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Is there a government by gunmen? – Part 3

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
02 December 2020   |   3:03 am
Reading through this rudimentary pattern of crimes of armed kidnapping for ransom and the incapacity and unwillingness of the Central Nigerian government to unravel the faces behind

[FILES] Central Nigerian government to unravel the faces behind these dastardly act of criminal violence on citizens which negate the primary obligation of government statutorily.

Reading through this rudimentary pattern of crimes of armed kidnapping for ransom and the incapacity and unwillingness of the Central Nigerian government to unravel the faces behind these dastardly act of criminal violence on citizens which negate the primary obligation of government statutorily, the question to be asked is why the nation’s crime-fighting mechanisms are still at the primitive stage whereas other jurisdictions have advanced with sophisticated technologies to combat crimes. 

From the University of SanDiego comes a fantastic piece by Erik Fritsvold, a Ph.D. holder on the ten innovative police technologies, and then you wonder what on earth has Nigeria been investing the humongous budgets on the police for over the past many years that Nigeria still can’t solve the rapidly expanding frontiers of crimes of kidnapping for ransom and other manifestations of violent criminality by criminal elements who now move about their daredevil activities as if they are running their own government of gunmen.  

Writing about the 10 Innovative Police Technologies, the academic cited aforementioned said “Technology is transforming police work in the 21st century — introducing new tools to fight crime and new categories of crime to fight. For example, while more and more police departments across the country are deploying drones as eyes in the sky, the FBI reports they are also being used for criminal activities.

As technology continues to reshape nearly every sector of society, law enforcement leaders now have an arsenal of high-tech systems and tools that are designed to enhance public safety, catch criminals, and save lives.

Also he says Eyes on Innovation – Police Technology ranging From drones and body-worn cameras to facial recognition software and artificial intelligence, here’s a list of 10 of the most important technologies that are equipping law enforcement agencies with new capabilities to protect and serve. On Facial Recognition Software, he says, .ne of the more controversial emerging police technologies involves the use of facial recognition software. 

He says a hypothetical example offered in an NBC News report illustrates the pros and cons: Picture a crowded street. Police are searching for a man believed to have committed a violent crime. To find him, they feed a photograph into a video surveillance network powered by artificial intelligence.

A camera, one of the thousands, scans the street, instantly analyzing the faces of everyone it sees. Then, an alert: The algorithms found a match with someone in the crowd. Officers rush to the scene and take him into custody.

But it turns out the guy isn’t the one they’re looking for ─ he just looked a lot like him. The machines were wrong.

He says too that though advanced forms of facial recognition offer “dazzling potential for crime prevention” (for example, tracking wanted criminals, missing people, and suspected terrorists), the report cautions that it is also “raising alarms” about the potential for mistakes and abuse since it could be used to secretly monitor the public.

On Biometrics he says that Police have been using fingerprints to identify people for over a century. Now, in addition to facial recognition and DNA, there is an ever-expanding array of biometric (and behavioral) characteristics to being utilized by law enforcement and the intelligence community. These include voice recognition, palmprints, wrist veins, iris recognition, gait analysis, and even heartbeats.

The FBI has developed a database called the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, “which provides the criminal justice community with the world’s largest and most efficient electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information.”

He wrote also that With comprehensive electronic databases now in place to more effectively use DNA and other biometric data in law enforcement, even the use of fingerprints to identify suspects has gone high-tech. For example, a CNBC report explains how police in London can now use a mobile INK (Identity Not Known) biometrics device to scan a suspect’s fingerprints and in many cases reveal their identity within 60 seconds.

The most intriguing of the ten, which we may not mention for want of space are artificial intelligence or Robots.  

Hear him: “Many law enforcement agencies are now using next-generation robotic cameras to deliver visual and audio surveillance of potential crime scenes that may be too dangerous or too hard for officers to reach.

Some of these devices are even “throwable” (up to 120 feet and capable of withstanding repeated 30-foot drops) — powered by an electric motor and equipped with high-tech wheels that enable it to move, climb and explore even the most challenging spaces while being operated wirelessly by a trained officer. Automaker Ford has filed a patent for a self-driving police car equipped with artificial intelligence and designed to catch violators of traffic laws or impaired drivers by transmitting information to human officers or carrying an optional passenger officer who could make arrests. Additional applications for using robots in police work, now and on the near horizon, include:
• Ever-expanding capabilities for robots to gather surveillance information, take police reports and provide communications in settings where human officers’ safety would be compromised

• China’s ongoing development of an “AnBot” robot to patrol banks, airports, and schools

• Patrolling tourist attractions with a touchscreen-equipped robot officer, as is now on duty in Dubai.”

Can we ask the government we elected through the ballots why they have abdicated their primary Constitutional duty of protecting us the citizens and have permitted the existence of another GOVERNMENT BY GUNMEN 

Can we ask why the Nigerian Police Force meant for crime prevention and law enforcement gas collapsed to an extent that the Nigerian army is now doing the job of police in addition to the constitutionally stated duties? 

Onwubiko is head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

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