President Muhammadu Buhari has said the growth of the Internet in Nigeria is accompanied by an upsurge in threats posed by cybercriminals and terrorists.
Buhari, who spoke on Monday at the launch of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021 in Abuja, said Nigeria was toeing the same road, followed by other nations with higher internet penetration.
“We are witnessing a rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension,” he said.
He added that the Nigerian government observed the rise in misinformation, hate speech and other internet crimes threatening users’ privacy in Nigeria.
“We are also observing a surge in the use of the Internet and social media for propagation of hate speech, fake news and seditious messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data. It is almost impossible to overstate the challenges,” the president said.
He explained that cybercrimes were caused by the advent of new technologies and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during the enforcement of lockdown measures.
“Some global events such as the rapid emergence of new technologies, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the advent of 5G technology have further widened the scope and diversification of these cyber threats,” he stated.
“In October 2020, we all witnessed an escalation in the use of the social media for dissemination of subversive messages and incitement of violence which played a part in heightening tensions, causing unrest and spurring widespread acts of looting and destruction across the country.”
“Therefore, in a bid to ensure that we effectively embrace and harness the benefits of the digital revolution while effectively combating the heightening risks of cyber threats, the Federal Government of Nigeria has been proactive, over the past couple of years, in taking steps to ensure progressive use of our Internet and cyberspace.”
Buhari said the National Cybersecurity Policy was reviewed to respond to the emerging issues and to reach numerous milestones set over the past six years.
“In 2014, we developed our maiden National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy to provide us with the necessary roadmap for the realisation of our national cybersecurity programme,” he noted.
“Therefore, in order to build on this achievement and reposition ourselves for enhanced engagement in cyberspace, it became expedient to review the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2014 and develop a comprehensive National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 for the common good of the country.”
“The National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 will provide us with the necessary platform to effectively confront the dynamic nature of threats in our cyberspace.”