By Christiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Senate through its committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) yesterday urged the Ministry of Communication to provide fund for its annual conference on cyber space security.
The committee headed by Senator Abdulfatahi Buhari ( APC Oyo North), made the request during 2018 budget defence session of the ministry .
Specifically , the Vice Chairman of the Committee , Senator Fosta Ogola ( PDP Bayelsa West ) in one of his observations of the N6.94billion 2018 budget estimates of the ministry presented by the Communications Minister , Barrister Adebayo Shittu, said there was no provision for annual conference on cyberspace security the committee started with last year .
” Mr Minister , I’ve gone through all your proposed expenditure of the 2018 budget of your ministry without seeing any headline or item capturing the annual cyberspace security workshop started by this committee last year .
” We appreciated your ministry ‘s funding of last year’s conference and since it is an annual programme, we expected you to have factored it into your ministry’s 2018 budget projections.
” The programme is very important since it is aimed at addressing our highly vulnerable cyber space “, he said .
The request was further reinforced by the chairman of the committee who said funding of the annual programme by the ministry should be part of its priorities towards getting the required strategies and ideas of fortifying the Nigerian cyberspace .
The Minister in his response assured the committee of doing the needful but also begged them to fast track work on amendment bill to the Cyber Council Act towards empowering the ministry in the monitoring and management of cyber space activities in the country .
He informed the committee that despite the failure of the country to raise $22.5million as 15% counterpart funding for installation of two satellites last year at the rate of $585m and $550m respectively in collaboration with China Exim Bank , the country would have them this year .
According to him, the new arrangement for the installation of the satellites is on 100% funding by the China Exim Bank through necessary financial agreement and documentations with the Ministry of Finance.