The Federal Government has said all security agencies in the country have access to information on Nigerians’ bio-data.
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami disclosed this on Tuesday at the launch of the Strategic Vision Plan 2021- 2025, Compendium of EVC’s speech and NCC- Global Connect Podcast, organized by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Abuja.
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Pantami while referring to the request for bio-data information sent to him by groups and individuals, said granting such a request was beyond his purview as a minister.
While expressing support and commendation of the military in the fight against banditry and terrorism, the minister explained that criminals use the phones of their victims to make contacts.
“If somebody is kidnapped, it is not your right to write to NCC, the supervisory minister or ministry to request for the identity of the number. When something happens and a phone number is involved, your function is to transmit that number to security agencies like the police or DSS, go to them to state what happened and they know the procedure which they communicate to the NCC or technology agencies, it is their mandate to provide what is required.
“If we say that anybody can approach us for biodata of any SIM, definitely, it is going to be abused, it is because of this that it is only the security institutions that have the power to ask for that information,” he said.
While noting that phone conversations and phone numbers are confidential constitutionally as stipulated in Section 38 and 39 of the Nigeria Constitution, he stated that it is the Cybercrime 2015 Act and subsidiary legislation of the commission that allows the government to provide bio-data of individuals through “what is called intercept and it can be done when security agencies present prima facie case
He said: “Today, criminals mount roadblocks on the highways and seize telephones from travellers, sometimes they use the phones to contact their relatives. When it is presented, you will discover that the information is of the kidnapped victims but not the kidnappers.”
32,000 generators for quality network
He further said that it takes the provision of over 32,000 generators to maintain quality network service by network providers due to poor power supply in the country.
He added that the ICT sector was able to contribute about 17.92 per cent to GDP in the second quarter of 2021 through policies and regulations that allowed the private sector to thrive.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, unveiled a five-point agenda for the 2021-2025 SVP which he said would consolidate the achievements of the 2015-2020 SVP which focused on broadband revolution in the country.