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President Buhari urged to stop privatisation of NigComSat

By on June 2, 2015

A former Managing Director of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, Mr. Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, has asked the President Mohammadu Buhari-led administration to discontinue the plan by the federal government to privatise the company.
In a statement made available to journalists in Abuja yesterday and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ahmed-Rufai said selling the satellite infrastructure to private sector operators would have negative implications on the country’s national security.
NigComSat-1R was launched into the orbit on December 19, 2011, as a replacement for Nigeria’s first communication satellite, which developed a power problem in orbit on November 8, 2008, and was consequently de-orbited.
He added that it was also wrong for the federal government to propose the sale of a satellite that was under a lien since the country had not finished paying the company that constructed the space craft.
Ahmed-Rufai said: “I will like to advise the new government to revisit the intended privatisation of NigComSat. It has huge security implications which will be counterproductive.
“Besides, the country has not finished paying the loan element and thus has no right to sell it. Previous National Security Advisers had advised against the sale of the asset. Government may wish to reserve it for defence and security communications.
“NigComSat C band antenna can be used for missile guidance system. It is a tracking antenna fitted with auto synchronous motor assembly. This is one feature that makes sale security sensitive.”
NigComSat workers recently petitioned the former Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, over the proposed sale of the company and alleged impending sacking of 150 staff of the organisation.
In the petition, dated May 5, the workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees, said the manner the proposed sale of the satellite company was being rushed at the terminal end of the last administration left much to be desired.
The workers contended that the viability of NigComSat would not have been an issue if the federal government had directed government establishments to patronise NigComSat rather than continue to patronise foreign vendors of satellite bandwidth services.