At the 26th National Conference and Exhibition of the Nigeria Computer Society, Nigeria’s Communication Minister Adebayo Shittu revealed that Nigeria loses close to half a billion dollars annually to cybercrime.

“Our growing dependence on digital infrastructure introduces and poses grave threats to national security.’’ - Adebayo Shittu

“National safety and security include the nation’s cyberspace. Our growing dependence on digital infrastructure introduces and poses grave threats to national security. It is quite shocking that Nigeria loses about N127 billion which is 0.08 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), yearly to cybercrime”, the minister said.

Despite this, ICT is contributing greatly to Nigeria’s GDP, with estimates putting this contribution at about 10%. ICT and related services have created over 10 million jobs in the past 10 years, and over $32 billion in foreign direct investment.

Nigeria is currently the second largest ICT market in Africa, with the number of internet subscribers in Nigeria rising from less than one million in 2003 to over 80 million in November 2015.

A Cybercrime Advisory Council has been inaugurated with the aim of tackling cybercrime in the country, and computer emergency response teams have been set up through the Office of the National Security Adviser and NITDA.

The Nigerian Army is already using some technology platforms, the minister added, saying that his ministry was engaging with the military on possible technology collaboration to tackle the activities of insurgents and other security challenges in the country.

The Government is using electronic platforms such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) to keep track of public finance, and these have resulted in significant savings and elimination of waste in governance.

“Though great strides have been made in these areas, there is still a lot to do to secure our dear nation. We all know that ICT is the globally recognized enabler in all spheres of development and it is most appropriate for NCS to step in by offering the nation an authentic platform to explore the role of ICT in national safety and security. Using ICT and Geographical Information Systems to tackle Boko Haram, Niger Delta militancy and other security challenges with enhanced efficiency and professionalism has become a matter of paramount importance”, the minister added

The President of the Nigeria Computer Society, Prof. Sola Aderounmu, also called for the Government and the private sector to collaborate in order to drive the ICT industry in the country, considering the potential of ICT to contribute to the economy, and also noting that the challenges that the sector faces are significant.

Cover photo via Nigeria Computer Society

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