Sunday, August 1, 2021

National Assembly approves N4.87billion for NIA to monitor WhatsApp calls, messages, others

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The National Intelligence Agency has got a N4.87bn budget to track, intercept and monitor calls and messages on mobile devices, including Thuraya and WhatsApp.

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According to a report by Punch, the amount is part of the augmented N895.8bn supplementary budget submitted by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), last month and approved by both chambers of the National Assembly last week.

The budget according to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, is meant to procure equipment for the military and to fight further spread of COVID-19.

Details of the supplementary budget obtained by Punch revealed that the NIA would spend N2,938,650,000 on the Thuraya interception solution, while the WhatsApp interception solution would gulp N1,931,700,000.

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Apart from this, the NIA got additional N129m to enable its personnel embark on foreign training.

The Defence Intelligence Agency, on its part, got a capital vote of N16.8bn to provide infrastructure, cyber intelligence centre/laboratory, independent lawful intercept platform (voice and advanced data monitoring) and tactical mobile geological platform.

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