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FG awards $40m internet contract to Israeli firm

Indications have emerged that the Federal Government has awarded an Israeli firm, Elbit Systems, with headquarters in Haifa, a $40 million 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 yesterday 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 April 24, for Intelligence Analysis and Cyber Defense,” but said in the statement that his company was “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,” Vered added.

Multiple and very reliable sources in the administration confirmed 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.

It would be recalled that 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 $40 million, it is unclear if the National Assembly would raise questions as to what becomes of the extra $21 million earmarked for the project. Nigerian citizens, and 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 is 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 legislature.
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Hey, I'am Babanature. A webdesigner, blogspot developer, UI/UX Designer and entertainment personality. I'am also a business speaker, marketer, Blogger and Javascript Programmer.

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