Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Minister of Communications, Barr. Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu on Monday called for inclusion of internet security education into the country’s national curriculum as a way of creating awareness to stem the rate of cyber crimes in Nigeria.
Shittu who made the call in a keynote address delivered at National Computer Science Conference on Cyber Security and The Emerging African Economies at Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State said his ministry is ready to partner with agencies to catalyze and develop world-class human and institutional capacity in curbing cyber security for the country.
According to him, the Ministry is living up to expectation of sensitizing, raising awareness and impact skills on cyber protection by creating the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to handle computer security incidents and examining the implementation framework of the Cybersecurity Act with amendments where necessary in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Shittu said there is the need for other frameworks across all strata of public and private sectors to arrest the spreading crime.
He said, ‘’The need for other frameworks like cyber security awareness across business and members of the public; cooperative arrangements between law enforcement and communication service provider across the nation and a criminal justice system that facilitate the efficient prosecution of cases of cybercrime are very germane.”
The minister who noted that Nigeria currently loses about N78 billion annually to the activities of cyber criminals who target financial institutions, and government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as their affiliates, emphasized the need for the enactment and enforcement of policies to ensure cyber security within the ICT and financial institutions.
He said such policies should address the framework of cyber risk management, enforcing security through a ‘defense in-depth’ strategy as well as enforcing vigilance through early detection and signaling system.
Speaking on the indispensability of the cyberspace to global development, Shittu said the internet and digital technologies are the biggest transformational forces in the world today with over five billion internet-connected devices globally generating over $ 10 billion to the global economy in 2015.
In comparison to physical space, he noted that cyberspace is virtually co-ubiquitous, operationally more efficient, socio-politically more vibrant, economically as resourceful, and information-wise more integrated and has become a fundamental feature of the world we live in.
‘’The changing nature of economic and territorial threats has become a major concern. The growing role of cyberspace has opened up new threats as well as new opportunities as a country, we have to find ways to confront and overcome these threats if we are to remain functional as a sovereign entity in an increasingly competitive and globalized world, said the minister.”
Shittu who made reference to the recent submission by an agency under his ministry, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), that Nigeria lost about N159 billion in the last 13 years to cybercrime, said the ministry is leveraging the active support of the ICT stakeholders by building all requisite ICT and cyberspace capacities in the country.
This, he said “is in line with the repeated assertion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that ICT is the envisaged bedrock of Nigeria’s Change Agenda.”
The minister therefore charged leaders of African countries to urgently scale up efforts to combat cybercrime through a multistakeholders approach involving government, industry and civil society organizations within the context of the African Union Convention on Cyberspace Security and Protection of Personal data to stem the threats posed by cyber criminals to their national economic security.
Shittu who was optimistic that effective strategies to curb the menace of cybercrime will evolve from the conference, said such strategies should include; cyber resilience by preparing for the known, unknown, predictable and unpredictable risks while he urged organizers of the conference not to hesitate in furnishing him with blueprint emanating from the conference for his dispassionate consideration and immediate implementation.
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