President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan has hired an Israeli firm, Elbit Systems, to monitor the activities of the over 47 million Nigerian internet users.
Elbit announced the contract award Wednesday 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 24 April, for Intelligence Analysis and Cyber Defense,â€ť but effusively claimed, in the statement, that his company is “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,â€ť Mr. Vered added.
Multiple and very reliable sources in the administration confirmed that Nigeria is indeed the “unnamed African country,â€ť 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.
No single policy of this administration has so far affected, in one fell swoop, the lives of 47 million citizens, a third of the Nigerian population and about four times the number of voters who brought the president to power two years ago.
Elbit says it will take it two years to complete the project, by which time it claimed, the administration will have “a highly advanced end-to-end solution, [to] supports every stage of the intelligence process, including the collection of the data from multiple sources, databases and sensors, processing of the information, supporting intelligence personnel in the analysis and evaluation of the information and disseminating the intelligence to the intended recipientâ€¦[that] will be integrated with various data sources, including Elbit Systemsâ€™ Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) solution and Elbit Systemsâ€™ PC Surveillance Systems (PSS), an advance solution for covert intelligence gathering.â€ť
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 $40million, it is unclear if the National Assembly will raise questions as to what becomes of the extra $21million earmarked for the project.
Investigations indicate that in awarding the contract to the Israeli firm, no tenders or calls for bids were made just as there were no public announcements. The contract was awarded following a proposal from a single vendor who dictated the contract sum and the terms of the contract.
The procedure for public procurement of services as stipulated by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the Nigerian agency charged with the duty of ensuring transparency in all matters concerning government contracts, were largely ignored. In addition, there are no public records indicating that the BPP approved this contract.
The manner of award directly contravenes the 2007 Public Procurement Act. While the Act gives room for single source contracts, the Elbit contract met none of the requirements under which such special contracts could be awarded.
Section 47 (3) (iii) of the 2007 Act stipulates that single source contracts are to be awarded in emergency situations such as “natural disasters or a financial crisisâ€ť.
– Premium Times
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