Solar Powered Data Systems to Bolster Border Management in Nigeria
Until 2016, Nigeria’s land and sea borders had been without data systems commonly used for inspecting travel documents, conducting automated security checks, and tracking movements in and out of the country.
The UN Migration Agency (IOM), working in close cooperation with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), is providing its border data system MIDAS (Migration Information and Data Analysis System), with accompanying solar power systems, to address these issues.
Throughout May, with the support of the Government of Japan, IOM is training approximately 50 NIS officers from across the country under the project, Enhancing Land Border Control in Nigeria.
Training will continue in June at each of four border posts where MIDAS will be installed: Calabar Sea Port, Kongolum, Maigateri and Oron Sea Port. IOM specialists from Nigeria, Geneva and Dakar are supporting the training, alongside experienced co-trainers from NIS.IOM initiated MIDAS in Nigeria in 2016 with support from the European Union.
MIDAS enables immigration officers to collect, process and store information from travellers electronically – including biometric data. This will bring the total number of Nigeria land and sea borders covered to nine, plus the NIS headquarters and three State Commands. Further expansion of MIDAS is planned for the near future.
The accompanying solar power systems are substantial and should last 12 years with no major servicing. Each has a carbon offset equal to two cars being taken off the road for one year or planting 600 trees, and will play an increasingly important role in the “greening” of Nigerian Government operations.
Mohammed Babandede, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), lauded the expansion of MIDAS equipment and training. “This training will broaden the horizon of [our] officers in facilitating regular migration and enhancing their effectiveness at border management,” he said at the first training in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, last week.
“This initiative will help normalize border procedures in Nigeria, and supports NIS in ensuring well-documented and orderly migration into and out of the country, toward the goals of better facilitation of regional migration, better protection of migrants’ rights, and improved border security. At the same time, the solar power systems make an important contribution to carbon offset in government operations,” said Charles Harns, who runs the border management project at IOM Nigeria.