The Federal Government and the International Organisation for Migration, a United Nations agency, have opened a data analysis system at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Federal Government, through the Nigeria Immigration Service, opened the new Migration Information and Data Analysis System to enable immigration and border officials to process travellers more rapidly and professionally as well as make their border-crossing experience safer and more humane.
The MIDAS system, developed by the IOM, is expected to help the Federal Government to better understand mobility patterns through its statistical information.
In a statement by the IOM on Friday, the NIS Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede, was quoted as saying that the system would ensure that those crossing Nigerian borders did not pose threats to national and international security.
According to the IOM, MIDAS enables countries to more effectively monitor those entering and exiting their territory by land, air and sea while providing a sound statistical basis for migration policy-related planning.
The agency said, “To date, the project represents the largest deployment of MIDAS at any airport globally and it will be implemented in four other Nigerian airports welcoming travellers in Lagos, Enugu, Kano and Port Harcourt.
“This marks a breakthrough for Nigeria which hopes to establish one of the world’s largest MIDAS data networks.”
Ambassador-at-large for Migration of the Government of Denmark, Nicolai Ruge, was quoted as saying that MIDAS would improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Nigeria’s air border management by strengthening NIS’ ability to manage and facilitate cross-border movements.
The agency said the project ‘Enhancing Air Border Data Systems in Nigeria’ was supported by the government of Denmark while MIDAS in Nigeria had also been supported by other donors such as the governments of Germany, Japan, Norway and Switzerland as well as the European Union.
The IOM said the nationwide system would enable real-time data synchronisation between the airports and the NIS headquarters in Abuja to effectively monitor those entering and exiting through the country’s air borders.
It added that the system could send automatic queries to INTERPOL databases and relevant watch lists in order to detect travel documents and individuals potentially linked to transnational organised crime, including human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
The IOM Senior Programme Manager, Ivanka Spadina, said the installation of the system was the beginning of strengthening the borders.
“With the support of the international community, we will continue investing in strengthening legal, technical and operational capacities of Nigerian authorities in the area of border management in line with international standards and good practices,” Spadina said.