President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday called for a revision of the national cyber security strategy.
Bukhari said more emphasis should be placed on internet research for opportunities for economic growth, improving knowledge and mitigating crime.
He spoke at the launch of the National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy (NCPS) in 2021 in Abuja, the details of which are contained in a statement by his spokesman Garbe Shehu.
According to Buhari: “I urge the National Security Adviser to continue to coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that our Internet and cyberspace are used to improve national security and economic progress.
“I am convinced that together we can pave the way for creating new opportunities to introduce Nigeria into a bright future driven by a prosperous cyberspace and digital economy.”
The President noted that the Federal Government had made some major policy decisions to increase the penetration of the Internet into the daily lives of citizens, especially for utilitarian purposes, by launching the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 in March 2020; National policy and strategy of digital economy 2020 – 2030; National identity program, treasury single account schemes and bank number.
“All of these initiatives serve as a means to address many of the economic and security challenges facing our country, while providing us with a platform to improve accountability and transparency in our unwavering decision to fight corruption.
“However, like many other countries around the world, the growth and development of the Internet is accompanied by significant problems. “We are witnessing an increase in threats from cybercriminals, internet financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to provoke arrests,” the president said.
He added that the internet and social media have seen an increase in the spread of hate speech, fake news, rebel and treacherous messages, as well as the risk of violating personal and government-sensitive data.
“It is almost impossible to overestimate the challenges. Some global events such as the rapid emergence of new technologies, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the emergence of 5G technology have further expanded the scope and diversification of these cyber threats.
“In October 2020, we all witnessed the escalation of the use of social media to spread subversive messages and incite violence, which played a role in escalating tensions, provoking unrest and inciting widespread looting and destruction across the country.”
President Buhari said the Federal Government has proactively taken steps over the past few years to ensure the progressive use of the Internet and cyberspace.
He added: “2014. The first national cybersecurity policy and strategy was developed in order to provide the necessary roadmap for the implementation of our national cybersecurity program. This national effort has paved the way for Nigeria to achieve numerous milestones in cyber security over the past six years.
“Therefore, in order to continue this achievement and set ourselves up for enhanced engagement in cyberspace, it has become expedient to review the National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy 2014 and develop a comprehensive national cyber security policy and strategy 2021 for the common good of our country.”
The President said that the national cyber security policy and strategy in 2021 will provide Nigeria with the necessary platform to effectively deal with the dynamic nature of threats in its cyberspace.
He said: “The document will also provide a framework that will enable us to harness the efforts of our private sector, academia and industry towards progressive economic and national development.
“To this end, the document will provide a platform for technical education, digital skills acquisition and indigenous technology production, thus creating job opportunities for our youth and supporting our decision to alleviate poverty and boost our economy.”