The government of Nigeria has launched the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021 aimed at curtailing criminal use of the cyber space in the country.
The document to guide this strategy was unveiled on Tuesday in Abuja by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari who called for an overhaul of the national strategy on cyber security to focus more on exploring the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had taken some major policy decisions to increase penetration of the internet in the country through targeted policies like National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 launched in March 2020; National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030; National Identity Program, Treasury Single Account and Bank Verification Number schemes.
With the launch of the NCPS 2021, the government hopes to provide a safer cyberspace for the citizen to explore.
Sequel to the launch, the President has asked the country’s National Security Adviser to coordinate all efforts towards ensuring cyber security in the country.
Speaking during the event held at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari said, “I urge the National Security Adviser to continue to coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that our Internet and cyberspace are used for the enhancement of national security and economic progression,’’
He expressed confidence that these efforts would pave the way for the creation of new opportunities for a prosperous cyberspace and digital economy in Nigeria.
“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,” the president said.
He, however, noted that like many other countries across the globe, the growth and development of the internet in Nigeria has been accompanied by significant problems.
“We are witnessing a rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension,’’ the President said.
He added that the internet and social media have witnessed a surge for propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data.
“It is almost impossible to overstate the challenges. Some global events such as the rapid emergence of new technologies, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the advent of 5G technology, have further widened the scope and diversification of these cyber threats.
Speaking on steps taken by the government in to ensure progressive use of internet and cyberspace, President Buhari said, “In 2014, the maiden National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy was developed to provide the necessary roadmap for the realisation of our national cybersecurity programme. This national effort paved way for Nigeria to reach numerous cybersecurity milestones over the past six years.
“Therefore, in order to build on this achievement and reposition ourselves for enhanced engagement in cyberspace, it became expedient to review the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2014 and develop a comprehensive National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 for the common good of our country.’’
According to the President, the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 will also provide the framework that would enable Nigerians to harness the efforts of the 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,” he said.
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, in his remarks 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.
He said the reviewed document will work towards mitigating the “suffocating presence and unpredictable threats’’ of cybercrimes.
The NCPS 2021 which is the revised edition of the 2014 National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) was birth to curb the increasing threats faced by many platforms including banking, communication and military.