The Federal Government has allocated to the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, NIA over N4.8bn, to monitor phone calls, WhatsApp messages, text messages, among others
Of the figure, N1.93 billion was set aside for “Whatsapp Intercept Solution” and M2.93 billion for “Thuraya Interception Solution” – a communications system used for monitoring voice calls or call related information, SMS, data traffic, among others, PREMIUM TIMES reports.
This was contained in the supplementary budget approved by the National Assembly last Wednesday.
According to the report, the lawmakers had approved and passed a supplementary budget of N982.2 billion for the 2021 fiscal year, against the N895 billion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari, showing an increase of about N87 billion.
This budgetary allocation comes a month after the Federal Government had slammed a ban on Twitter on June 4.
There are concerns over Nigerian government attempt to limit freedom of expression in the country- an act many have described as a means of gagging the media.
Recall that Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had asked the House of Representatives to include internet broadcasting under the control of the NBC.
He had said all online and internet broadcasting entities should be included in section two (c) of the bill- which gives powers to the NBC “to receive, process and consider applications for the establishment, ownership of radio and television stations….
“I want to add that internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in the bill” Mr.Mohammed said at a public hearing.
Similar proposals are said to be contained in the Press Council Amendment bill. And the bills, if passed with the recommendation of Mr.Mohammed, online media entities will have to get approval from the NBC before operating.