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Senate warns of imminent security threat from telcos

by OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja

February 10, 2017 | 7:49 am
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Senate has drawn the attention to a national security threat arising from recent activities of some telecoms firms operating in Nigeria.
At the budget defence session of the Ministry of Communications, the chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Gilbert Nnaji, alerted that “some of the telecoms companies have started relocating their Network Operation Centres (NOC) from Nigeria to India,” a situation he said had grave implication on national security.
He expressed concern that “these centres would be monitored by foreigners from outside the shores of Nigeria.”
While requesting the minister to urgently take necessary actions towards arresting the situation, the lawmaker further expressed serious concern over “indiscriminate sack of competent Nigerian employees at the expense of their foreign counterparts; contravention of expatriate quota, casualisation, intimidation and discrimination of indigenous staff” by these network providers.
Responding, Adebayo Shittu, minister of communication, assured the committee that he would critically review the issues and report back immediately to the committee.
He also said before the end of the first quarter of this year, the ministry would inaugurate the implementation committee for the transformation of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) – located in the six geo-political zones of the country – into Information and Communications Technology (ICT), University.
This, according to Shittu, is to start producing graduates and skilled manpower that will fit into the modern GSM industry and international market.
The total budget proposal was N18.75 billion  while N11.206 billion and N7.54 billion represented recurrent and capital expenditure, respectively.
According to him, the bill is a positive step in bringing an end to the many setbacks we may have experienced and would go a long way in providing the legal framework to bring about clarity in gathering and transmission of evidence or any other information between Nigeria and foreign government agencies in investigations of ongoing criminal matters, adding that the bill is one which targets the affairs of the working class citizenry, who cannot afford to waste their already limited resources in long drawn out court cases.
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by OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja

February 10, 2017 | 7:49 am
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