The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, on Tuesday, stated that Nigeria was working toward becoming a producer of cybersecurity experts and youth with digital literacy.
Pantami stated this during the inauguration of the Nigerian Communication Cybersecurity Enlightenment programme for secondary schools organised by the Nigerian Commissions Commission (NCC) in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was with a specific interest in online protection of the youth, especially children in public and private schools.
The Minister, however, said that the country would leverage on the second pillar of the campaign, which is Digital Literacy and Skills Development, and the sixth pillar, which is National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, for a digital Nigeria of the digital economy plan.
According to him, we want to expose our young ones to digital literacy and necessary skills and we want to be known as producers of cybersecurity experts.
“No one will want to do online transactions with our banks if campaign the one knows that online transactions are not safe.
“We want to make sure that people can feel safe when they are online. We know that Nigeria is given a bad name when it comes to issues of cybersecurity; people commit crimes and claim to be Nigerians.”
He stated that apart from the Soft Infrastructure pillar the administration was trying to make sure that our youth (primary and secondary school students), were exposed to digital literacy.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, who spoke through Princess Jumai Idonije, Technical Assistant to the Minister, commended NCC for its effort to protect the children from cyberbully and sexual harassment.
Tallen promised to support the commission in its drive to enlighten the young ones.
Earlier, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in his welcome address said that the internet was home to all, adding that children must be enlightened and properly guided on how to manage the risks involved in cyberspace.
Danbatta said that surfing the internet had become an indispensable element of everyday life.
He noted that the children and youth were not excluded because they were involved in the use of new technology applications.
According to him, it is important to note that although the Internet provides countless opportunities for children, it also exposes them to potentially harmful content.
“The pervasiveness of the Internet and proliferation of mobile phones make it difficult for parents/guardians to effectively monitor the online presence of their wards in comparison to the old system of connecting to the Internet via desktops and laptops.
“According to the United Nation’s report on Nations Population Estimates and Projections, which looked at Nigeria’s population from 1960-2019, Children and the Youth constitute a large portion.
“This means that children and the youth are the most active participants online via social network sites, making, the potential victims of grooming, inappropriate content, and exposure to unscrupulous actors and the likes.”
He assured that the commission was committed to ensuring that children and the youth were protected from cybercriminals by putting in place some initiatives.
He informed that there would be a nationwide cybersecurity awareness campaign, starting with the FCT, and extend to all the 36 States of the Federation.
He said that the programme would sensitise secondary school children to avoid cyber-related crimes, such as Cyberbullying, Internet fraud, Identity theft, Online soliciting of minors among others.
He also hinted on the review of the cyber Act 2015 and other plans being put in place to tackle cybercrime.
“In all, the collaborative processes that culminated in fashioning out of the National Cyber Security Policy, National Cyber Security Strategy, and the Cybercrimes ACT 2015, will soon be undergoing review.
“We have commenced the process of establishing a Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) exclusively for the Communications sector in conformity with the Cyber Security Strategy contact for international coordination of Cybersecurity incidents in Nigeria.
“We have also established the Internet Industry Code of Practice, in place for industry-wide standard/obligation of minimum Cyber Security provision for the protection of children online and protection of communications infrastructure,” he said.