Federal Government Plans to Amend Cybercrimes Act, says National Security Adviser

The National Security Adviser, Mr Nuhu Ribadu, revealed on Wednesday that the Federal Government is taking steps to amend the 2015 Cybercrimes Act. Ribadu made this known during a two-day conference organized by the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) in Abuja. The conference, held under the theme “Cybersecurity: A Digital Transformative Tool in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals,” aimed to address the challenges posed by cyber threats and explore ways to enhance cybersecurity in Nigeria.

Representing the National Security Adviser, Dr Bala Fakandu, Manager of Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), emphasized the importance of protecting critical information systems and ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Ribadu acknowledged the emergence of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain, which are being exploited by malicious actors for cybercrimes.

He stated, “As we embrace the rapid evolution of technology, we must be mindful of new and exciting areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain technologies that will continue to affect the future. This is bearing in mind that criminal elements are already exploiting new technologies to progress their illicit activities.”

The Federal Government recognizes cybersecurity incident management and the protection of Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) as crucial components for national development. Ribadu highlighted the forthcoming Presidential Order on the designation and protection of CNII, awaiting President Bola Tinubu’s assent. This order is expected to strengthen Nigeria’s efforts in achieving economic prosperity, national development, and national security objectives.

Ribadu further emphasized the need for continuous cybersecurity awareness due to the increasing cyber threats from both state and non-state actors. He commended Nigeria’s progress in cybersecurity, particularly in fostering international cooperation and collaborations to combat cyber threats, positioning the country as a trusted player in the global digital space.

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Mr Ade Shoyinka, the President of CSEAN, expressed concerns about the escalating activities of cybercriminals and their impact on Nigeria’s ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Shoyinka stressed that technology and cybersecurity play a significant role in attaining the SDGs. He called for collaboration between governments, the private sector, and civil society groups to effectively combat cyber threats.

In his remarks, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, highlighted the UK’s commitment to engaging with Nigeria in promoting global growth and security. He emphasized the importance of stakeholder engagement across the private sector and civil society to understand Nigeria’s cyber ecosystem and support the country in combating cybercrime.

The conference included technical sessions, a hackathon, and the presentation of a research report on cyber threats to Nigeria in 2022. It served as a platform for experts to exchange ideas and propose strategies to address cybersecurity challenges in the country.

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