By Musa Ilallah
It is no longer hear say that presently Nigeria like other countries in the world are threatened by terrorism and cyber criminalities.
In it’s determination to tackle the challenges of cyber and internet crimes head on, the Buhari administration recently launched a comprehensive National Cybersecurity Plan to End terrorism and Internet Criminalities in Nigeria.
In his ever usual patriotic strategic move, President Buhari announced the first comprehensive cybersecurity policy for the country during which he urged for more emphasis on exploring the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.
One thing that makes President Buhari to stand out in the commuty of Presidents in the world is his astuteness and determination to make the difference by bringing policies that will stand the test if time. Such policies in the long run tend to be beneficial to the country.
Convinced that the only option left for a developing country like Nigeria is to vigorously develop a frame work to deal with such issues through an overhaul of the national strategy on cyber security.
Experts have posited that such plans will not only go a long way to deal with such crimes but also enhance the country’s economic growth and development.
Moreso, this well crafted policy document will provide the platform for technical education, digital skills acquisition and indigenous technology production at the finger tips of willing Nigerans thereby creating job opportunities for our youth and supporting our resolve to alleviate poverty and boost our economy.
President Buhari seized the opportunity of the launching of the document, National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy, NCPS 2021 in Abuja to urge the National Security Adviser “to continue to coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that our Internet and cyberspace are used for the enhancement of national security and economic progression,’’
He further explained that he was confident that, together, we can pave the way for the creation of new opportunities to usher Nigeria into a bright future driven by a prosperous cyberspace and digital economy.
The President noted that the Federal Government had taken some major policy decisions to increase penetration of the internet in the daily lives of citizens, particularly for the utilitarian purpose, with launch of National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 in March 2020; National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030; National Identity Program, Treasury Single Account and Bank Verification Number schemes.
In the words of President Buhari: “All these initiatives serve as enablers for tackling many of the economic and security challenges facing our country while also providing us with the platform to improve accountability and transparency in our unwavering resolve to tackle corruption.”
It is a known fact that like many other countries across the globe, the growth and development of the internet is accompanied by significant challenging issues like witnessing a rise in threats posed by cyber criminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension and destruction.
It is common knowledge domiciled in the public space that the internet and social media in the country and he world over have witnessed a surge for propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data.
It is almost impossible to state the challenges posed to the world as a result of global events such as rapid emergence of new technologies, outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and advent of 5G technology. All these have further widened the scope and diversification of cyber threats.
It is on record from available statistics that in October last year, the country witnessed an escalation in the use of the social media for dissemination of subversive messages and incitement of violence which played a part in heightening tensions, causing unrests and spurring widespread acts of looting and destruction across the country disguised as #endsars protests.
President Buhari noted at the occasion that the Federal Government had been proactive over the past couple of years in taking steps to ensure progressive use of internet and cyberspace.
“In 2014, the maiden National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy was developed to provide the necessary roadmap for the realisation of our national cybersecurity programme. This national effort paved way for Nigeria to reach numerous cybersecurity milestones over the past six years.”
The end result purpose of this approach, according to President Buhari is to “build on this achievement and reposition ourselves for enhanced engagement in cyberspace thereby making it expedient to review the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2014 and develop a comprehensive National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 for the common good of our country.’’
He noted that the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 will provide with the necessary platform to effectively confront the dynamic nature of threats in our cyberspace.
Similarly, The document will also provide the framework that would enable us to harness the efforts of our private sector, academia and industry towards progressive economic and national development.
Nigerian online and traditional media quoted the National Security Adviser, Retired General Babagana Monguno noting that there had been a surge in the use of the internet, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown around the world, with increasing waves of crimes, irregular migration and threats to border security.
This has therefore further resulted in the fact that many platforms including banking, communication and military had come under more threats with personal information easily distorted and explored, necessitating a review of the 2014 National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy.
It is envisaged that the reviewed document will work towards mitigating the “suffocating presence and unpredictable threats’’ of cybercrimes.
His words: “President Buhari has identified cybersecurity as one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation, and this National Cybersecurity Plan launched by Mr President will curbed threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists”
Undoubtedly and without mincing words, President Buhari is determined to make Nigeria work again.