Why FG Could Not Track Terrorists, Bandits, Kidnappers’ Phones – Pantami

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has revealed why the federal government can not track phones used by terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers who reach out to families of their victims for ransom payment and negotiations.

Bellnewsonline.com understands that at the 19th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) held in Abuja yesterday, the minister spoke on the failure to nab criminal elements despite the initiative that mandated all citizens to have their National Identification Number (NIN) linked with their phone SIM cards.

Responding to the critical matter, Pantami said the issue falls under cybercrime.

He said: “Cybercrime is under the office of the national security advisor and other security institutions.

“Our role in cyber security is to ensure we minimize the possibility of a criminal deploying technology to commit a crime. So our work is proactive. At the same time, if the crime is committed and our intervention is required officially, then we will intervene.

“So, here, we need to reintroduce the national NIN and civil registrations when it comes to minimizing the probability of criminals committing a crime. Two, we enforce the NIN registration. NIN registration is by our law in Nigeria; NIN is mandatory for all citizens.”

Speaking further about his ministry’s achievement in the last few years, the Minister said at least sixty-six (66) attempts by hackers from Europe to hack the virtual meetings of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) were foiled.

Pantami said all the cases were reported to the appropriate authorities for the record and actions.

The Minister explained that no fewer than 108 virtual federal cabinet meetings had been held since the National Policy on Virtual Engagements for Federal Public Institutions in October 2020 to formalise online government meetings, including those of the FEC and the Council of State.

According to him, for the implementation of the virtual meetings, Nigeria would have spent over N47 billion holding physical meetings, adding that at least 2.2 million jobs had been created in the nation’s digital sector in the last three years.

Pantami attributed the challenges in telecommunications to infrastructure deficit and vandalisation of fibre optic cables. He said in one particular year, about 13,000 cases of vandalisation of fibre optic cables were recorded in several locations across the country.

The minister put broadband penetration as of November 2022 at 46. 2 per cent and quarterly revenue generation from the ICT sector at N408 billion.

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