The Nigerian government has restated its commitment to strengthening cyber security as the country’s digital economy is rapidly growing.
The Country’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami gave the assurance at the opening of the Cyber security Stakeholder Capacity Building Workshop in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital in collaboration with the World Bank.
Professor Pantami said in the ever-evolving world of technology, cyber threats have become a constant threat to businesses and organisations worldwide.
“It is important to note that cybersecurity is a global issue, and collaboration between organisations is essential to combating cyber threats,” he said.
In Nigeria, he said the digital economy is rapidly growing, and with that growth comes the need for heightened cyber security measures and robust partnerships like the one we have with the bank.
Quoting a recent report by the Africa Cyber security Report which says cyber- attacks in Africa have increased by 300% over the last year alone, the Minister said this trend is particularly worrisome, given that Africa’s digital economy is on the rise.
The World Bank has predicted that Africa’s digital economy could be worth $180 billion by 2025, representing a significant opportunity for growth and development across the continent.
He said this growth could be severely impeded if businesses and organisations do not take the necessary steps to protect themselves against cyber threats.
For this reason, the Minister stressed that having a robust cybersecurity strategy cannot be overstated, and it is essential to protect our digital infrastructure, businesses, and citizens”
According to Pantami , the workshop a crucial step towards securing Nigeria’s cyber space and in building the capacity of our stakeholders to tackle cyber security challenges effectively.
“It aligns with our National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, which identifies cybersecurity as a priority area. Our strategy aims to build a digital economy that is safe, secure, and resilient. Furthermore, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy is focused on eight pillars, and one of them is developing a robust digital infrastructure.”
He recalled how Nigeria was able to counter cyber threats during the recent 2023 general election.
Professor Pantami assured that Nigeeian Government was committed to building a resilient cybersecurity, hence the development of and review of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy in 2021, which provides a comprehensive framework for addressing cybersecurity challenges in the country
He listed other steps taken by the government to ensure a secure cyberspace by developing three World Class National Security Centers.
“Whilst the cybersecurity issues are handled and or escalated to relevant channels by the Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT), Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) and Security Operations Center (SOC) that we established in the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Galaxy Backbone Ltd (GBB), privacy concerns and issues are also being addressed along with all relevant stakeholders through our newly established Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB)”
While appreciating the World Bank for its various interventions in Nigeria toward the full implementation of a digital economy, the Minister emphasised that a secured cyberspace requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society organisations, and academia.
“We are also partnering with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and other institutions to ensure that our cyberspace is more secure. This is because the task of securing our cyberspace cannot be achieved by the government alone,” he said.
Some of the dignitaries in attendance include the Digital Development Specialist, World Bank HQ, Washington DC, i Hyea Won Lee, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta, National Commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau,Director General NIGCOMSAT, Turkur Lawal
Others are the representative of the DG ,
National Information Technology Development Agency, among other industry players who called for a resilient and robust cyber security culture in Nigeria as well as an improved collaboration for the general well-being of Nigeria’s cyberspace.