FG Budgets N4.Bn For NIA to Monitor WhatsApp, Satellite Phones

 Federal government has voted N4.8 billion for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to monitor WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging application, and Thuraya, a satellite telephone.

Of the figure, N1.93 billion was earmarked for “WhatsApp Intercept Solution” and N2.93 billion for “Thuraya Interception Solution” – a communications system used for monitoring voice calls or call-related information, SMS, data traffic, among others.

This was contained in the supplementary budget approved by the National Assembly last Wednesday with a total of N982 billion.

While recurrent (non-debt) spending was approved at N123 billion, capital spending was approved at N895 billion.

The budget is intended to strengthen military activities and make COVID-19 vaccine acquisition easier.

The budget’s line items revealed that police “commands and formation” received N33.6 billion for a variety of initiatives, including the N200 million fumigation of 19 training institutes.

While N936 million was set aside for the acquisition of police uniforms and equipment, N910 million was set aside for trainee allowances and wages.

A total of N1.6 billion has been been aside by the Ministry of Defense for “extra 2,700 personnel.” The army received N675 million for soldier operation allowance.

The Nigerian Air Force received a total of N239 billion, with N266 million set aside for small guns and ammunition, N1.5 billion for barracks upgrades “via direct labor,” and N84 billion set aside for “defence equipment.”

The Department of State Services (DSS) received a total of N17.5 billion to buy cars, weaponry, and upgrade its six training schools across the country, among other things.

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) received N1.6 billion for a “treatment plan” under health.

While N20.6 billion was set aside for the “delivery” of vaccines to every ward/primary health center, N60.7 billion was set aside for the procurement of COVID vaccines.

A total of N6.7 billion has been been aside for the purchase and installation of oxygen plants around the country.