ZTE Investigation in Nigerian Security Network Failure
A $470 Million Anti-Terror Network That Never Was, and an Exchange of Blame
ZTE investigation is underway in Nigeria as they were contracted to install security communications yet six years later nothing has been completed.
Chinese investment across the developing world has been a source of angst for U.S. business watchers over the past decade— a symbol of China’s growing global reach, and a tally of what can look like missed opportunities. But the story of one major project’s descent from friendly photo-ops to acrimony and legislative hearings shows that those investment efforts often don’t match the hype (or anxiety) surrounding them.
In 2010, Nigeria contracted China’s ZTE Corporation to install a security communications network. The project included closed-circuit cameras intended to improve anti-terror monitoring in Abuja and Lagos, where attacks from groups like Boko Haram are a looming daily threat. But six years later, the $470 million National Public Security Communication System has come to next to nothing, with the system incomplete and effectively mothballed. Terror attacks and crime have continued, unmonitored.
In late January, a Nigerian congressional panel began hearings to determine what turned the half-billion dollar effort into a boondoggle of exploding batteries and cameras that see nothing. They heard he said-she said testimony faulting, on the one hand, slipshod work by ZTE, and on the other, government refusal to fund and maintain the system. The ZTE investigation is still going strong and further scrutiny will continue until the matter is resolved.