Police officers at the Command Centre of the NPSCS at Police Headquarters

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Chinese telecoms original equipment manufacturer ZTE has said it has nothing to fear over a House of Representatives probe into the $470 million National Public Security Communication System (NPSCS) project.

It said rather, the probe will vindicate it and put to rest all public misconceptions about the project.

Speaking against the backdrop of allegations that the project was not completed, the ZTE Managing Director Hao Fuqiang said the OEM was anxiously waiting for the probe which finally lay to rest all the misleading information making the rounds across the country.

He said, “We welcome this probe because we are sure we will come out clean. We have consistently maintained that the project was fully completed and final texts completed. The Acceptance certificates are available for scrutiny.

“We are also proud that we built and delivered one of the most sophisticated security communication tools for the Nigerian government and Nigerian people. We believe the probe will unravel why the equipment’s were left unutilised and allowed to waste.

“Though this is the third time this project is being probed, we welcome it and will give full cooperation to the committee because it is an opportunity for us to state our own side of the story. We hope that the government will do all within its powers to resuscitate this very important project.”

The former Managing Director of NigComSat, Engr  Timasaniyu Ahmed- Rufai had told  the  House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee investigating the award of CCTV Cameras in Abuja and Lagos during the public session that the project was fully completed by ZTE  but that the Federal Government failed to operate and maintain it.

Ahmed- Rufai said: “We had a team of 25 engineers that went to every location to verify different stages of the project. We issued Acceptance Certificates after which payments were made to the contractor. There were milestones that were all carefully and professionally observed by the project implementation team.

“As the Project Consultant, I stand by every payment that was made and every decision taken on the project. The project was completed, tested and every component was working. It is erroneous for anyone to call the project a CCTV project because the Video Surveillance System (VSS) is even less than eight per cent on the project. There were five components and they were all completed. We need to be straight in how we discuss this issue.”

 “They had to power down the backbone for the communication system because government was not forthcoming in maintaining and operating the system. It is a complete communication system, there were phones for security agencies, they were special phones for security agencies which some people decided to lock up somewhere.

“There were emergency communication vehicles, they were all delivered, People were trained, from the police and other agencies but somehow some people decided not to operate the system. Those cameras depend on a backbone that has over 670 base transceiver stations (BTS). Those BTS have to be powered for the cameras to work. The project is like someone who bought a brand new car but refused to fuel it.”

According to Hao, the NPSCS project is made up of five components or subsystems which include Global Open Trunking Architecture (GoTa) Sub-system: This is the dominant component of the system. It is a CDMA based Voice and data Telecommunications system with National coverage. It operates through two Mobile Switch Centre (MSC) with one each in Lagos and Abuja, 12  Base Station Controller (BSC), 675 Base Transceiver Station (BTS) and 21 Microwave repeaters. The GoTa system supports the deployment of 1.5 million subscriber line; Video Surveillance Subsystem: This system comprises of 2000 surveillance cameras with a thousand each installed in Abuja and Lagos respectively. This is the easily noticed component of the project. The application of solar solutions in this subsystem was informed by the electricity power challenges in the country and the need to ensure sustained operations of the cameras wherever they are installed. This component is only about 12 per cent of the total package of the project.

Video Conferencing Subsystem: This subsystem provides a platform for real time video conferencing for the Nigeria Police Force across all commands and the Force Headquarter, Abuja; The E-policing subsystem: This facilitates the deployment of E-policing databases; and Coalition Emergency Response subsystem: This subsystem is a platform for national emergency communication using the short code of 911 for emergency and /distress calls and 912 for anonymous security information. It also empowers the security agencies to carry out coordinated response. Hao said all the five components were full completed and tested.

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