The Federal Government has increased the capacity of intelligence services to tackle cybercrime and counter terrorism.
The National Assembly gave its backing with the approval of budget for the upgrade of spy facilities at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).
The NIA, led by Amb. Ahmed Abubakar, is responsible for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence.
The DIA, headed by Major General Samuel Adebayo, Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), is in charge of military-related intelligence within and outside Nigeria.
The agencies can now intercept and monitor calls, messages and social media accounts likely to endanger lives.
The DIA and NIA said it became imperative to tackle activities of criminals, terrorists and other elements that threaten national security with modern technology tools.
“The budgetary approval will go a long way in monitoring calls and messages, Facebook, WhatsApp, Thuraya satellite phone, etc.,” a source told PRNigeria
National Assembly approves N4.87billion for NIA
The National Intelligence Agency got a N4.87bn budget to track, intercept and monitor calls and messages on mobile devices, including Thuraya and WhatsApp.
According to a report by Punch, the amount is part of the augmented N895.8bn supplementary budget submitted by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), last month and approved by both chambers of the National Assembly last week.
The budget according to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, is meant to procure equipment for the military and to fight further spread of COVID-19.
Details of the supplementary budget obtained by Punch revealed that the NIA would spend N2,938,650,000 on the Thuraya interception solution, while the WhatsApp interception solution would gulp N1,931,700,000.
Apart from this, the NIA got additional N129m to enable its personnel embark on foreign training.
The Defence Intelligence Agency, on its part, got a capital vote of N16.8bn to provide infrastructure, cyber intelligence centre/laboratory, independent lawful intercept platform (voice and advanced data monitoring) and tactical mobile geological platform.