The Nigeria Police Force and telecommunication companies have disclosed their readiness to establish a nationwide surveillance system, aimed at reducing cases of kidnapping and other crimes in the country.

The system is expected to be connected to the existing Global System of Mobile (GSM) cell sites across the country.

The Police revealed that all the telecommunication companies will provide cameras that will be installed on each telecoms masts across the country.

This was disclosed by the Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IGP Mohammed Adamu, at the Force headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday during a meeting with telecommunication stakeholders

The IG who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Information and Communication Technology, DIG Godwin Nwobodo, said the interventions will help curb the rate of kidnapping which he said has reached an alarming and embarrassing level.

He said: “The advent of Global System of Mobile (GSM), communication in Nigeria brought about a lot of positive innovations including integrating the country into the globalized world. These positive trends came with attendant negatives such as increase in crimes including increase in armed robbery, transnational crimes, insurgency and kidnapping among others.

“It is common knowledge that GSM communications enhances planning and coordination of these criminal activities. These crimes especially kidnapping has become so prevalent all over the country and has reached an alarming embarrassing level, necessitating urgent and drastic interventions.”

On how the partnership will work, the IG said: “The intervention from the NPF and sister security agencies will necessitate partnering with telecommunications companies in deploying a nationwide surveillance system via the existing GSM cell site.

“This will entail the provision of two surveillance Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras each by the telecoms companies on all telecom masts across the country. The camera is cost effective and has a great outdoor performance and is currently used in China and Dubai. The cameras with their Internet Protocol (IP) address will in turn be remotely connected to the nearest Divisional Police Stations, Area Commands, Command and Control centre or server room at the police headquarters, c.

“The telecoms operators are mandated to provide at least 200 sim card per state to be used by the police body cam and vehicular system with unlimited data plan to support the project as part of their corporate social responsibility.”

He also urged the telecommunication providers to give it access to short code or emergency number ‘199’ or ‘999’.

He said: “Before now, the defunct NITEL provided short code emergency number 199 that is routed to all police control rooms nationwide but when NITEL stopped functioning, this service became unavailable to the Force.

“I wish to urge all stakeholders in the telecommunication service providers to help the Force in providing access to short code or emergency number 199 or 999 that will be designated to the Force to be routed to all our control rooms nationwide. This will help us in serving you better and discharge our statutory function to the nation.”

The Force also urged the stakeholders to assist it in establishment of an ICT Centre and e-library that will enhance its capability.

Also speaking, the chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, while pledging the support of the stakeholders, urged the IG to direct his men to protect its infrastructure and not to be involved in tampering or preventing access to telecom sites by operating staffs.

He also sought the support of the IG to arrest and persecute anyone that attempts to vandalise or close down its infrastructure.

Other request made by Adebayo include: “The IG should direct all police commands to kindly and strictly enforce taxation demands pursuant to court orders only as it were done before and enforce security of telecoms infrastructure in volatile areas.

“Telecoms infrastructure in police formations across the country should be free of charge as they also constitute and declare as security infrastructure.”

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