The executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has expressed the commission’s irrevocable commitment to boosting the nation’s digital economy through responsive regulations.
Danbatta gave this assurance at the commission’s 2021 annual cyber-security conference, organised in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) which took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Speaking at the event themed “Building trust in the digital economy through cybersecurity and sensitization on the implementation of the national cybersecurity policy and strategy (NCPS)”, the NCC EVC, represented by its executive commissioner, stakeholder management (ECSM), Adewolu Adeleke, said the commission will continue to be at the forefront of ensuring a sound cyber-security culture built on people, processes and technology to bolster the digital economy in Nigeria.
Emphasising the centrality of information sharing with stakeholders, Danbatta urged telecom consumers and the public to take advantage of NCC’s pervasive communications campaign planned to create awareness and sensitize the public about the wiles of cyber-criminals.
“Our various cyber-security awareness initiatives and campaigns are helping the public to understand the risks in digital space and how to reduce the vulnerabilities that adversaries can benefit from. Our collective resolve is to continuously boost trust and confidence in our digital economy by ensuring adherence to sound cybersecurity culture and hygiene, internally and with external partners as well as stakeholders,” he said.
Danbatta explicated on the increasing dynamics in the digital space by informing the audience that the commission recognizes the importance of ensuring and instituting appropriate cybersecurity measures to derive meaningful gains from the emergent digital economy.
“The growth of digital economies is changing how ‘trust’ is valued by institutions, businesses and the public. The increase in technological advancement has also resulted in an increase in cybercrimes, as well as identity theft and fake news campaigns that have introduced fresh dimensions that affect the notion of trust in the digital era,” he asserted.
Giving a sharper voice and focus to trust and confidentiality while online, the NCC boss stated that trust and confidentiality promote a healthy digital environment, as gleaned from global best practices to guarantee the privacy and integrity of digital data.
He said to improve digital trust and confidentiality, the digital economy should be built on trusted technologies and partnerships, ensuring strong cybersecurity that rides on the public’s confidence, security, privacy and safety to bolster responsive regulations, transparency, accountability and digital governance.
“Acceleration of innovations and enterprise in the digital space amplify vulnerability opportunities, which malicious parties are quick to exploit, thereby slowing down the gains of the digital economy. Notwithstanding, strong cybersecurity will have the advantage of reducing the surface of vulnerabilities in the digital economy that can be exploited. Thus, sound cybersecurity is a stimulus for a secure and prosperous digital economy,” he said.
Speaking further, Danbatta affirmed that the launching of the NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC CSIRT), which is the telecoms sector’s version of the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (ng. CERT) is a testament to the commission’s resolve to promote a healthy digital environment in the telecom sector.
He called on cyber-security stakeholders to key into the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021 and accelerate the adoption of its various components as cyber-security is a collective responsibility and no single government, business or individual is immune or can do it alone.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd), who was represented by the director, communications at ONSA, Brig. Gen. Samad Akesode, recognised the commitment of the commission in creating awareness on the implementation of national cyber-security policy and promised even greater collaboration between the ONSA and the NCC on the nation’s cybersecurity drive.
A statement by the commission’s director of public affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said the event was attended by people from the academia, including the vice-chancellor of Nasarawa State University, chairman and other members of NCC Board of Commissioners, representatives of chairman EFCC and representatives of directors-general of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Other attendees and participants were directors and top management staff from many ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government, key players in the telecom ecosystem (including ALTON and ATCON), telecom companies, ICT firms, cyber security experts as well as representatives of institutions and agencies in the security governance sector, development enthusiasts, journalists and other communication professionals.