Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Chief Sunny Onuesoke has described as waste of tax payers’ money, the N4.8 billion earmarked by the Federal Government for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to monitor WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging application and Thuraya, a satellite telephone.
Recall that the National Assembly had approved the sum of N982 billion as the supplementary budget for 2021 in which the sum of N4.8bn was equally set aside for National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for the purpose.
Onuesoke who described the venture as wasted priority said it was amazing that scores of Nigeria were hungry and could hardly feed once a day while such huge amount of money was voted just to monitor people’s conversations.
He argued that Nigeria being a democratic and not a police state all this money being wasted should have been directed to other areas that needed urgent attention like health, roads, rail, education and transportation among others for the benefit of the masses.
“Here in Nigeria we can’t even feed ourselves, no good road, no drinking water, no electricity, and no government empowerment. Yet government priority is to vote such huge amount to monitor WhatsApp and telephone,” he lamented.
Wondering how it would be possible to monitor WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging application and Thuraya, a satellite telephone, the PDP Chieftain argued that America, Israel, United Kingdom and other developed countries were yet to break into WhatsApp, but Nigeria already has a budget, stressing only fools would believe it.
According to him, “The FBI can’t access or monitor your WhatsApp except by court orders and permission from owners of the apps. Even if they were honest, it would be impossible to monitor 200+ million people and adding VPNs or proxies to that list would make it more complicated.
“ What Government should understand is that WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption and that any attempt by ‘man-in-the-middle’ (MitM) to attack it is virtually impossible. Nigerian government lacks the resources, skills and knowledge to spy on WhatsApp. I think what the Government is planning to do as it is done in Arab and despotic countries is to block WhatsApp altogether. Then again, WhatsApp users could always use VPN to evade the monitoring.”