The Federal Government has approved N653,886,584 to procure and deploy hybrid spectrum monitoring system to tame the activities of illegal broadcast frequencies operating in the South East.
This came following the Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) approval of a memo which sought to strengthen the security and territorial integrity of Nigeria through adequate monitoring of the airwaves to ensure that no illegal broadcast takes place in the country.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, had briefed the council about the investigation carried out by the ministry and also sought approval from FEC to deploy hybrid spectrum monitoring system with special focus on the southeastern zone of the country.
Addressing newsmen after Wednesday council presided over by President Mohammadu Buhari, Pantami said the investigation had unearthed the use of illegal frequencies in the country which has become very rampant.
“From January to August 2020, within the period of eight months, we discover 320 frequencies being used all over the country and of this 320, 106 were illegal,” Pantami said.
“This is very worrisome because the usage of this illegal spectrum or frequencies will compromise our security and safety in the country.”
The minister explained that it was because of the administration’s determination to promote security across the country that the ministry came up with the initiative of monitoring the usage of frequencies and uncover the legal and the illegal ones.
“For the legal ones to ensure they renew their licenses annually and for the illegal ones, necessary actions are being taken according to the gravity of the offence,” Pantami said.
“We discovered that our monitoring did not cover south-east. It covered South-East part of the country. It covered five zones – northeast, north-west, north-central, south-west and south-south, however, south-east 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 south-east. 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.”
Fielding questions from journalists, the Minister said the decision had gone through the scrutiny of the National Frequencies Management Council where security institutions are represented.
He said other institutions that deploy spectrum including ministries of transportation and Aviation, Office of the National Security Adviser, Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC), as a regulator of broadcasting are also members of the council.
“It is in the council that each sector that feels that this council will add value to its activities, will come up with measures on how to use the council to promote what they need. So, it is because of this that we deploy this and security institutions are represented and whatever we do is in agreement with the law,” Pantami said.