President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on Friday morning concluded a conducted tour of the Dedicated National Information Systems Project deployed at State House, to maintain its security character. The president inspected the surveillance system, conference system, and call demonstrations facilities and the equipment and battery room.
Before embarking on the conducted tour of the facilities, the Director of Communications of the host ministry, Bakarr Tarawallie, gave a brief update on the project. He said that as a result of the realization by government in 2008 that its information system is highly vulnerable to attacks as well as the fact that it is a critical infrastructure to national security, government decided that there should be a dedicated information system in place to circumvent any such attacks by hackers.
“Government, therefore, contracted ZTE, a Chinese corporation to build this dedicated security infrastructure, which is a turnkey infrastructure that provides 5,500 mobile phones and 1,000 USB modems for both voice and data communications across government institutions,” Tarawallie explained.
He further noted that the system also has potential for video conferencing, surveillance system as well as a broadband distribution network. “This phase has been completed; that is why the president is here to inspect the progress made so far before the commissioning event,” he added.
The second phase will include other products like e-government applications and security surveillance system of the country’s land and sea borders.
According to the Project Coordinator, Christopher John, the work force comprises 23 staff, including himself, 4 engineers, 12 technicians who were properly profiled, screened and trained both locally and in China, and other administrative and support staff.
Mr. John also revealed that the implementation of the project was kick-started in January and completed this month, saying that there are 34 sites all over the country, including Freetown. “We are yet to cover the whole country,” he said, and pointed out that the project is “co-located with already existing operators who are helping us with power for our sites”.
Shortly after the conclusion of the well-guided tour of the Network Operating Centre (NOC), President Koroma noted that the system is a step in the right direction to fight crime and secure the country, adding that it is good for monitoring and surveillance of crime of all types. He watched real time videos of the National Stadium, including the main bowl and practicing field as well as strategic locations in the city from the NOC.
The NOC project is under the auspices of the Ministry of Information and Communications.