By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami yesterday disclosed the plan of the Federal Government to train more Cyber Security Experts in the country.
This is just as he said Nigerian students would be exposed to digital literacy to be more critical online.
Pantami disclosed this during the flag-off ceremony for the Nigerian Communication Cyber security Enlightenment programme for secondary schools organised by the Nigerian Commissions Commission (NCC) in Abuja.
The Minister, however, said that the country would leverage on the second pillar, which was Digital Literacy and Skills Development and the sixth pillar, which is National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a digital Nigeria.
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 cyber security experts.
“No one will want to do online transactions with our banks if we know that online transactions are not safe.
“We want to make sure that people can feel safe when they are online. We know that Nigeria does not have a nice image abroad when it comes to issues of cyber security; people commit crimes and claime to be Nigerians.
“What we are doing apart from the Soft Infrastructure pillar; we are also making sure that pillar number two will ensure that our youths (primary and secondary school students), are 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 cyber bully 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 risk involved in cyberspace.
Danbatta said that it was no News that had become an indispensable element of everyday life and for that reason, the children and youths are not excluded because they were involved in 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 potential harmful contents.
“The pervasiveness of the Internet and proliferation of mobile phones makes 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 Youths constitute a large portion.
“This means that children and youths are the most active participants online via social network sites, making, them potential victims of grooming, inappropriate content, and exposure to unscrupulous actors and the likes.”
Speaking further he said, the EVC assured that the commission was committed to ensure that children and youth were protected from cyber criminals by putting in place the following initiatives, amongst others.
He informed that there would be a nationwide cyber security awareness campaign, starting with the FCT, and extend to all the 36 States of the Federation, to sensitise secondary school children on 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 plan 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 conformance with the Cyber Security Strategy contact for international coordination of Cyber security 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 pmtection of child online and protection of communications infrastructure,” he said.