The U.S. on Wednesday pledged to support Nigeria in the fight against cybercrime and financial fraud.
A statement issued by the U.S. Embassy quoted Amb. Stuart Symington, as saying this at the Second Annual Conference on Combatting Financial Fraud, Cybercrime, and Cross-Border Crimes on Tuesday.
The conference with the theme `U.S.-Nigerian cooperation in combating cybercrime and financial fraud,’ was organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the National Information Technology Development Agency.
Symington said: “there is not a country in the world that is kept secure day and night, year after year by anything other than the people of that country.
“They are to national security what every user of a computer is to internet security, they are the critical link.”
The ambassador expressed the need to set up appropriate legal frameworks, deploy computer emergency response teams in critical sectors, and develop national and international tools that will work to combat cybercrime.
He explained the internet has leveled the playing field for all citizens, because anyone in the world can compete with, influence, and change what the entire world is doing.
Citing the recent WannaCry worldwide attack, he said “whatever challenges Nigeria is facing, the United States and the global community are confronting those challenges as well”.
He emphasised the need for an immediate response and robust coordination between nations in answer to frequent cyber-attacks and increasingly sophisticated transnational criminal networks.
“The U.S. has partnered with the Nigerian government to combat fraud, financial crimes, money laundering, cybercrime, and cross-border crimes including drug, human, and wildlife trafficking.
`The two countries also continue to work to counter these threats, strengthen information sharing, and develop strategies to work together to protect citizens, resources, and financial networks from dangerous criminal attacks,” he said.
Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice said Nigeria was proactively taking steps to ensure that the Cyber Crime Act of 2015 was implemented.
Representing Malami, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reforms, said the Ministry of Justice was ensuring that cyber crime perpetrators were prosecuted for obstructing national security.
“Our intention is to ensure that Nigeria is proactively implementing our Cyber Crime Act of 2015 and also to ensure that we are implementing the Advanced Fee Fraud Act of 2007.
“We want to ensure that we are looking at cross border crimes that can affect the national security of Nigeria and we are taking proactive steps in that direction.
He said that Nigeria was in a critical situation and if nothing was done to tackle cyber crime issues in the government and across private sector, the country might become subject to gruesome cyber attacks.