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One top priority of the Nigerian government is building of an advanced, secured cyberspace so as to provide the enabling environment for economic growth, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has stressed. He ranked cybersecurity top on the list of government’s strategic priorities.

“When a person has control of your cyberspace, automatically he controls your economy, thinking, and everything around you, thereby determining your next action,” said the minister at the recent Cyber Secure Conference 2022 organised by Nigeria Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria, (CSEAN).

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The event was organised with the theme: ‘Cyber Security an Imperative for Tackling Security Challenges in Nigeria.’

According to the minister, the need for cybersecurity prompted the Federal Government to formulate National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), which has Service Infrastructure and Cyber Security as key elements.

“The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has established the Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) to mitigate and combat cybercrime, thereby creating a conducive environment for operations. The essence of this center is to build the confidence of citizens and create awareness and proactively monitor the activities of cyberspace, and issue advisory notices for MDAs to restore services,” said the minister. He was represented by the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.

He noted that computer is gradually integrating into peoples’ lives and society, and the world is changing in ways humanity never imagined.

He added that government depends largely on systems for its operations and services and cyber security is synonymous with the security of the nation, unsecured cyberspace can be used to gather intelligence reports, hence working to curb and combat cyber security is imperative for a country like Nigeria facing security challenges.

Prof. Pantami commended the CSEAN for its contribution toward awareness campaigns to make people conscious of cyber activities.

His words: “More than 90% of cyber breaches are a result of human error, social engineering, or other errors. The more cyber-conscious we are; the fewer damages will occur.”

“The government is building a more proactive systems and awareness in terms of engaging organizations like yours, partnering with other communities, visiting schools, and MDAS to enlighten citizens about being cyber-conscious whenever they go online for their activities or operations.

“Cybersecurity in general has become a phenomenal proportion in terms of the way we build the digital economy. We are working with stakeholders to build CERRT centers to monitor the operations and activities of the Cyberspace and collaborate with experts in case of any attack to help restore services. We are also collaborating with international organizations and train citizens due to ambitious target of achieving 95% digital literacy by the year 2030 which will increase the consumption of digital services.”

Major General Samad Akesode, representing the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, while delivering the welcome address commended CSEAN for organising the conference, stating that the event will help proffer solutions to curb the menace of cybercrime activities bedeviling the country.

In his address, 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.

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