from Bello Wakili

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for an overhaul of national strategy on cyber security, stressing more emphasis on exploring the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.

He made the call at the launching of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 held at the presidential Villa Abuja

President Buhari urged the National Security Adviser to continue to coordinate efforts of stakeholders to ensure the Internet and cyberspace are used for enhancement of national security and economic progression.

The President noted that Government had taken some major policy decisions to increase penetration of the internet in the daily lives of citizens, particularly for the utilitarian purpose, with launch of National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 in March 2020; National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030; National Identity Program, Treasury Single Account and Bank Verification Number schemes.

According to him All these initiatives serve as enablers for tackling many of the economic and security challenges facing the country while also providing them with platform to improve accountability and transparency in their unwavering resolve to tackle corruption.

He said the internet and social media had witnessed a surge for propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data.

President Buhari explained that Federal Government had been proactive, over the past couple of years, in taking steps to ensure progressive use of internet and cyberspace.

He pointed out that In 2014, the maiden National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy was developed to provide the necessary roadmap for realisation of the countries national cybersecurity programme.

According to him This national effort paved way for Nigeria to reach numerous cybersecurity milestones over the past six years.

The President stated that the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 would provide the necessary platform to effectively confront the dynamic nature of threats in the countries cyberspace.

In a remark, the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), said there had been a surge in the use of the internet, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown around the world, with increasing waves of crimes, irregular migration and threats to border security.

The NSA noted that many platforms including banking, communication and military had come under more threat, with personal information easily distorted and explored, necessitating a review of the 2014 National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS).

He said the reviewed document would work towards mitigating the “suffocating presence and unpredictable threats’’ of cybercrimes.