By Emmanuel Elebeke
The National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) has warned the global community to desist from tainting the entire Nigerian citizens with a single brush for the alleged crimes of a few.
The Acting Director-General of the agency, Kashifu Abdallah Inuwa, who issued the warning on Thursday said the reports in international media indicting scores of Nigerians for Cybercrimes in the United States and the recent publication of a foreign-owned software company hitherto operating in Nigeria indicting its Nigerian employees for lack of integrity and duplicity should not be issued as yardstick to judge the rest of Nigerians who are working very hard in their various fields of endeavour.
He therefore, encouraged other nations who are friends of Nigeria to caution their local authorities from treating innocent Nigerians travelling or living in other countries in a derogatory manner or denying Nigerians services without proof of any crime.
‘‘The attention of the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) has been drawn to reports in international media indicting scores of Nigerians for Cybercrimes in the United States. We also note a recent publication of a foreign-owned software company hitherto operating in Nigeria indicting its Nigerian employees for lack of integrity and duplicity.
‘‘For the avoidance of doubt, NITDA is resolute that the action of a few individuals does not represent thousands of hardworking professional Nigerians with exemplary careers in Information Technology. Nigerian technology entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups, and midsized companies have continued to blaze the trail in innovation and service provisioning in Africa and the world.
‘‘We also celebrate thousands of Nigerian professionals who currently work and contribute to the development of innovation and Information Technology in leading multinationals operating globally.
‘‘NITDA is concerned that knee jerk reactions following these allegations may lead to poor treatment of Nigerians living outside Nigeria or denial of certain financial services that may hamper economic growth or frustrate investments into Nigerian companies especially start-ups who need investments to sustain innovation.
It is grossly unfair to taint an entire nation with a single brush for the alleged crimes of a few.
‘‘NITDA also acknowledges the hard work and commitment of several law enforcement agencies including the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for their dedication to investigations and prosecuting cybercriminals.’’
He called on all stakeholders such as financial and security regulators, banks, payment infrastructure and aggregate companies etc. to proactively work together with the Agency to entrench positive cybersecurity practices and propose policy solutions to buck this trend.
He said NITDA in exercise of its mandate as contained in Section 6 (l) of the NITDA Act 2007, which mandates it to propose policies and legislation to improve cybersecurity, will in the coming weeks summon a critical stakeholder session of all stakeholders to assess our collective performance in preventing cybercrimes with a view at proposing ideas and policies to combat this scorching menace of cybercrimes. He urged all stakeholders to prepare proposals and ideas to improve preventive measures to curtail cybercrimes.