X-raying Monguno’s Quests to ‘Entrench’ Cybersecurity
By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
The National Security Adviser, NSA, retired Major-General Babagana Monguno had on September 14, 2021 presided over the 7th Meeting of the National Advisory Council and reviewed the emerging risks in the cyberspace.
The session also discussed modalities on how to facilitate and strengthen ongoing initiatives towards the Implementation of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021.
This is coming amidst the declaration of Lekki in Lagos as the hub of cybercrimes in Nigeria by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in early September (this month).
Just of recent, operatives of the Ilorin Zonal Command of EFCC arrested 30 suspected internet fraudsters in a sting operation at Kwara State University, Malete.
It is a statement of fact that cybercriminals are also on rampage across the nook and cranny of the country.
In May this year, I wrote in an article titled: “Cybercrimes in Nigeria and the Security Implication”, that with about 3.9 billion users globally, the technological advancement of the internet, in the light of easiness and efficiency, cannot be quantified.
However, its applications to some extent still poses a security threat leading to emergence of various cybercrimes.
According to Nigeria’s National Security Strategy 2019, a document released by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), internet-assisted crimes have the potential of causing significant damage to the country’s security and economy sectors which are translated in form of cybercrime, cyber espionage, cyber conflict and cyber terrorism.
Additionally, there is also another category of cybercrime in the form of ‘cyberbullying’. This involve the use of internet, cell phones or other devices to send or post texts or images and videos especially through social media with the sole intention of hurting or embarrassing other people.
In Nigeria, bandits and kidnappers, insurgents and other criminal elements are fond of sharing footage on social media displaying the kind of torture and harassments they inflict on their victims after being abducted.
It is gratifying to note that strategic plans on how to tackle cybercrimes have been unveiled in times past.
The National Advisory Council on Cybersecurity was set up in 2016 and mandated with checking rising cybercrimes and formulating programs for implementing the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015.
On the other hand, the NCPS which was launched in 23rd February 2021 was drafted to put some measures in place to protect the nation from cyber threats.
Meanwhile, Monguno once lamented how cybercriminals have been wreaking havoc on many Critical National Information Infrastructures (CNII) in the country. He added that such an ugly development necessitated a protection plan for these national assets.
During the recently convened meeting on cybersecurity, the ONSA updated the National Advisory Council on the identification, designation and protection of Critical National Information Infrastructure as specified in the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Protection etc.) Act 2015.
Consequently, the Council deliberated on the development of a protection plan and guidelines for the already identified Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) as part of ongoing initiatives to achieve the strategic objectives of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021.
The Office of the National Security Adviser, in addition briefed the Council on the progress made towards the planning of the 3-Months Cybersecurity Sensitisation Workshops across seven sectors from September to December 2021.
These sectors include Telecommunications, Defence and Security, Education, Finance and capital market, Energy, Professional organizations, the Private Sector and Judiciary.
The workshop series will provide information, strengthen coordination, and build capacity of relevant stakeholders on their responsibilities under the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy.
However, it is good to note that the delicate nature of Nigeria’s economy is responsible for the surge in cyber-misconducts, thus, high unemployment rate and the desire to make quick wealth indulge individuals into committing cybercrimes.
Therefore, this threat can surely be curtailed through the strict enforcement of cybercrimes laws, provision of lucrative opportunities in the economy and information sharing among others.
Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi is a Staff Writer with PRNigeria. He wrote from Wuye, Abuja.
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