Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Insecurity: Fed Govt Introduces Machine Readable Cards at Airports

The Federal Government has introduced machine-readable cards at the country’s five international airports for passengers.
The airport are in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Abuja and Port-Harcourt.
It said the measure was intended to create a database for the movement of persons across borders in the face of challenges.

The Comptroller-General of the Nigerian  Immigration Services (NIS), David Paradang,  said  at the launch of the cards at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, last weekend, that the cards would ensure accurate data on movement, boost security profiling, and ensure easy facilitation of passengers at the airports.

He said it took the organisation  some time with its partners to design the cards, which  would ensure Nigeria joins other global players in deploying new technology for passenger facilitation at airports.
He said the number of international migrants and  security threats have increased over the years, hence, the need for the cards.
Paradang added that with the development, Nigeria had responded to emerging trends, adding that for the cards to remain relevant, NIS has to look for experts who are proficient in French and Spanish languages.
He said: “The need to accurate data of foreigners coming into the country and those going out, easy analysis of data, easy facilitation and sharing of data among sister agency.”
He said the cards would also make simultaneous scanning of passengers possible, and could attract tourists and business organisations into the country.

Paradang said:  “The machine readable cards are completely different in general from what we used to have before. It was quite a long list, scan them and make facilitation very difficult. The key issue about the current cards is to have facilitation matched with security and the machine readable passports are working with the machine readable cards .

“It makes it faster for people to move through the airport processes and it can generate information that would be used and shared with all security agencies. “Facilitation and security now marry very seamlessly and the question of procurement is not an issue at all because we as immigration service are very key in attracting tourism and investment into this country. We want as many people as possible to choose Nigeria  and that would make our airport faster in processing passengers and in getting the right information faster. More people will like to come to Nigeria.”

He noted that all NIS staff have been adequately trained on the new system, maintaining that the migration to the latest technology began as early as 2007.
Commenting on the cards, the Assistant Comptroller-General, NIS, Zone A, Lagos, Mr. Nuhu Ibrahim, said  the cards were designed to complement operations at borders and enhance security.
He explained that the service would continue to take advantage of new technology in order to boost security points across the country.

The Nation Newspaper