The House of Representatives on Thursday ordered the immediate suspension of the $ 40 million internet surveillance contract awarded to Elbit Systems, an Israeli Information Technology company by the Federal Government. The resolution of the House was that no further action should be taken on the contract until the outcome of the investigation of three committees of the House of Representatives. The committees, namely the committees on Human Rights, Information and Computer Technology as well as the Committee on National Security have three weeks to complete their investigations and make their findings known
The contract is believed to be an effort of the government towards enhancing its intelligence gathering efforts. There have however been reactions that the contract would enable the Federal Government monitor internet users and thus facilitate an easy clampdown on those who criticize the government’s policies via the social media.
While initiaing the motion that led to the eventual suspension of the contract, Hon Ibrahim Gusau stressed that intelligence gathering may not be the solution to the country’s security challenges. He also noted that the project will infringe on the privacy of Nigerians.
Members of the House also disclosed that the award of the contract violated financial regulations, especially those concerning the award of contracts as stipulated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007.
Meanwhile, the House also approved a 14-year-jail term for persons who contact same sex marriage in Nigeria. The approval came on the heels of the consideration of a billfor an Act prohibiting same sex marriages in the country. Part of the bill stipulates that “marriage or civil union entered between persons of same gender shall not be solemnized in any place of worship, either church or mosque or any place in Nigeria.” The House approved a 10-year jail term for any “any person who directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships’’.