NITDA Seeks Partnerships Against Cyber Challenges
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Malam Kashifu Inuwa, has called on governments across Africa to come together to minimise the impact of cyber attacks.
Inuwa said the attacks have affected critical infrastructure, national security, reputation and economy.
He made the call in a statement issued recently in Abuja by the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, and made availabe to The Tide source.
Speaking on the topic, “Strategies for Boosting Africa’s Cyber Resilience”, at the ongoing GISEC Global, a conference for cyber security community holding in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Inuwa harped on the importance of guiding against cyber attacks.
This, he said, is “because the African continent continued to experience rapid technological growth and increasing internet penetration.
“With the right strategies and approaches, Africa can enhance its cyber security posture and build resilience against cyber attacks.
“African nations must work collaboratively to build and implement robust, inclusive, and proactive cyber resilience methodologies and comprehensive approaches to the identification and mitigation of critical vulnerabilities.
“These include encouraging the exchange of collective knowledge, intelligence on cyber threats and promoting international cooperation in responding to cyber crimes”.
Inuwa recalled the ‘Check Point Research Report of 2022’, which said African countries experienced an average of 1,848 cyber attacks per week, per organisation in 2022.
The Director-General also highlighted that Nigeria accounted for the largest number of internet users, with over 100 million users, followed by Egypt with 76 million and South Africa with 41 million.
“These countries, along with Kenya, also account for 60 per cent of the $4 billion annual cost of cybercrime in Africa.
“In spite of these challenges, Africa’s digital transformation projects are gaining momentum, with online shoppers reaching almost 390 million and social media users reaching over 380 million in 2022.
“This growing figures are due to increasing mobile device adoption and improved telecommunication systems.
“However, the increasing threat of cyberattacks puts our socio-economic security at risk locally and internationally,” he said.
According to him, it is imperative that all governments prioritise cyber security and take necessary measures to strengthen their digital defenses to protect citizens from the threats posed by online attacks.
The NITDA boss added that the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ Report, stated that only 15 African countries had completed their national cyber security strategies.
Inuwa said the strategies outlined strategic objectives and assigned government-wide responsibilities for cyber threat monitoring and responses.
He said: “African countries need to understand the current cyber security landscape, create and implement comprehensive and multi-stakeholder policies,legal frameworks to ensure accountability and incentivise investments in cyber security measures.
“We need to close the cyber security talent gap by investing in training and development programmes to equip our workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge to protect themselves and our organisations against cyber threats.
“We need to invest in the development of robust cybersecurity technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and endpoint protection”, he said.
According to him, these tools can help detect and prevent cyber attacks before they cause significant harm.
He noted that the onus was on both the government and private sector to provide institutional support for cyber security, include the creation of dedicated agencies and units, as well as public-private partnerships that allow for the sharing of resources and expertise.
“We must prioritise regional partnerships and cross-border cooperation to combat cyber threats, as they do not respect geographical boundaries.
“This can include African countries working together to formulate and implement effective responses to cyber attacks and share best practices”, he said.
He also revealed that there will be national cyber-response plans and specialised Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) for critical infrastructure sectors that are essential in ensuring cyber resilience which outlines procedures and protocols.
Centre Introduces Mark Hack 2.0 For Marketing, Media Professionals
Eko Innovation Centre has said that it has launched MarkHack 2.0, a platform for marketing, media professionals and students in order to explore new and innovative ways to disrupt the creative industry.
The founder of Eko Innovation Centre, Mr. Victor Afolabi said this during the launch of the second edition of Mark Hackathon in Lagos last weekend.
Afolabi noted that the initiative was aimed at fostering collaboration, creativity and critical thinking among participants and also provide a platform for them to showcase their ideas to potential investors.
According to him, participants would be split into teams of five and required to work together for a period of three weeks, brainstorming and ideating new concepts based on their focus areas.
The founder, said each team would also pitch their ideas to a selection of jury and the best 10 teams with the most viable concepts would go head-to-head at the finale to win a prize pool of 10,000 dollars.
The CEO , hinted that they would also get the chance to join an acceleration programme to get their products ready for the market.
Speaking on the creative industry, he said it was the country’s second largest employer and has the potential to produce seven million jobs by 2025, with a major contribution from entertainment and media.
“The entertainment and media growth will be seen in the development of the metaverse and the use of non-fungible token.The metaverse could contribute around 40 billion dollars to the economies of sub-saharan markets like Nigeria”, he said.
The Managing Director, Redwood Consulting, Mrs Hannah Oyebanjo, said the creative industry held the potential to create jobs for young people
Oyebanjo based her point on a research, which according to her, showed that the creative sector currently has employed about 4.2 million people across five industries including media, entertainment and others.
Oyebanjo, however, informed that the Nigerian creative industry had its challenges which included lack of appreciation for intellectual properties, access to reliable data, weak marketing knowledge and access to funding, among others.
Also, the Managing Director of Entod Marketing, Iquo Ukoh, commended the innovation centre for organising hackathons such as the MarkHack to give several talents opportunities to bring their ideas to reality.
Ukoh, however, said that soon, solutions would come out of the hackathon that would disrupt markets in Nigeria.
Telecom Operators Move To Disconnect Banks Over N120bn USSD Debt
Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria have notified, that they have been granted approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to disconnect banks over N120 billion Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr Gbenga Adebayo in Lagos and obtained by The Tide Source in in Port Harcourt recently.
Adebayo in the statement, said Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) would disconnect banks if they failed to pay the debt owed.
He said the approval was granted because in spite of the multi-party stakeholder efforts to resolve the situation and prevent any impact on services, banks continued to incur greater debt, without making the commensurate payments.
According to him, members of the public would recall that MNOs and banks had protracted disagreements concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions, transparency of charges, mode of collection and liability for payment of the outstanding and continuous service fees due to the MNOs.
“Due to the inability of MNOs and banks to reach an agreement on the issues, MNOs in 2021 sought to disconnect banks due to the unpaid debts which stood at N42 billion as at that time”, he said.
Adebayo noted that It was pertinent to note that the contract between MNOs and banks on the use of USSDs for banking transactions was strictly commercial and MNOs were at liberty to withdraw the services if the transaction was unprofitable to them.
He also explained that MNOs have invested billions of naira in expanding their systems to accommodate the USSD needs of banks over the years.
Adebayo said this had resulted in more Nigerians having access to banking services in addition to enabling banks to trim down costs by requiring less branches to service their growing customers.
He said that unfortunately, MNOs were not getting paid for their services and the debt that stood at N42 billion in 2021 had now risen to over N120 billion.
Rivers ICT Department Bounces Back
The Rivers State Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department said it has resumed operations in order to maintain its lead in ICT training and teaching in the state.
The Head of the ICT Department, Mrs Aleruchi Akani, disclosed this when she spoke at the Student Project Presentation at the ICT Centre at Aba/Port Harcourt Express Way in Port Harcourt last Friday.
Akani, who spoke through the Head of Operations, Mr. Austin Dimpka, said part of its challenges was funding, but have made necessary adjustments and moved on.
Apart from funding, its target was human capacity building which the centre has been excuting judiciously.
She said the programme was the second phase since it resumed full operations.
By: King Onunwor
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