By Emeka Aginam
WhileÂ the menace ofÂ Â cybercrime continues to cause more economic harm than good across the globe,Â especially in Nigeria , where the ugly trend has remained unabated, theÂ Senate Committee on Communication has raised alarm over the vulnerability of the Nigerian ICT infrastructure to cyber attack, saying thatÂ Â 95% of the nationâ€™s ICT InfrastructuresÂ areÂ velnerable to cyber attack.
The Senate which is concluding arrangements to put in placeÂ aÂ national workshop on Cybercrime prevention and control slated for next month in Abuja toÂ establish the responsive instruments as the mechanism for legislation and legal framework for national Cybercrime prevention and control, warned that ifÂ nothing is done urgently to address the issue, Nigeria will continue to be a digital colony to developed economies of the world.
The capacity building workshop which is expected to draw a roadmap for a National Policy Framework on Cybercrime, it was gathered, willÂ establish formidable strategies to combat the menace, said to be eating deep into the nationâ€™s soco-ecoomic fabric. The workshop, coming in collaboration with the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC),is expected to ensure that Nigeria is aÂ cyber crime-free zone in the 21st century knowledge economy.
According to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, the whole world is currently facing a great challenge in cybercrime, warningÂ thatÂ NigeriaÂ with about 95 per cent of her ICT infrastructure being wireless can be classified as highly venerable to the emerging menace of cybercrime, with challenges for cyber security. The Senate, he saidÂ is prepared to ensure that the nation does not become a hostage to cyber criminals.
According to him, this is why a national workshop on cybe rcrime prevention and control has become a time-critical assignment and indeed a strategic imperative aimed at addressing the critical and emerging challenges in the nationâ€™s cyberspace.
The capacity building conference which IT experts see as a wake-up option for Nigeria, will have the core objective of registering Nigeriaâ€™s concern and readiness to combat the menace of cybercrime, with the theme- Cybercrime as a National Emergency: Evolving Policy Strategies and Legal Framework for the Protection of Wireless Economy is expected to attract experts acroos the nation and within the ECOWAS sub-region.
The objectives include the establishment of a Roadmap for a National Policy Framework on Cybercrime, to sanitize the negative impact of cybercrime and economy damages to the Nigerian nation, to establish the responsive instruments as the mechanism for legislation and legal Framework for National Cybercrime prevention and control, to identify commensurate policy requirements, standards, needs and incentives for compliance on Guidelines for protecting National Critical Information Infrastructure such as ATMs in banks, base stations, networks and other related infrastructure, are part of the core objectives of the workshop.
While calling on the Nigerian government to brace up for the challenges of cybersecurity, NCC’s Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, thad stated thatÂ the internet today, has become the centre of gravity of the cyber world and computing universe.
Faced with the challenges, he said that governments all over the world are budgeting and spending more on cybercrime and cybersecurity.
According to industry experts,Â includingÂ Professor Charles Uwadia – President Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Chris Uwaje â€“ President Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Prof Oye Ibidapo-Obe, President of Academy of Sciences and former Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem,Â President of ATCON, â€œ time seems to be running out and urgent national action is critical and needed now before the nation becomes a venerable hostage to the cybercrime menace.â€
The solution, the experts say,Â lies in collaborative efforts and involving ICT professional and experts to develop solutions in this special domain.
According to them, it is also important that Nigerian software developers must be specially empowered and protected to control the destiny of our electronic and digital information systems, otherwiseÂ the nation will become a digital colony to others.â€
Expectations from the workshop include, but not limited to the following:
lConvene a National Workshop on Preventing Cybercrime and Cyber-Terrorism: Convene a National Workshop in February 11, 2010 (and regularly thereafter) of leaders of Permanent Members of the National Assembly, Security Council and other key Policy Makers to agree on preventing Cybercrime,
*Establish National Policy, Strategies and Legislation on Cybercrime and Cybersecurity to resolve the following:
lUpgrade the nationâ€™s critical information infrastructure : Ensure that information assurance for national survivability is enhance by upgrading and interfacing our wireless economy with robust Fiber Optic ICT Infrastructure.
*Empower Local Software Developers to take control of Nigeriaâ€™s electronic-digital Content at all significant levels.
lCollaborate with International Cybercrime Institutions: Ensure that Nigeria collaborates with other nations to resolve the challenges of Cybercrime for global peace.
*Set the Goal for a Cybercrime-Free Nigeria: Show the world that Nigeria believes in its existing commitment under the International CybercrimeÂ Forum to collaborate and work to ultimately eliminate all Cybercrime. and Cyber-terrorism act.
â€¢Work with other nations to Increase Warning and Decision Time on Cybercrime and Terrorism: Work with America to end dangerous Cybercrime through policies and strategies.
â€¢Prevent Bio-terror Attacks: Strengthen Nigeria. intelligence collection overseas to identify and interdict intended bio-terrorists before they strike.
â€¢Build Cybercrime and cybersecurity Capacity to Mitigate the Consequences of Cyber Attacks: Engage ICT Professional and security expertsÂ to develop solutions that ensures that decision-makers have the information and communication tools they need to manage their day-to-day operations.
*Protect our Information Network Infrastructure, among others.