Senate alerts NSA, others to cyber attacks on Nigerian firms
• To probe alleged fraud in Abuja Disco’s estimated billing
• UK, U.S. pledge support for war against cybercrime
• Urge establishment of independent financial intelligence unit
The Senate, yesterday, alerted the National Security Adviser (NSA), other security agencies and financial institutions in the country about the current and threatening dimensions of cyber-attacks.
The upper legislative chamber also said that over $450 million had been lost through cyber attacks by Nigerian firms. It claimed that over 3,500 attacks had been carried out.
Adopting a motion sponsored by Buhari Abdulfatai (APC, Oyo North) titled, “Worrisome dimension of cyber-crime and insecurity: Urgent need for concerted efforts to secure Nigeria’s cyberspace,” the Senate mandated its Committee on ICT and Cybercrime to immediately convoke a national stakeholders’ conference on cyber security with a view to stimulating a collective reflection among relevant stakeholders and articulating a national and broad-based approach to keeping the country ahead of the challenge.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary yesterday, called on stakeholders to come together and find a lasting solution to the menace.
He also warned that strategic institutions of government maybe attacked if urgent steps were not put in place by the relevant agencies to curtail the spread.
Ekweremadu said: “They hack into our e-mails everyday. I am also a victim. They open social media accounts in my name and I have said it that I am not on social media.”
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (U.S.) have pledged support for fight against cybercrime, financial fraud and other cross-border related crimes in Nigeria.
At the opening of the second yearly conference on financial fraud and cybercrime, organised by the Ministry of Justice in conjunction with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the organised private sector yesterday in Abuja, both countries acknowledged Nigeria’s progressive developmental stride in recent times, particularly in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT). They warned of the consequences of an unregulated and unguarded ICT sector.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, represented by Oliver Blake, who noted that financial fraud and cybercrime cut across international borders, urged Nigeria not to relent in its efforts if she must attain her full potentials.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, on his part, noted the need for both the government and citizens to be proactive in the fight against cybercrime, stressing that one moment of inaction could have devastating consequences.
In another development, the Senate has resolved to investigate the alleged fraud in the estimated fees charged by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Dino Melaye who alleged that the company had been subjecting indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to unfair payment of fees that breaches the rules of transparency.
Melaye further alleged that the AEDC officials were always at his residence to change his pre-paid meter to a new one only to remove it three weeks after.
He also claimed that the company placed his house on estimated billing, which is very astronomical and unfair.The motion was immediately put to vote and it was unanimously agreed that it would be debated today, after which it would be referred to the committee.