The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has identified digital media as a veritable platform to enhance national security.
He made this known during a virtual lecture titled “Impact of digital media on national security” at the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information’s 2021 Media Workshop themed “Enhancing inter-agency collaboration in internal security operations: Exploring the public relations and media perspectives”.
The NITDA boss noted that digital security can be used to gather intelligence, coordinate activities of security agents, promote social interaction amongst citizens and enhance social harmony.
He stated that the importance of digital media to human interaction cannot be overemphasised, considering the huge benefits it brought to several sectors of the economy, especially with the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abdullahi said the benefit of the IT sector was its ability to be one of the saving graces of the world during the lockdown. Top digital media companies in the world like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc recorded huge growth and profits while providing different digital services to humanity.
“The advent of digital media has transformed the way we receive and share content and information, with significant impact on the way we transmit business and other social interactions. The ability to create, share and access digital content without borders has been a significant scientific breakthrough of the century.
“Digital media has presented to us a double-edged sword. It has numerous opportunities and risks. Some of the opportunities include learning new skills outside the walls of the classrooms, communicating and expressing opinions without boundaries, collaboration and engagements, businesses without borders, a platform for fast and real-time information, flexibility for the workforce by enabling out-of-office productivity and facilitating the creation of online communities and groups,” he added.
The DG recounted that NITDA was established to implement the Nigerian National Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development in the country. It was mandated by the National Information Technology Development Act (2007) to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardisation, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria.
“The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS) replaced the National IT Policy and was launched and unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari, on November 28, 2019. NDEPS provides a holistic and sustainable approach towards the development of our nation’s digital economy, which is based on the eight pillars, namely: developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital services development and promotion, soft infrastructure, digital society and emerging technologies, and indigenous content development and adoption,” he added.
Represented by the director, IT infrastructure solutions, Dr. Usman Abdullahi Gambo, Abdullahi further said, in line with the implementation of NDEPS, NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024 was launched and unveiled by Prof. Isa Pantami on April 19, 2021, as part of the agency’s 20th-anniversary celebration. The process of crafting SRAP was organic and has gone through a deliberate collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, by identifying gaps and opportunities in Nigeria’s digital economy.
Abdullahi added that the agency has engaged in different strategic awareness campaigns and training on cybersecurity, with efforts to have secured cyberspace for Nigerians, through a cyber-monitoring centre that monitors, coordinate and supports its constituency’s ICT Infrastructure.
“We have a help desk where both the private and public organisations in Nigeria can report cyber incidents. This centre also engages in building collaborative platform and cyber-threat analysis,” he added.