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Nigeria’s cybersecurity strategy under review with use of social media as focus

  • NSA says EndSARS protesters used social media to “spread subversive contents” and escalate tension and looting

National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) on Wednesday said the #EndSARS protesters used the social media to spread subversive contents and escalate tension and looting in the country.

General Monguno spoke at the Multi-Stakeholders workshop for the Validation of the Draft National Cybersecurity Strategy 2020″ in Abuja, saying that the Federal Government will soon unveil the National Cyber security Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2020 to check digital threats and enhance national security and economic growth.

His words: “We are witnesses to the use of social media to disseminate subversive content to incite violence and heightened tension, causing unrest and sparking widespread looting and destruction across the country.”

He added that the government has been proactive to develop policies that will check threats from the use of cyberspace.

Monguno, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Aliyu Ganda Mohammed, stated that the multi-stakeholders committee was inaugurated on September 10, 2020 to review the NCPS 2014.

He noted that the review is to strengthen the existing cyber policy as stipulated that it should be reviewed every five years.

According to him, “There is no gainsaying that cyberspace has become an engine for the enhancement of Nigeria national security, economic transformation and national development.”

He however said the sophistication of cyberspace comes with inherent challenges. “The threats posed by cyber terrorists, and the use of the internet has brought social media circulation of hate speech and seditious messages. It is almost impossible to overstate the challenges.”

Speaking, the Chairman of the NCPS 2014 Review Committee, Mr Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, said if cyberspace is not regulated as exemplified in recent time with fake news in the social media that could result in civic unrest.

“The current draft document is a result of multi stakeholder efforts with due cognizant of a whole of society approach while leveraging technology for the well-being of Nigeria and for Nigerians.”

He said the validation workshop is to evaluate the entire process to fine tune it. “I assure our commitment and resolve to delivering an implementable policy for Nigeria.”

Chairman, Senate Committee, ICT and Cybercrime, Hassan Ibrahim Hadejia, said for the first time in a long while, Nigeria is taking the issue of cybercrime very seriously. “In ICT, if you are reactive, you are finished, you always have to make sure that you are one step ahead.”

He called for collaboration between government agencies and the private sector towards the process of change.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami who was represented by the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Inuwa Abdullahi, said never before has cybersecurity become more critical than it is today and that it was due to convergence between offline and online lives.

“Anybody that uses any device that connects to the internet needs to understand and protect himself and have to join the cyber security campaign.”

He said the agencies under the ministry are leveraging on this to protect people. “We can collaborate to do it together,” he urged the participants.

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