As the Federal Government continues to wage war against insecurity, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has identified integrated digital technology as a crucial tool to combat Nigeria’s insecurity challenge.
Delivering his keynote address at the maiden edition of the annual conference of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), Abuja chapter themed “Digitisation as an enabler in tackling insecurity in Nigeria” in Abuja, he highlighted that technologies like autonomous drones, satellite, AI video surveillance, amongst others, are important to complement the efforts of the law enforcement agencies to tackle insecurity in the country.
The minister said, to tackle insecurity effectively, utilising digital technologies that leverage data is imperative.
“To complement the efforts of our law enforcement agencies, the need to explore new ways to tackle insecurity through the effective use of data and digital technologies is crucial,” he said.
Represented by the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, Pantami listed some of the technologies that could be deployed to ensure security as autonomous drones, artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret satellite images, AI video surveillance and social networking platforms.
“It is quite clear that digital technology has a great role to play in national security in Nigeria. The growing importance of technology presents new opportunities to benefit society and brings challenges to the approach and methodology of securing that society from insecurities.
“Modern intelligence gathering devices should be acquired and deployed to relevant law enforcement agencies to address insecurity challenges adequately.
“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and its parastatals are always ready to support our law enforcement agencies with all the technology required to boost their efforts towards tackling insecurity in Nigeria.
“Similarly, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), a subsidiary of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is fostering the development of emerging technologies in preparing Nigeria for the Fourth Industrial Revolution with research and development in technologies like drones, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), among others, as a veritable tool in combating national insecurity,” he stated.
In his remarks, Abdullahi, represented by NITDA’s Engr. Ahmed Yahuza, urged Nigerians not to put out their personal information carelessly on communication platforms, saying such information could also lead criminals to them physically if they see them as suitable targets.
“Do not put out your personal information carelessly on communication platforms. E.g., phone numbers, bank account details, national identity numbers, addresses etc., they could aid cybercriminals in stealing your identity and having access to your finances or carrying out fraudulent acts in your name. This sort of information could also lead criminals to you physically if they deem you a suitable target.
“Although digital communication devices or platforms are not without inherent issues, they have come to stay. Hence, it is binding on users to take advantage of its benefits and also utilise them, such that you prevent and minimise self-exposure to its risks and adverse effects.
“Parents, guardians and teachers should also have clear conversations with children about secure usage of digital communications and the implications of misuse,” he said.
On his part, the managing director, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammad Bello, said the theme of the conference could not have come at a better time than now, especially with the prevalence of insecurity in Nigeria and across the world.
Bello, who was represented by the executive director, finance and accounts, Galaxy Backbone, Adamu Umar, said, the application of the traditional formulas have not yielded the required results; therefore, there was the need to use ICT or digitisation tools to tackle the menace of insecurity in the country.
In his welcome address, the president, NITRA, Abuja chapter, Mr. Blessing Olaifa, said the conference’s theme was chosen to draw the attention of state actors to digital platforms that can be leveraged to tackle incidences of banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, cattle-rustling and other criminal acts pervading the country.
Olaifa commended the leadership of the minister in initiating policies and programmes that are gradually changing the narrative.
“The NCC, NITDA, NIMC, NIPOST, Galaxy Backbone and NIGCOMSAT have changed the narratives in solving our security problems in no small measure by opening up different platforms to restore peace to the country.
“Should the current efforts be sustained, Nigeria will certainly reap the results of peace and tranquillity in the nearest future,” he added.
He assured that NITRA will continue to identify with the initiatives and support the digitalisation agenda of the Federal Government for the benefits of our country.