The Federal Government and stakeholders in cyber security have brainstormed on the best ways to deploy cyber security to tackle the increasing menace of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and the menace of the notorious “unknown gunmen” across Nigeria.
This was the crux of Cyber Secure Nigeria Conference 2022, organised by Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) in Abuja on Tuesday with the theme, “Cybersecurity: An Imperative in Tackling Insecurity in Nigeria”.
Special guest of honour, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, in his opening remarks, stressed the need for a more proactive cyber security to protect Nigeria’s critical infrastructure and strengthen the confidence of the citizens in the fight against insecurity.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, said “our security depends largely on this cyber security system. Therefore, the security of our cyber space is synonymous to our national security. We can also use it to gather a lot of intelligence and do a lot of things to address the national security challenges that we are facing.”
He noted that cyber attacks have grown in numbers, sophistication and impact in recent times, adding that the attacks exceeded $6trillion and is projected to reach $10trillion by 2025.
“So as a country, we have the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), which has service infrastructure as a key pillar. We need to secure the cyber space to build confidence in our citizens to use these services. So, the NDEPS is being implemented by agencies under the ministry to help our citizens to proactively monitor the cyber space and be more cyber security conscious,” he said.
National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), in his remarks, said that as part of efforts to ensure safe operations in cyberspace, the Nigerian Government enacted the Cybercrimes Act 2015 as the legal framework to codify criminality in cyberspace.
He said further that the development and implementation of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) defines the roadmap for cybersecurity in Nigeria.
The NSA, who was represented by Major General Samad Akesode, said “as a key component part of the Strategy, enhancing our capacity to secure the Nigerian cyberspace would to a large extent augment efforts at tackling the myriad of physical security challenges bedeviling the nation.
“I must note that the Federal Government has made efforts to implement the Cybercrimes Act 2015 with the establishment of ngCERT and National Digital Forensic Laboratory among others, with a view to ensuring the safety and security of the cyberspace as well as provide timely support to security and law enforcement
agencies,” he said.
He emphasised that the Cyber Secure Nigeria Conference 2022 is timely, as Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is galvanizing efforts to strengthen current drive to tackle physical security challenges in Nigeria.
President of CSEAN, Remi Afon, in his presentation, alled for the deployment of technology especially a more proactive use of cyber security to tackle the challenges even as he urged more poliitical will on the part of the government to fight insecurity to save the citizens from constant attacks, killing and kidnapping.
He added that Criminal elements cannot succeed in their attacks without the use of information and communications technologies (ICT), specifically, the use of mobile phones, the internet, and other electronic media they sometimes use to record their activities via video to pass their messages across.
“They use these technologies to commit, incite, recruit for, fund, or plan terrorist, kidnapping, and other criminal acts. Every crime committed, be it terrorism or kidnapping is preceded by a planning stage, an effective counter-surveillance program by the government will increase the chance of intervening or detecting a threat as soon as possible.
“GPS tracking, Drones, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Forensic Investigation, Lawful Interception of electronic communication as well as the use of social media to collect open-source information and digital evidence can be proactively deployed to stem the tide of insecurity,” he added.