Nigerian Govt Budgets N4.8bn to Monitor WhatsApp, Phone Calls

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has been given N4.8 (4,870,350,000) billion to monitor WhatsApp conversations, phone calls, and SMS messages, among other things.

The sum was divided as follows: N1.93 billion for the “WhatsApp Intercept Solution” and N2.93 billion for the “Thuraya Interception Solution” — a communications system used for monitoring voice conversations or call-related information, SMS, and data traffic, among other things.

This was included in the National Assembly’s supplementary budget on Wednesday.

The legislators agreed and enacted a supplemental budget of N982 billion (982,729,695,343) for the fiscal year 2021, a N87 billion increase over the N895 billion recommended by President Muhammadu Buhari.

While N123.3 billion was set aside for recurrent (non-debt) spending, N895 billion was set aside for capital expenditure contributions to the Development Fund for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021.

Another N45 billion in foreign aid/loans has been authorized.

This funding allotment comes amid multiple attempts by the federal government to curtail freedom of speech in the nation – an act that many have labeled as an attempt to silence the media.

It comes little over a month after the federal authorities stopped Twitter’s operations in the nation on June 4.

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