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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had developed a draft policy to tap the communications of citizens



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Considering the spate of terrorism and organized crime in Nigeria, apex regulatory body, NCC has stepped up plans to introduce lawful interception (LI) and wire-tap of telephones and emails for the sake of national security. But it has not fixed a date for the takeoff of the controversial policy which critics said can be used by repressive governments to intimidate opposition. LI is a legally sanctioned official access to private communications, such as telephone calls or e-mail messages in a bid to enhance national security, prevent crime and aid criminal investigations. Though the details are currently sketchy, Daily Champion gathered that under the initiative, in response to a warrant from a judge, lawful interception is performed simply by applying a ‘tap’ on the telephone line of the target, making it possible for security agencies in Nigeria to listen to terrorist and criminal cell phone calls and gather communications intelligence on their dark activities. NCC is drawing powers from section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 and all other powers enabling it in that regard. According to a draft guidelines posted on NCC website, the regulatory agency requires “service providers and internet service providers to implement their networks to explicitly support authorized electronic surveillance”. “These regulations are made to provide a legal and regulatory framework for the lawful interception of Communications in Nigeria, the collection and disclosure of intercepted Communications. These Regulations shall; provide the legal and regulatory framework for the lawful interception of Communications in Nigeria and to put into effect the provisions of sections 146 and 147 of the Act; specify the nature and types of Communications to be intercepted; prescribe penalties for non- compliance with these Regulations; provide a notification procedure to the Commission of all Warrants issued, amended renewed or cancelled under these Regulations; ensure the privacy of subscribers as contained in the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria is persevered” NCC maintained. Already, a fine of N5 million awaits a service provider or any of its officers which fails to comply with the provisions of the regulation, NCC warned and noted further that” If such an offence is continuing, such a Licensee or officer shall be liable to a daily default penalty of N500, 000; the Commission may revoke the License of the Licensee for failure to comply with the regulation”.