PANTAMI SAYS HE HAS NO POWER GO ACCESS NIGERIANS PHONE RECORDS
Alanza Giwa, Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, who had to deal with a barrage of criticism for his previous emarks on hardline and extremist Islam, says neither he nor the Nigerian Communications Communication (NCC), possesses the powers to access the personal information in people’s phones.
“It is only the security institutions that have power and access to people’s lines; we do not have such power, if not, it will be abused.
“It will be wrong for anybody to contact NCC or ministry to provide data of any subscriber,” Pantami says at the unveiling the NCC’s Strategic Vision Plan (2021-2025), NCC Global Connect Podcast and a Compendium of speeches by the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in Abuja.
The minister adds that: “Ours is when we are contacted, we will provide to the security agencies the data they need.
“Even when we are contacted, there are requirements constitutionally to do that because telephone conversations are meant to be confidential as stipulated by section 37 sub section 39 of the constitution.
“The Cybercrime Act 2015 and the subsidiary legislations of the commission allow government to give such approval when a crime is committed after the security agencies establish a prima-facie case, then it can be conveyed to the relevant institution.”
Pantami, who is driving Nigeria’s highly sensitive and classified National Identification Number (NIN) project, received the backing of president Buhari ( the presidency) in April when calls for his resignation–owing to a past littered with sympathetic remarks for extremist and fundamentalist groups–reached a crescendo.