May 30, 2013
The House ordered an investigation of the contract award.
The House of Representatives has ordered the immediate suspension of the $40 million (N6 billion) internet surveillance contract awarded secretly by the Nigerian government to an Israeli firm.
A house resolution approved Thursday, said no further action should be taken on the controversial spy project, which has sparked national fury, until three house committees complete an investigation in three weeks.
The clandestine project, exposed by PREMIUM TIMES, was awarded by the Jonathan administration to Elbit Systems, an Israeli Info tech firm, to spy on millions of Nigerian internet users. It is seen as part of the government’s widened clampdown on free media, and unrestrained use of the internet to attack government officials and policies.
But the authorities, which have not officially commented on the contract despite its extensive attention, passed the project off as an intelligence gathering effort in the face of growing insecurity and fundamentalist threat.
In a motion initiated by Ibrahim Gusau, the House said the project will infringe on the privacy of Nigerians and argued that the so-called intelligence gathering, “may not be the solution” to the nation’s security troubles.
The House also questioned the secrecy surrounding the contract award, which lawmakers agreed violated federal financial regulations relating to contract awards, as stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
Three committees, namely, Information and Computer Technology, Human Rights, and National Security, are to conduct inquiry into the project and make its findings known in three weeks.
More details later…