It is no longer news that in Nigeria today, several internet assisted crimes known as cybercrimes are committed daily in various forms, such as fraudulent electronic mails, pornography, identity theft, hacking, cyber harassment, spamming, Automated Teller Machine spoofing, piracy and phishing.
Even though this disturbing trend continues seemingly unabated, Nigeria’s determination to transform from a natural resource-based economy into a digital or knowledge-driven economy is taking a positive direction with recent campaigns and strategic collaborations of stakeholders in the digital sector.
The Federal Government has introduced and embarked on various initiatives towards the actualisation of a digital economy agenda and to enable online safety.
Essentially, the creation of frameworks for the development, standardisation, monitoring, evaluation and supervision of Information Technology (IT) practices in Nigeria represents the core duty of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), as the institution of government saddled with the general responsibility of developing and regulating the sector in the country.
Clearly, the Act establishing NITDA has mandated it to operate and implement the national IT policy; ensure empowerment of citizens by developing proficient and globally competitive manpower; and enter into strategic alliances with the private sector, as well as international organisations, for the actualisation of the IT vision.
Furthermore, the Agency has been granted statutory powers to enhance national security and law enforcement; serve as a clearing house for all IT procurement and services in the public sector; develop human capital with emphasis on creating and supporting a knowledge-based economy; as well as ensure accountable, responsive and transparent governance, using the instrument of information technology.
From the foregoing, two key aspects can be identified as the pillars which the broad mandates and responsibilities of NITDA stand upon, as derived from the law establishing it.
First, that the prospect of government successfully delivering on its objectives is largely dependent on the quality of cooperation and collaboration it is able to build with relevant stakeholders for the benefit of the economy and national security.
Secondly, that government’s capacity to enhance national security and law enforcement would significantly determine the level of safety and protection provided for operators in the digital economy.
In view of the foregoing, NITDA needs to build strategic partnerships in addressing major challenges that could be addressed by technological infrastructures.
These collaborations should serve as vital launching pads for the development, growth and sustainable expansion of the IT sector, and by extension the promotion of economic wellbeing.
The existence of an effective national security system remains one of the key foundations for the development of a stable, viable and prosperous economy.
The combination of a safe, secure environment and quality, strategic alliances between the regulator and stakeholders can foster deliberate engagement for development in the IT sector to tackle the frequent causes of cybercrimes among young online fraudsters, known as yahoo-yahoo boys.
Considering the imperative of strategic partnerships with stakeholders and the enhancement of law enforcement, the Agency needs to have a highly workable relationship with the police and anti-corruptions agencies, most importantly with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that continues to battle online scammers and fraudsters on a daily basis.
I also strongly believe that beyond collaborative efforts in addressing online fraudulent activities, with advancement in technology, there should be cutting edge security and intelligence gathering tools that can be deployed in tackling the increasing level of terrorism, insurgency, kidnapping, armed banditry, sectarian and communal crises across the country. In the developed world, artificial intelligence and the deployment of drones have been very effective in this regard.
It is worthy of note that while receiving a delegation from Nigerian Army Land Forces Simulation Centre in his office, the director-general of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa recently admitted that the adoption of technologies in executing warfare has become pronounced in modern time because wars are no longer being fought through physical presence but by means of technology.
His statement is a blunt reality and a strong message that through strategic partnerships as catalyst for driving economic development towards peace and stability, technological innovations can help security services.
But beyond these laudable collaborations, there is still the need to ensure all resources/modalities are put in place in order to achieve positive outcomes.
The government must also fast track technological interventions to assist the military to strengthen its capability and preparedness to tackle the plethora of threats of attacks against the nation.
Specifically, IT will help enable the nation to identify potential threats, share information more readily, provide mechanisms to protect the nation, and develop response capabilities.
About the Author: Inyene Ibanga Writes from Wuye District, Abuja.
Source: Premium Times