Telecom firms now operating from India, Senate tells FG

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Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The Senate on Thursday told the Federal Government that some telecommunication operators in Nigeria are relocating their Network Operation Centres to India.

The development, the lawmakers said, posed danger to national security.

The warning was contained in a press release issued by the Senate Committee on Communications.

It said the committee informed the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, about the development when he appeared before the lawmakers to defend the 2017 budget of the ministry.

The lawmakers were said to have drawn the attention of the Federal Government “to another dimension of security challenge threating the country due to undermining activities of telecommunication firms operating in Nigeria.”

At the budget defence session, Chairman of Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, was quoted to have said, “Some of the companies have started relocating their Network Operation Centres from Nigeria to India, which has grave implication on national security, as these centres would be monitored by foreigners from outside the shores of Nigeria.”

Nnaji urged the minister to urgently take necessary actions towards arresting the situation before it degenerated into a national threat.

The lawmaker also expressed concern over “indiscriminate sack of competent Nigerian employees at the expense of their foreign counterparts.”

He also frowned at the “contravention of expatriate quota, casualisation, intimidation and discrimination of indigenous staff” by service providers.

Shittu was quoted as assuring the committee that he would review the issues raised and report back to the lawmakers on the measures taken to address the issues.

The minister 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 located in the six geo-political zones of the country into Information and Communications Technology University.

This, according to Shittu, was to start producing graduates and skilled manpower that would fit into the modern GSM industry and international market.

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