From Fred Itua, Abuja
Some Senators have drawn the attention of the Federal Government to a security challenge posed to the country following the decision of telecommunication firms to relocate operation basis outside the country.
At a budget defence session of the Ministry of Communications, Chairman of Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, who spoke on behalf of others, alerted the Federal Government that some of the telecommunications companies have started relocating their Network Operation Centres (NOCs) from Nigeria to India. He said the move has grave implications on national security, as these centres would be monitored by foreigners from outside the shores of Nigeria.
While requesting the Minister of Telecommunications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, to urgently take necessary actions toward arresting the situation before it degenerates further, Nnaji expressed concern over “indiscriminate sack of competent Nigerian employees at the expense of their foreign counterparts; contravention of expatriate quota, casualisation, intimidation and discrimination against indigenous staff by these network providers.”
Responding, the Minister assured the committee that he would critically review those issues and report back immediately to it on measures to be taken to check them.
He also announced that before the end of the first quarter of this year, the Ministry would inaugurate the implementation committee for the transformation of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) located in the six geo-political zones of the country into Information and Communications Technology (ICT) University.
This, according to him, was to start producing graduates and skilled manpower that would fit into the modern GSM industry and international market.
The total budget proposal for the Ministry is put at N18,750,951,876, while N11,206,732,734 and N7,544,169,142 represent recurrent and capital expenditure respectively.