Nigerian govt to amend Cybercrime Act – NSA


The National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, announced on Wednesday that the Federal Government is taking steps to amend the 2015 Cybercrimes Act. Mr. Ribadu made this statement 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 growing concerns surrounding cyber threats and explore ways to combat them effectively.

In his address, Mr. Ribadu acknowledged the rapid advancement of technology and its impact on the cybersecurity landscape. He emphasized the need for the government to stay ahead of cybercriminals who exploit emerging technologies for illicit activities. The amendment to the Cybercrimes Act is part of the government’s efforts to strengthen Nigeria’s cybersecurity framework and ensure the protection of individuals, organizations, and critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

Representing Mr. Ribadu at the conference, Dr. Bala Fakandu, the Manager of Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), highlighted the importance of collaboration between government agencies, private sector organizations, and cybersecurity experts in addressing the challenges posed by cybercriminals. He stressed the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to develop effective strategies and frameworks that can keep pace with evolving cyber threats.

The amendment to the Cybercrimes Act is expected to address several key areas of concern, including enhancing the legal framework for combating cybercrimes, expanding the scope of offenses covered by the act, and providing more robust mechanisms for investigation and prosecution. The updated legislation will also aim to strengthen cooperation and information sharing between national and international cybersecurity agencies to combat cyber threats that transcend borders.

Furthermore, the amendment will likely emphasize the importance of public awareness and education on cybersecurity. It is essential to educate individuals, businesses, and government institutions about the risks associated with cybercrimes and the preventive measures they can take to safeguard their digital assets. This includes promoting best practices for password security, data encryption, secure browsing, and safe online behavior.

The Federal Government’s commitment to amending the Cybercrimes Act demonstrates its recognition of the evolving nature of cyber threats and the need for robust legislation to tackle them effectively. By updating the legal framework, enhancing collaboration, and prioritizing cybersecurity awareness and education, Nigeria can bolster its defenses against cybercriminals and create a safer digital environment for all.

In conclusion, the amendment to the 2015 Cybercrimes Act represents an important step towards strengthening Nigeria’s cybersecurity framework. By adapting to the evolving cyber threat landscape and leveraging the expertise of cybersecurity professionals, the government aims to protect individuals, organizations, and critical infrastructure from cybercrimes. With a comprehensive legal framework and a collaborative approach, Nigeria can foster a secure digital ecosystem that promotes sustainable development and progress.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, emphasized the importance of cybersecurity in enabling a better and more sustainable future. Speaking at a conference on cybersecurity, he highlighted the need to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical information systems. Ribadu acknowledged the rapid evolution of technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain, but also cautioned about the potential exploitation of these technologies by criminal elements.

In response to the evolving cyber threat landscape, the Federal Government is taking steps to amend the Cybercrimes Act 2015. The inclusion of AI and virtual assets in the amendment is being considered in consultation with stakeholders. The government recognizes the significance of cybersecurity incident management and the protection of Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) as vital components for national development. A Presidential Order on the designation and protection of CNII is currently awaiting President Bola Tinubu’s assent. This order aims to enhance Nigeria’s efforts in achieving progressive economic prosperity, national development, and national security objectives.

Ribadu emphasized the importance of continuous cybersecurity awareness due to the increasing cyber threats from both state and non-state actors. He commended Nigeria’s strides in cybersecurity, citing the country’s efforts in fostering international cooperation and collaborations to combat cyber threats. Nigeria’s commitment to cybersecurity has positioned the country as a trusted player in the global digital space.

By prioritizing cybersecurity and taking steps to amend legislation, Nigeria demonstrates its commitment to addressing emerging cyber threats and ensuring the protection of critical infrastructure and information systems. The recognition of the role of technology, such as AI and blockchain, in the future highlights the need to stay ahead of cybercriminals and leverage innovative solutions to safeguard national security. With international cooperation and continuous awareness, Nigeria can maintain its position as a trusted participant in the global digital landscape while fostering sustainable development and prosperity.

Ade Shoyinka, the President of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), highlighted the critical role of cybersecurity in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. He emphasized that without adequate proactive measures to combat cybercrime, Nigeria’s chances of attaining the SDGs would be jeopardized.

The SDGs, consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets, serve as a global roadmap for sustainable development. In today’s interconnected world, technology plays a vital role in various aspects of human life and development. However, with the increasing reliance on technology, the risks and threats associated with cybercrime have also grown. Therefore, addressing cybersecurity concerns becomes imperative to ensure the successful implementation of the SDGs.

Shoyinka emphasized that cybersecurity and technology are intertwined, and neglecting the importance of cybersecurity would have severe consequences for Nigeria’s progress towards the SDGs. As technology continues to advance and transform societies, it is crucial to recognize the role of cybersecurity as an enabler for sustainable development. Protecting critical information systems, safeguarding data privacy, and ensuring secure digital infrastructure are essential components in harnessing the potential of technology for positive change.

By prioritizing cybersecurity and implementing proactive measures, Nigeria can create a safer digital environment that fosters trust, innovation, and sustainable development. Collaboration among government agencies, private organizations, academia, and cybersecurity experts is vital to develop comprehensive strategies and frameworks to combat cyber threats effectively. Investing in cybersecurity capacity building, awareness campaigns, and robust cybersecurity infrastructure will contribute to Nigeria’s overall resilience against cybercrime and support the country’s efforts in achieving the SDGs.

Shoyinka’s call for recognizing the role of technology and cybersecurity in the pursuit of the SDGs serves as a reminder that a secure digital landscape is crucial for sustainable development. By adopting a proactive and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity, Nigeria can safeguard its digital ecosystem, protect critical infrastructure, and ensure that technology becomes a driving force in achieving the SDGs by 2030.

Ade Shoyinka, the President of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), expressed concern about the increasing prevalence of cybercriminal activities and their negative impact on economies. He highlighted that certain services related to cybercrime are now being openly distributed, posing a significant challenge to combatting these criminal activities.

Shoyinka emphasized the availability of cryptocurrencies as a factor that has facilitated anonymous transactions and further fueled the growth of ransomware-as-a-service. He mentioned the Genesis Marketplace as an example, which operates on both the dark web and the public internet, providing a platform for attackers to purchase digital fingerprints, malware, and stolen credentials. This ease of access to malicious tools and services has lowered the entry barrier for aspiring cybercriminals and amplified the scale of cyber threats.

The President of CSEAN stressed the detrimental impact of cybercrime on Nigeria’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He emphasized the need for a collective response from governments, the private sector, and civil society to effectively counter cyber threats. By joining forces and implementing robust cybersecurity measures, these stakeholders can mitigate the risks posed by cybercriminals and safeguard progress towards the SDGs.

Dr. Richard Montgomery, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, reiterated their commitment to engaging constructively with Nigeria to promote global growth and security. He emphasized the importance of collaboration and capacity building in combating cybercrime. The British High Commission continues to support Nigeria in various cybersecurity initiatives and works closely with stakeholders across the private sector and civil society to gain a comprehensive understanding of Nigeria’s cyber ecosystem.

The conference hosted by CSEAN featured technical sessions, a hackathon, and the presentation of a research report on cyber threats specific to Nigeria in 2022. Such events provide a platform for experts, practitioners, and stakeholders to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and strengthen collective efforts in the fight against cybercrime. By fostering collaboration and awareness, Nigeria can enhance its cybersecurity capabilities and mitigate the risks associated with cyber threats, thereby safeguarding its digital landscape and contributing to the achievement of sustainable development goals.

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