The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, on February 23, 2023, in Abuja, inaugurated a committee to advise the Federal Government on appropriate measures to protect the nation’s cyberspace and ICT infrastructure from potential attacks, especially during the 2023 general elections.
The committee would be led by the chairman of the board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Adeolu Akande.
Pantami emphasised the increased role of ICT in online activities and the crucial role it would play in the conduct of the 2023 general elections, in line with the amended Electoral Act. He directed the Committee to work round-the-clock from February 24 to February 27, 2023 and ensure complaints of any attacks on critical infrastructure are escalated to relevant institutions – public or private – for necessary remedial actions.
The committee – approved by President Muhammadu Buhari – is made up of key directors and CEOs in the ministry and will work to coordinate computer security centres in the ICT industry, in collaboration with other relevant institutions to intercept potential cyber-attacks. Also, the committee will work closely with institutions such as the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), mobile network operators (MNOs), among others, to collectively safeguard Nigeria’s cyberspace from potential attacks or cases of vandalism and fibre cuts during the election, a statement from the NCC’s director of public affairs, Reuben Muoka said.
“Our main responsibilities in this committee are more advisory. First, it is to intercept potential attacks that may come to our cyberspace. The committee will coordinate the NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team, the Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Galaxy Backbone National Cybersecurity Centre.
“These three centres must work together, complement each other and ensure they intercept any potential attacks on our cyberspace, particularly on our critical infrastructure during the election so that we could either take action or provide necessary advice to the government,” Pantami said.
The minister reiterated that protecting Nigeria’s cyberspace is a collective national responsibility that requires a joint effort of relevant agencies. The chairman of the advisory committee, Prof. Akande, expressed gratitude to the minister and assured him of the committee’s readiness to work towards delivering its mandate of protecting the nation’s cyberspace and ICT infrastructure during the elections.
In conclusion, the committee’s responsibilities are advisory and they will work to coordinate computer security centres, intercept potential attacks on cyberspace and work with relevant institutions to safeguard Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure from attacks during the 2023 General Elections.