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We May Use Body Odour For Voter Verification In Future Polls – INEC Chair, Yakubu

The Independent National Voting Commission INEC may employ body odor for voter verification in the near future as part of its expanding aim to integrate technology into Nigeria’s electoral process.

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

As politicians devised ways to circumvent the system, the electoral umpire went so far as to implement the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which checks both facials and fingerprints. INEC will also use the Automated Biometric Identification System ABIS as part of this development.

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However, addressing at the Chatham House in London on Tuesday, INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu praised the commission’s in-house engineers for designing the BVAS and for always coming up with novel ideas and designs to improve the election process.


According to him, a commission engineer offered using body odor to authenticate voters, but he had to ask them to wait.

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.

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“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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