By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Director General of the National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has kicked against privatization of the Nigerian Communications Satellite limited, NiGComSat, saying that such action will jeopardize our national security.
He made the position known on Friday while responding to questions at the floor of the Senate as a minister-designate.
Pantami, who acknowledged the role being played by the agency in assisting security agencies augured that commercializing the satellite agency would mean exposing our national security to the strangers, being the only satellite that is proving the imagery required by our security institutions.
Rather than commercialise the entire agency, he said it was better to commercial the services of the agencies so as to benefit from the services and activities of the service providers.
‘‘The role NigComSat has played cannot be quantified, using money in terms of the role the agency has been playing in supporting our security agencies to deliver their mandates. The reason why I am against privatization is that it will endanger the security of our country. Being the only satellite that is proving the imagery required by our security institutions.
‘‘When they are privatised, then by implication, we are subjecting our national security in the hands of those facilitating the privatization process. So, because of this and the role NigComSat has been playing it is better to commercialise its activities, that commercialization can support the agency to get something from the service of the providers to integrate their process,’’ he added.
It will be recalled that the immediate past Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu and his predecessor Omobola Johnson had before leaving office commenced move to privatise the agency for effective and efficient service delivery.
The agency is also currently making moves to acquire two back-up satellites to guarantee the confidence reposed in their services.
He further posited that for Nigeria to advance its digital potentials, it has to adopt the Rwanda model for the country to get it right.