Omotosho Benjamin, a human rights activist and a social commentator condemns the activities of faceless groups making allegations of financial infractions against the Clerk of the National Assembly
In 2018, driven by the need for Nigeria’s National Assembly to be at par with what is globally acceptable in parliamentary democracy, in terms of up to date internet connectivity, the then Clerk to the National Assembly, Barr. Ataba Sani-Omolori, hired Helios, Nanocom, and Cosynet as contractors to provide ‘lnternet Bandwidth Connectivity Upgrade’ for the nation’s highest legislative body.
Unknown to the former Clerk, by entrusting the provision of Internet Bandwidth Connectivity to the companies, he was making a costly mistake. The mindless and selfish breach of the contractual agreements that were later perpetrated gave credence to this.
Worried and quite uncomfortable with the ugly development, less than one year later precisely in September 2019, Omolori ordered a forensic audit of the activities of the contractors. A reputable Information and Communication Technology (ICT) company known as Sunnet System and Datacom Services Limited was engaged.
The eventual results and reports of that exercise exposed terrible ‘can of worms’ and unbridled corruption that were being perpetrated by the ICT firms hired by the Barr. Omolori.
Among others, it was revealed that a critical component of the contractual agreements entered with the three contractors by the National Assembly, was neglected; the agreement was ‘that the Autonomous Systems Number (ASN) for the National Assembly Network must be autonomous from the service providers, as a unique identification number. But unfortunately, the ASN, a supposedly government entity was actually registered as a private company by one of the vendors.’ This is as curious as it is a security breach.
Again, the Internet Protocol ( IP), bought for the National Assembly with 1,024 public IP Addresses , only 256 were assigned to the National Assembly, while the remaining 786 IP Addresses were assigned to one of the firms, using National Assembly network infrastructure and resources for private use’. This is equally criminal. The other contractual infractions unearthed by the audit are in this order.
The Managing Director of one of the ICT contractors, was an official administrator of ASN, and a major stakeholder in another firm that is the registered owner of the ASN purportedly arranged for the National Assembly.
The management of the ASN was solely placed in the hands of two of the contractors; a major exposure that the National Assembly Network could have been manipulated for personal gains or be held to ransom’.
The sensitive National Assembly enterprise server infrastructure containing data base of legislators, management staff to National Assembly were in the hands of a Ghanaian, the Chief Operating Officer, who as findings showed ‘ was involved in clandestine espionage activities’ during his contract with the National Assembly.
It was also revealed that his contract which began in 2014, to supply Microsoft licenses and deploy Microsoft for only three months for the National Assembly expired in 2016, but he refused to hand over the credentials of the National Assembly servers to the ICT department, until Ojo Olatunde Amos came in July 2020.
More worrisome was the discovery that, he has setup a private connection “tunnel/VPN” directly from his private residence to the National Assembly ICT infrastructure, that allows him to have unfettered access to both the infrastructure and sensitive documents of NASS without the consent of the National Assembly ICT. Additionally, hired Helios staff had IP Addresses and email addresses with NASS domain (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), with which they carried out correspondences as if it were officially for National Assembly.
Consequently, the report of the Project Appraisal by Sonnet System and Datacom Services Limited, recommended that because”MS Nanocom failed the entire network integrity test carried out and considering the MD’s questionable role in the NASS ASN registration saga, hence vendor should be disengaged’. Furthermore, “MS Navadee Nigeria Limited has failed to source bandwidth from the NCC licensed Tier- 1 Service providers, hence the company should be disengaged’.
Again, “a gross misconduct act was established against MS Compsysnet Ltd, by colluding with MD of Nanocom Nigeria LTD to register NASS for ASN for their company’s commercial venture… Thus, MS Compsysnet Ltd should be disengaged’ as National Assembly ICT consultant”.
Yet Sani-Omolori, for reasons best known to him, could not act on that timely recommendations.
But as soon as Ojo Olatunde Amos came on board on July 17th, 2020, he initiated a systemic revolution in the ICT activities within the National Assembly.This is how Ojo Olatunde Amos rescued the National Assembly from the orchestrated security and economic sabotage by the fraudulent Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contractors. He diligently and dispassionately acted on the audit report that indicted the contractors mentioned above. He bravely took significant actions as being guided by the recommendations. Ojo Olatunde Amos succeeded in recovering the National Assembly ICT infrastructure from the desperate cartel that held the nation’s highest legislative body to ransom; he took time to block all the remote tunnel created for the contractors’ remote control of the National Assembly ICT infrastructure.
Today and under Ojo’s, watch, the internet bandwidth connectivity has been upgraded, from 930MPPS (shared connectivity) to 1.55GBPS with connectivity extended to the residences of top leadership and management officials of the National Assembly.
As a result of the COVID-19 reality, he has arranged unlimited remote control protocol mobile data with Mifi devices for all Senators, House of Representatives members, top management staff to Director Cadre, which is magnificently facilitating remote communication and workings.
Because Ojo Olatunde Amos has successfully ‘disengaged’ the fraudulent ICT contractors, saving several millions of Naira in the process; dislodged those using their contractual activities as a cover to spy on the National Assembly, the armada of sworn enemies he made while patriotically working for his country, have regrouped, to wage a ruthless war against this celebrated man of integrity.
It was therefore not surprising when One Ijewa Obioma, using a questionable Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) named Equity and Transparency Development Initiative, brazenly wrote a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC), which was made public via the media on January 10th, 2021, accusing Architect Ojo Olatunde Amos of manipulation in ICT Contracts in the National Assembly. Now, flowing from the graphic facts made available against the sacked contractors, is it not laughable that the Clerk to the National Assembly could be accused of engaged in ‘espionage’ conduct? He should rather be celebrated for saving the National Assembly from the grip of those nauseating and disgusting contractors.
It was this effrontery blatantly displayed by the ‘disgraced and disengaged fraudulent ICT contractors that drew the flak of the Executive Director of the Nigerian Good Governance Research Centre (NIGOGOREC), Comrade Igbotako Nowinta. He has since drawn the attention of the good people of Nigeria, to the campaign of calumny deliberately meant to smear, ridicule and embarrass the Clerk to the National Assembly.
Comrade Nowinta is a reputable frontline human rights activist and a professional mediator and conciliator
Because the faceless Ijewa Obioma of the cash and carry – Equity and Transparency Development Initiative, who was used by the fraudulent disengaged contractors, to write a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC), raised the issue of ‘espionage’ against Ojo Olatunde Amos, it is crucial for the relevant authorities in Nigeria, to summon the sacked companies for questioning about their controversial six years engagement’ with the National Assembly.
Pertinently, it is ridiculous to state that, in a country where a sitting President in Muhammadu Buhari, is assiduously tackling corruption, those who are supposed to be arrested and tried for corruption and espionage, are the ones throwing stones; trying desperately to nail and rubbish a man of impeccable integrity.
If anything at all, Ojo Olatunde Amos, should be commended by relevant authorities in Nigeria, for blocking contractual insults, wastages and bringing unprecedented sanity to the business of internet activities in our country’s highest legislative arena.