Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has stated that developing an advanced mechanism for safe cyberspace is one of the government’s key priorities in order to provide an enabling environment for the country’s socio-economic growth.
Prof. Pantami, who was represented by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, made the remarks at the Cyber Secure Conference 2022 organized by the Nigeria Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) with the theme: Cyber Security an Imperative for Addressing Security Challenges in Nigeria.
He observed that computers are increasingly integrating into people’s lives and society, and the world is altering in ways that mankind could never have imagined, with everything becoming quantifiable in processing and storage.
He went on to say that the government relies heavily on systems for its operations and services, and cyber security is synonymous with national security; unsecured cyberspace can be used to gather intelligence reports, so working to prevent and combat is critical for a country like Nigeria facing security challenges.
“When someone takes control of your cyberspace, he automatically controls your economy, thinking, and everything around you, influencing your next action,” the minister explained.
This, he claims, is what drove the Federal Government to develop the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), which includes Service Infrastructure and Cyber Security, with the goal of securing the nation’s cyberspace in order to shift the economy, businesses, and processes online.
“The Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) was established by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to minimize and combat cybercrime, hence establishing a conducive environment for operations.”
“The purpose of this center is to instil trust in citizens, raise awareness, and proactively monitor cyberspace activities, as well as give advisory notices to MDAs to restore services,” he stated.
Prof. Pantami also praised the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) for its commitment to public awareness efforts about cybercrime.
“Human error, social engineering, or other faults cause more than 90% of cyber intrusions.” The more cyber-aware we are, the less damage will occur.”
“The government is developing more proactive systems and awareness by engaging organizations like yours, collaborating with other communities, visiting schools, and MDAS to educate individuals about being cyber-conscious whenever they go online for their activities or operations.”
“In terms of how we construct the digital economy, cyber security, in general, has become a phenomenal percentage.” We are collaborating with partners to create CERRT centers to monitor Cyberspace operations and activities and to collaborate with specialists in the event of an attack to assist restore services. We are also partnering with international organizations and training citizens in order to meet the ambitious aim of achieving 95 percent digital literacy by 2030, which will enhance digital service consumption,” the Minister emphasized.
While delivering the welcome address, Major General Samad Akesode, representing National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, commended CSEAN for organizing such a conference, stating that the conference is coming at the right time and will provide solutions to mitigate or curb the menace of cybercrime activities plaguing the country.
Monguno urged the Association not to desist in its efforts to raise cyber awareness, putting in place the essential safeguards to preserve cyberspace while also creating a climate conducive to national growth.
Delivering his address, the President of CSEAN, Mr Remi Afon said the conference seeks to open a discussion on how cyber security can be used as a supplementary tool to address the nation’s challenges and also encourage the sharing of intelligence on potential threats and collaboration to find lasting solutions.