Here is a very important information from PREMIUM TIMES for the 47 million Nigerian Internet users. Big Brother, in the form of the Jonathan administration, is watching you, and your communication is no longer safe. It is one of the most far-reaching policies ever designed in Nigeria’s history to invade the privacy of citizens.
The Jonathan administration secretly, and in open violation of lawful contracting procedures, has awarded an Israeli firm, Elbit Systems,
with headquarters in Haifa, a $40million contract to help it spy on
citizens’ computers and Internet communications under the guise of
intelligence gathering and national security.
Elbit announced the contract award Wednesday in a global press release but
was silent on the Nigerian destination of the contract. Its general
manager, Yehuda Vered, opaquely announced that “Elbit Systems will
supply its Wise Intelligence Technology (WiT) system to an unnamed
country in Africa under a new $40 million contract announced on 24
April… for Intelligence Analysis and Cyber Defense,” but effusively
claimed, in the statement, that his company is “proud to be selected to
supply this unique system, which is already field-proven, fully operational and customisable.
“Elbit Systems is a world leader in the fields of intelligence
analysis and cyber defense, with proven solutions highly suitable for
countries, armies and critical infrastructure sites. We hope that
additional customers will follow in selecting our highly advanced and
cutting edge systems in these fields as their preferred solution,” Mr.
Multiple and very reliable sources in the administration confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that
Nigeria is indeed the “unnamed African country,” and with details from
the Elbit statement, our sources say the contract will now help the
Jonathan administration access all computers and read all email
correspondences of citizens in what is clearly, an infringement on
constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.
policy of this administration has so far affected, in one fell swoop,
the lives of 47 million citizens, a third of the Nigerian population and
about four times the number of voters who brought the president to
power two years ago.
Nigerian netizens, the horde of active citizens that use the computer and Internet, are the 10th in a global ranking that make them 27 per cent of Africa’s total Internet users, far ahead of Egypt [19th global ranking] and South Africa [37th in global ranking].
The growth path of the Internet in Nigeria has also been dramatic,
rising from a mere 200,000 Internet users in 2002 to 47 million this
year, according to data from the Global Internet user, one of the
Internet audit groups.
This development has not always gladdened public officials in Nigeria
many who have expressed open displeasure at the use of the Internet by
social media activists and the power of its possibilities as an
empowering medium for popular communication. The calls for regulation
have been loud in both the administration and in the Nigerian
The earliest hint that the Jonathan administration had desires to
invade privacy of citizens surfaced ealy April when researchers at the
Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto alerted the
world that Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya were deploying Internet
surveillance and censorship technology developed by an American
company, Blue Coat, which specializes in online
security. Blue Coat’s technology will allow the government to invade
the privacy of journalists, netizens and their sources. Its censorship
devices use Deep Packet Inspection, DPI, a technology employed by many
western Internet Service Providers, to manage network traffic and
suppress unwanted connections.
Civic groups kick against DPI because, they say, it makes it possible
for censors to look into every single Internet Protocol packet and
subject it to special treatment based on content (censored or banned
words) or type (email, VoIP or BitTorrent Protocol).
DPI not only threatens the principle of Net Neutrality and the
privacy of users, civic groups say, it makes single users identifiable
and, in countries that flout the rule of law and violate human rights,
often exposes them to arbitrary imprisonment, violence or even torture.
While details on the Blue Coat contract appears to have managed to
evade scrutiny up till this point, PREMIUM TIMES sources say the Elbit
annunciation of the contract, opaque as it was, terribly rattled top
administration officials – from the presidency to the National Security
Adviser’s Office, and the National Assembly.
“The presidency had wanted this contract to be a top secret,” said
one of our sources. “The presidency did not envisage that Elbit was
going to make it public. Monitoring computers and Internet use is a contentious issue and the National Security Adviser had tried to keep the contract secret.”
Elbit says it will take it two years to complete the project, by
which time it claimed, the administration will have “a highly advanced
end-to-end solution, [to] supports every stage of the intelligence
process, including the collection of the data from multiple sources, databases
and sensors, processing of the information, supporting intelligence
personnel in the analysis and evaluation of the information and disseminating
the intelligence to the intended recipient…[that] will be integrated
with various data sources, including Elbit Systems’ Open Source
Intelligence (OSINT) solution and Elbit Systems’ PC Surveillance Systems
(PSS), an advance solution for covert intelligence gathering.”
The administration had indicated in the 2013 budget that it would procure a Wise Intelligence Network Harvest Analyzer System, Open Source Internet Monitoring System and Personal Internet Surveillance System at a cost of N9.496 Billion ($61.26 million).
Now that the contract has been awarded to Elbit for about
$40million, it is unclear if the National Assembly will raise questions
as to what becomes of the extra $21million earmarked for the project.
Investigations indicate that in awarding the contract to the Israeli
firm, no tenders or calls for bids were made just as there were no
public announcements. The contract was awarded following a proposal from
a single vendor who dictated the contract sum and the terms of the
The procedure for public procurement of services as stipulated by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the Nigerian agency charged with the duty of ensuring transparency in all matters concerning government contracts, were largely ignored. In addition, there are no public records indicating that the BPP approved this contract.
The manner of award directly contravenes the 2007 Public Procurement
Act. While the Act gives room for single source contracts, the Elbit
contract met none of the requirements under which such special contracts
could be awarded.
Section 47 (3) (iii) of the 2007 Act stipulates that single source
contracts are to be awarded in emergency situations such as “natural
disasters or a financial crisis”.
Presidential spokespersons, Reuben Abati, and Doyin Okupe were not
available for comments Wednesday. They didn’t answer or return calls
Calls to Elbit’s headquarters in Haifa, Israel, were also unanswered.
Shari Clarkson, a spokesperson at the company’s subsidiary in the United States declined comments on the contract saying only Dalia Rosen, a spokesperson based in Israel, could comment. Rosen’s phone was unanswered.