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Nigeria uses drone and emerging tech for crime monitoring: Jerry Akubo, Technology Against Crime Initiative

If Nigeria does not adopt these technologies at the earliest, then the bad guys will outpace us, says Jerry Innocent Akubo, National Technical Officer and Drone Expert, INTERPOL NCB, Abuja.
He adds that the President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Service Chiefs of the Country and top traditional rulers met in a high level security meeting to declare that CCTV and Drones will be massively acquired and integrated into the internal security architecture. Trained by INTERPOL and FBI, Akubo is also a maritime expert and Founder of Technology Against Crime Initiative, Africa, an International NGO.

Jerry Innocent Akubo

Tell us a little about your job profile. Do you use geospatial technology in your line of work?

Of course, my work pertains to technology and its integration into everyday workflow for Law Enforcement Agencies. Most of what I evangelize is the use of geospatial technology for Law Enforcement Agencies which in other words could be referred to as remote sensing technology using satellites, Innovative aerial surveillance (UAVs or Drones) and building Predictive Intelligence Platform to detect crime and criminalities. 

On the other hand, I founded Technology Against Crime, Africa – NGO in 2016, with the sole aim of  conducting original, in-depth, and inquiry-driven research, aimed at furnishing internal security stakeholders, policy makers and the public with the resources to engage in a robust geospatial technology development to address opportunities and challenges emerging technology pose to African sub-region.

How do you use satellite imagery?

Essentially, our deployment of satelite vary depending on the type of situation that we are faced with. In many cases of usablility, it is usually deployed where we have very difficult terrain or remote inaccessible locations. In which case, we employ the use of Synthetic Apature Radar (SAR), a special Satelite sensor which can provide day and night coverage and eliminate any obstruction by cloud to swipe over the area of interest for image acquisition to include Longitude, Latitude, timestamp and occurrence depending on the date searched for on the satelite index platform.  In some cases considering satelite inavailability due to low internet bandwidth to process, we will also deploy drone system to map the area to give us a first hand aerial view, mapping and topology of the environs be it maritime, land or forest. We have a dedicated team doing a mix of UAV / drones and satellites to get the required information.

Do you use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

Absolutely, now is the time for Africa to exploit the real world power of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning. Augmented operations like virtual shooting range is reducing costs and making cops smarter at arms handling.  Nigeria Law Enforcment Agencies are gradually embracing  Artificial Intelligence, but it’s still at a nascent stage. It is a part of my recommendations as evangelized by my NGO, Technology Against Crime, Africa for Law Enforcement Agencies to set up a pioneering team that will proactively manage the effect of of each new initiative on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning.   

Do you encounter any challenges in technology adoption?

Challenges will always be there, undoubtedly. But you have to see how to overcome them. The technology is here to stay, irrespective of the quantum of challenges, which is quite normal for law enforcement agents. Essentially, from my background as a researcher and a proponent of the school of hard knocks who is futurist oriented, I always advocates for quick adoption of emerging technology because if the Law Enforcers don’t, then the bad guys will outpace you. So why don’t you force yourself into adopting it so you can be ahead of the bad guys whom you are trying to checkmate.  

What are your thoughts on cybercrime, and do you think these technologies can help in preventing them?

 Absolutely. Prevention of cybercrime is only possible with the help of advanced technology like predictive intelligence platform, ibm i2 analyst notebook, digital forensic tools to aid well trained investigators to be able to keep track of all happenings and trends on all social media platforms as over 90 percent of internet enabled crime is discussed or harnessed over the various social media platforms like twitter, YouTube live, facebook live, telegram, etc.  The use of this technology is as evident as withnessed in the Cybercrime Team at the INTERPOL National Central Bureau Abuja and the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria whom are the majors arms saddled with investigating and curtailing cyber criminalities in Nigeria.

You gave a presentation on marine pollution crime, could you elaborate on it? 

In the next ten minutes, while reading this interview, close to 40,000 tonnes of plastic debris, industrial garbage and urban sewages will find their way into the ocean no doubt, either through direct or indirect human activities. These phenomenon is gradually turning our ocean into a graveyard. Oil spill is just one incident, tanker attacks, oil platforms incidents are all disasters in the making. Emission from ships, oil vessels and fossil is making the water system toxic.

So essentially, marine pollution is at the core in terms of a crime aspect in the maritime domain which is mostly being ignored. Conventional ways of controlling marine pollution have been ineffective, that’s why we have made a proposal to use drones with special sensors. We have sensors for emission check, oil spill check, illegal activities detection, etc that give timely information that could keep the sea safe once again.

Should the Nigerian Police Force acquire drones and sensors, and what is the overall status of the drone industry in Nigeria?

Yes, the Nigeria Police Force do not only need to acquire drone but integrate it with the roubust Command and Control Center recently built and commissioned by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Adamu Mohammed who is a seasoned International Police Officer that has served under the INTERPOL Executive Committee to attain the enviable position of INTERPOL Vice President for Africa, after which he served as the Head of the Most Prestigious institute in Nigeria, (Commandant National Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, NIPSS Jos) before attaining the apex of his career as the Inspector General of Police, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Federal Government should in all ramification support the IGP in his quest to setup a Roubust and Central Drone Platform that will integrate into the existing intelligence gathering architcture of the Nigeria Police Force to help curb the recent uprising of quasi groups, kidnappers, nefarious criminals, etc.

How soon Nigeria Police can adopt it is something that only the policymakers can comment on because it is incumbent upon them to bring out reforms as publicized in all the dailies and work on implementation.

Technology Against Crime Africa, NGO prides itself as one of the top 10 NGO in the world tht has capabilities to setup platform to capture data and analytics  from the orbits.  Our Motto goes thus: The best form of Defense is Intelligence: We make it Fly.

Also Read: What are popular uses of drones?