The Action Congress of Nigeria (AC N) yesterday urged the National Assembly not to pass a bill authorising e-surveillance of telephone calls by security agencies.
In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said passing such bill will give security agencies the carte blanche to tap the phones of citizens on the pretext that it is for security purposes.
It said such a law was also capable of breeding dictatorship, as it can be easily abused by the government to target the opposition or even out-of- favour party officials .
ACN said what the country needs to tackle its enormous security challenges is to think out of the box, encourage cooperation among security agencies and fund them adequately.
The party, however, said the ultimate answers to the nation’s security challenges are the establishment of state police, securing the nation’s borders and improving training as well as intelligence gathering.
It went on: ‘’Since it is said that all security is local, having state police will definitely enhance security across the country.
“One cannot over-state the importance of deploying security agents in areas they are conversant with, either in terms of language or geographical terrain.
ACN warns that any law that is capable of compromising the privacy law protecting phone users and interfering with the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of Nigerians can only create more problems than it will solve.
‘’Who determines whose phones are to be wire-tapped and for what reasons?
“What would be the implication of a law authorising e-surveillance by security agencies on the privacy law to protect phone users?
“How are we sure the government of the day will not abuse such a law?
“Who determines what constitutes a national threat that will warrant e-surveillance?
These are some of the questions that must be answered by those pushing for the enactment of such a law,’’ the party said.