The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the umbrella body for all Information Technology Practitioners in Nigeria, in its advocacy capacity, has called on the government at all levels in Nigeria, to tap into the opportunities in multi-billion dollar Cybersecurity market in Africa and also harness local talents to tame the tide of attacks which have been on increase in the recent times.
These are part of recommendations contained in a communiqué issued at the end of second Stakeholders’ Forum on Cybersecurity held at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), in Abuja, recently.
The Society which was established in 1978 and comprises of various interest groups in the ICT industry, believes that the statistical report that by 2023, the Africa (& Middle East) Cybersecurity market will be valued at about $45 billion, therefore presents Nigeria with huge opportunities to create jobs and leverage experts’ skills to become cyber-battle ready.
“The Nigerian Society is advised to key into the sector and generate jobs. There is also currently a shortfall of 2.3 billion jobs in Cybersecurity, so Nigeria needs to produce Cybersecurity experts,” the President of NCS, Professor Adesina Sodiya, re-echoed.
Interestingly, the Association has over 10,000 professional members across the country and over five hundred thousand student members in the Higher Institutions, Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, and other Accredited Computer Training Centers in Nigeria.
“Since it was established, NCS has been strategic in its advices to members, governments, other competent authorities and the public, on national and international policy matters affecting the computing, information and systems technology industry.
“Consequent upon the Foregoing, the Nigeria Computer Society has observed that Cyber Attacks in Nigeria today, is on the increase”, the President said.
Sodiya explained that the observation was based on current local and International reports.
“Individuals, governments, and corporate organizations are losing huge sum of money and properties due to cyber-attacks. Threat techniques are continually changing, and attacks are getting more sophisticated by the day, it is believed that this trend will continue if nothing is done”, he said.
He expressed NCS’s commitment to IT development in Nigeria which informed the forum geared towards addressing the factors mitigating efficient use of IT for leapfrogging development.
Meanwhile, the Forum resolved among other things; that due to impact of COVID-19 on health sector cybersecurity space, the Government should include the health sector infrastructure in the list of critical National Infrastructure and there should be a deliberate effort to come up with programs to build the capacity of young Nigerians in the field of Cybersecurity hence government needs to invest in catching the young ones.
“There is need for Government to train more of our youths on Ethical Hacking and how to use historical data through the help of artificial intelligence to fight cybercrime. Theses trainings should be either academic or vocational”, the NCS’ Forum noted.
“The Government should ensure that all organizations have a security policy in place. Chief Executive Officers should be trained to identify the sensitive data used in their organizations.
Participants also recommended that cybersecurity trainings should also be included at the Basic education level; “the trainings should be made interesting for example the training can be in form of games for kids to help develop their interest”.
“There is need to develop our own internal resources and technology to store our sensitive data as a nation. NITDA should enforce the use of .gov emails in all government agencies for security reasons.
“There should be enhanced enforcement of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation NDPR laws. Chief Executives who violate the laws should be sanctioned.
“The Computer Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) should look at ways to develop professional certifications for Nigerians locally. This will save the cost of Professionals getting it internationally.
“The Government and private sector should take Cybersecurity awareness to the grassroots to enlighten the underserved and rural people. This can be done via radio jingles, cartoons, traditional dance, billboards, and media houses.
The NCS Forum also suggested that government should introduce internet monitoring, to blacklist fraudulent sites and fake news sites, among other recommendations.
The Stakeholders Forum was well attended by participants form the various sectors in Nigeria.