INEC to introduce a new biometric using body odour For Voter Verification In Future Polls – Yakubu

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC may use body odor for voter verification in the near future as part of its growing desire to integrate technology into Nigeria’s electoral process according to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

Voters were once verified simply by looking at their paper ballots and checking the voter register. However, in 2012, INEC introduced Smart Card Readers SCR to verify the Permanent Voter Cards PVCs, which contained voters’ facials. During this time, INEC also used the Automated Facial Identification System (AFIS) to clean up the voter rolls.

As politicians developed ways of subverting the procedure, the electoral umpire went a step further to introduce the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS which verifies both the facials and the fingerprints. This development also entails INEC using the Automated Biometric Identification System ABIS.

However, speaking on Tuesday at the Chatham House in London, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu hailed the commission’s in-house engineers for the design of the BVAS and for always coming up with innovative ideas and designs to enhance the electoral process.

According to him, an engineer at the commission had proposed using body odour to verify voters but that he had to ask them to tarry awhile.

Yakubu said; “The clean up of the register was painstakingly conducted by the commission because of the Automated Biometric Identification System ABIS. Before now, the commission used the AFIS, 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 is also biometric. He said, how does your dog recognize you? It is from your body odour and that is why if another person walks into the house it barks, when you move into the house, it wags its tail because it recognizes your body odour. I said, ‘but for elections let’s wait, not now’.”

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