does your dog recognise you? It is from your body odour and that is why if another person walks into the house it barks, but when you move into the house, it wags its tail because it recognises your body odour’.

“I said, ‘but for elections let’s wait, not now’.”

It could be recalled that a couple of years ago, voters were verified by simply looking at their paper cards and checking the voter register.

The game changer came in 2012 when INEC introduced the Smart Card Readers (SCR) to verify the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), which contained the facials of voters.

The commission will later introduce AFIS to clean up the voter register. BVAS was further introduced to verify both the facials and the fingerprints. Read more.


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