With over N78 billion being lost annually to the activities of cyber criminals, the Federal Government of Nigeria has stepped up efforts to tackle cyber crimes through strong legislation and collaboration with the private sector.
The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu who disclosed this while delivering a keynote address at the National Computer Science Conference on Cyber Security & The Emerging African Economies at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, said financial institutions, government agencies and departments as well as other affiliated institutions had become the targets of cyber criminals in the country.
In response to the problem, he said the Ministry was raising awareness and impacting skills on cyber protection through 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).
The minister noted that there is the need for other frameworks across all strata of public and private sectors to arrest the spread of cyber crime in the country.
‘’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,” he said.
He said 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, and emphasized the need for the enactment and enforcement of policies to ensure cyber security within the ICT and financial institutions.
According to a statement by the Minister’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr Victor Oluwadamilare, the Federal Government was poised to tackle the problems with policy framework on cyber risk management, enforcing security through a ‘defense in-depth’ strategy as well as enforcing vigilance through early detection and signalling system.
The Minister also disclosed that 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.
‘’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.
“Recently, an agency under my ministry, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA),informed the public that Nigeria lost about N159 billion in the last 13 years to cybercrime,” the Minister noted, adding that the ministry is leveraging the active support of the ICT stakeholders by building all requisite ICT and cyberspace capacities in the country.
“This is in line with the repeated assertion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that ICT is the envisaged bedrock of Nigeria’s Change Agenda.”
He charged leaders of African countries to urgently scale up efforts to combat cybercrimes through a multi-stakeholders 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 cybercriminals to their national economic security.
Mr Shittu who expressed optimism that effective strategies to curb the menace of cybercrime will evolve from the conference, said he hoped that such strategies would include; cyber resilience by preparing for the known, unknown, predictable and unpredictable risks.