Popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo boys or 19 boys, hackers and cyber criminals – and cyber crime – have remained a scourge and a threat to the economy, security of Nigerians and vital infrastructure connected to the Internet.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, on Monday, at the inauguration of a 31-member Cybercrime Advisory Council (CAC) in Abuja, said the activities of criminals in our cyberspace is threatening our individual and collective privacy.
While attributing the situation partly to the lack of awareness on cyber security and poor enforcement of guidelines and minimum standards for security of government websites, Monguno said that the need to take serious action to protect the country’s cyberspace had become a national security requirement.
The Cybercrime Advisory Council is saddled with the responsibility of formulating and providing general policy guidelines for the implementation of the Cybercrime Act, among others.
Maj. Gen. Monguno stressed that with the tremendous growth in number of Nigerians connected to the Internet, there is the importance of serious actions to protect our national cyberspace – a situation which has become a serious challenge in the bid to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that the Internet brings.
According to the NSA, the 2014 annual report of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) showed a 183 per cent increase on e-payment platform in the banking sector. Also in 2014, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in the UK estimated the annual cost of cyber crime to Nigeria to about 0.08 per cent, representing about N100 billion.
Pointing out that effective management of risk associated with cyber crime required collaboration between government, the private sector and civil society organisations, the NSA said government had deployed ways of fighting cyber crime by reviewing the Evidence Act so that electronic evidence could be accepted in court.
Monguno disclosed that Nigeria is the fifth country in Africa and the first in West Africa to enact the cyber crime law. He urged members of the council to employ their experiences to discharge their responsibility to ensure a more secure cyberspace in the country.
Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who inaugurated the Council, said that the work of the Council would reinforce and enhance the implementation of the Cybercrime Act in the country.