By Chesa Chesa
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the procurement and deployment of a hybrid spectrum monitoring system worth N653,88 million to checkmate the illegal use of broadcast frequencies in the Nigeria’s Southeast region.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, announced this to newsmen after a meeting of the FEC chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja.
The Minister also disclosed that users of 106 illegal frequencies already uncovered in other regions would be prosecuted, on the advice of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Pantami is chairman of the National Frequencies Management Council, which comprises representatives of the Office of the National Security Adviser; Ministries of Transportation; and Aviation; as well as the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
According to him “The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy sought the approval of FEC for deploying hybrid spectrum monitoring system, most importantly, to focus on the Southeastern zone of the country.
“From January to August 2020, within the period of eight months, we discovered 320 frequencies being used all over the country and of these, 106 were illegal.
“This is very worrisome because the usage of this illegal spectrum or frequencies will compromise our security and safety in the country.
“It is because of the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, on promoting security that we came up with this initiative of monitoring the usage of frequencies and uncover the legal and the illegal ones.
“For the legal ones, it is to ensure they renew their licenses annually and for the illegal ones, necessary actions are being taken according to the gravity of the offence.
“We discovered that our monitoring did not cover Southeast part of the country. It covered five zones – Northeast, Northwest, North Central, Southwest and South-South; however, Southeast has not been covered.
“It is because of this that we presented our memo, seeking for council’s approval of N653,886,584 to procure and deploy hybrid spectrum monitoring system that will cover the southern part of the country, most importantly the Southeast.
“So Council approved for the deployment and this project will go along way in promoting safety and security; and secondly, identify the usage of illegal spectrum; and thirdly, enhance revenue for the federal government; and fourthly, in the long run, it will create many jobs for the citizens.”
He added that “when we discover the usage of illegal frequency, a letter will be written to that institution to draw their attention to it.
“When they admit, if it is a government institution, there is a process of investigation; there is also a process if it is a private one. Sometimes, it will take up to litigation and we are in the process right now.”