The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has re-stated that the Federal Government is irrevocably committed to strengthening cybersecurity in the country.

Pantami gave this assurance during his keynote address at the Annual Cyber Security Conference organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The conference with the theme, “Strengthening the Security and Resilience of the Nation’s Communications Infrastructure” was attended by representatives from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, telecom companies, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) organisations, cyber security experts as well as representatives of institutions and agencies in the security governance sector and other relevant stakeholders.

According to the Minister, the volume of money being lost to cyber criminals globally explained the government’s commitment to securing the country’s national telecommunications infrastructure through necessary technical, legal and policy initiatives.

Pantami affirmed that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) unveiled by President Buhari on November 28, 2019, is aimed at deepening access to digital services for a more efficiently and effectively run economy. Accordingly, the Minister said the sixth of the eight pillars of the NDEPS thematically focused on ‘Soft Infrastructure’ is conceptualized to improve the cyber security architecture in the country.

“This Conference by the NCC is, therefore, fitting, as it aligns with the digital economy agenda of the government. So, as we deepen access to digital services in the country, I have to say that people need to know that once they are online, they are exposed to risks. For instance, just opening an email that you are not sure of the sender exposes your system and data to risks. Also, using pirated software should be avoided and we must update our software regularly to avoid being target of cyber criminals,” Pantami said.

Speaking earlier, Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, said the maiden annual cyber security summit is in recognition of  the importance and centrality of collaborative efforts in the advancement of cyber security measures to provide precautions and protection of critical communications Infrastructure.

According to Danbatta, “the event was designed to provide a platform for discussion on developing a joint coordination for incidence response for the communication industry, introducing cyber insurance, bridging the cyber workforce gap, strengthening national cooperation, exchange of information, and development of comprehensive strategies that will address the cyber security challenges confronting the communications industry in Nigeria.”

The EVC stated that in addressing cybercrimes and boosting cyber security, technical measures and appropriate legal instruments must be put in place to enhance the resilience and integrity of ICT infrastructure and also to safeguard our activities in the cyberspace.

While restating the Commission’s efforts towards ensuring that the Internet is safer to use, Danbatta emphasized the role of education to mitigate the negative impacts of cybercrime. The EVC highlighted the measures being taken by the Commission as follows:

  • Collaboration with relevant stakeholders to embark on a nationwide cyber security awareness.
  • Establishmet of a Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) Centre.
  • Collaboration with relevant security agencies in the development of the National Cyber Security Policy;
  • Development of Technical Framework for the Use of Social Media Network in Nigeria.
  • Development of contents for consumer awareness and collaboration with stakeholders on the development of Data Privacy and Protection Act; and
  • Carrying out a comprehensive risk and vulnerability assessment of the communications infrastructure and the industry.

The EVC also informed the audience at the conference that the Commission will soon commence a multi-stakeholder process for the development of an Industry Wide Obligation of Minimum Cyber Security Provisions which will apply to all operators.

The plenary session of the conference was followed with four panel discussions focused on: Developing a Joint Coordination for Incidence Response for the Communications Industry; Developing Cyber Insurance Product Stream: Barriers and Incentives; and Regulating Cyber Security Service Provision; and Bridging the Cyber Workforce Gap.

Segun Olugbile, the Managing Partner of Data Analytics Privacy Technology Ltd was part of the panel on Regulating Cyber Security Service Provision. He responded to key policy questions on the Regulating Cyber Security Service Provision – Private owned CSIRTs.  These questions included the following: Are there rules or regulations in place to guide the sector, how are these driven or championed? What does the Cyber security policy/strategy provide for? Are there challenges, in allowing private entities participate in owning private CSIRTS? What are some strategic actions we can put in place to ensure an effective coordinated effort? Among his many responses he emphasized on the following the actionable recommendations.

  1. Cybersecurity should move from the context of national security to development issues

What must change? – The Context from National security to digital cooperation for telecommunications infrastructural and consumer safeguards.

  1. Adopt open and inclusive ownership of National Cybersecurity Program.
  2. Renew commitment to implementing Sectoral CERT Ecosystem Governance Mechanism, a framework for policy making, coordination, supervision and sustainability through collective commitment and sharing of resources which should be provided for within the National Cybersecurity Governance framework.
  3. Adopt regulation by proxy, creating self-driven regulatory economy around cybersecurity program by empowering CERT operators to implement cybersecurity audit and compliance under the regulatory directives of National operators such NCC, CBN, NAICOM and so on. Such regulations will stimulate innovation and cybersecurity economy.
  4. Government should subscribe to private CERT services with appropriate safeguards and guidelines for the protection of national data.
  5. Stakeholders and government should work together to develop standards, guidelines and best practices for implementing sectoral CERT and adoption of common framework.
  6. Implement and strengthen sectoral CERT using regulatory standards, guidelines and best practices.
  7. Adopt sanction driven regulation to stimulate responsible actions and cooperation from operators and the stakeholders.
  8. Prioritise cybersecurity, strengthen, consolidate and expand the conference and stakeholder’s engagement in partnership with industry and stakeholders.

For more information about the conference click here


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