President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is witnessing a rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension.
He said this during the launch of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 at the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja.
He called for an overhaul of the national strategy on cybersecurity with more emphasis on exploring the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.
He urged the National Security Adviser to continue to coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that the internet and cyberspace were used for the enhancement of national security and economic progression.
He said 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 the launch of the 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.
“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.
“However, like many other countries across the globe, the growth and development of the internet is accompanied by significant problems.
He said the internet and social media had witnessed a surge in the propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data.
He said the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 would provide the necessary platform to effectively confront the dynamic nature of threats in our cyberspace.
“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.
“To this end, the document will provide the platform for technical education, digital skills acquisition and indigenous technology production, thereby creating job opportunities for our youth and supporting our resolve to alleviate poverty and boost our economy,’’ Buhari said.
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, said 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.
Monguno said many platforms including banking, communication and military had come under more threat, with personal information easily distorted and explored, necessitating a review of the 2014 National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS).
The NSA said the reviewed document will work towards mitigating the “suffocating presence and unpredictable threats’’ of cybercrimes.