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FG, stakeholders discuss policies to tackle cybercrimes

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The Federal Government and stakeholders in the financial technology (FinTech) sector are currently seeking a sustainable policy to tackle incidents of cybercrimes in Nigeria, as damages due to the menace is expected to cost the world a whooping $6 trillion yearly by 2021.

Although losses were about $3 trillion in 2015, according to a report by security research group, Cybersecurity Ventures, President Muhammadu Buhari’s National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, insisted that prevailing cybercrimes in Nigeria are unacceptable.

Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN), had estimated that about N5.5 trillion had been lost to fraud and cyber crimes in the past one decade.

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Speaking yesterday as stakeholders converged in Abuja, to design a National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2020, Monguno stressed the need for proactive policies to urgently address cyber threats in Nigeria.

The NCPS was developed in 2014, but five years after, the Federal Government, through the office of the NSA, noted that if not reviewed, the policy may not deliver projected goals in the face of the changing dynamics in cyber security.

Monguno, who was the keynote speaker at the event, said there was a need to address digital threats in Nigeria to enhance national security, noting that current development can limit the country’s economic growth, adding that the new document would strengthen existing policy.

To him, cyberspace is fast becoming the backbone of national security, economic transformation and national development. “A significant section of our population of over 200 million people is young and entrepreneurs and we are also witnessing a rapid rise in our adoption of the Internet in our daily lives.”

Chairman, Senate Committee, ICT and Cybercrime, Hassan Ibrahim Hadejia, noted that it was critical to find a lasting solution to the challenge of cyber attacks in Nigeria, saying: “In ICT, if you are reactive, you are finished, you always have to make sure that you are one step ahead.”

If the problem is to be sustainably tackled, Hedijia urged stronger collaboration between government agencies and the private sector.
Chairman of the Multi-stakeholder Committee for the review of the policy, Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, said: “The current draft document is a result of multi-stakeholder efforts with due cognizance of society approach, while leveraging technology for the well-being of Nigeria and for Nigerians.”

He feared civil unrest if cyberspace is not properly regulated, while assuring the committee’s commitment and resolve to deliver on the review, as the validation workshop would evaluate the entire process of the old document.

Also speaking, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, who was represented by the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Inuwa Abdullahi, cautioned Nigerians on the use of digital devices.

To him, individuals and corporate organizations need to protect themselves against cyber attacks. “Anybody that uses any device that connects to the Internet needs to understand and protect himself and have to join the cyber security campaign.”

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