The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Pantami, has identified cyber security awareness as one of the key priorities of the agency, stating that awareness could help reduce cyber related losses by up to 70 percent in Nigeria. Pantami, who spoke at the recent Startup Nigeria event held in Lagos, said that cyber criminals are finding it too easy to retrieve information out of Nigerians, according to a report by the Guardian NG.
After a report was released showing that Nigeria loses almost N78 billion ($214 million) every year through cybercrimes, the Director General has raised concerns over the level of cyber threats on individuals, financial institutions, government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as their affiliates.
According to the Nigerian Communications Week, Mr. Remi Afon, president, Cyber Security Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), at the very same event pointed out the impact cybercrimes which originate from Nigeria has on the globe. The CSEAN president highlighted that cybercrime originating from Nigeria costs about $9.3 billion annually across the globe.
Both of these statistics paint a bleak picture for the country and their fight against cybercrime. However, the NITDA DG revealed that the Agency is working on proactive measures that will ensure MDAs and the general public are quickly notified during cases of cyber attacks while contacting relevant authorities to tackle post-incidence challenges.
Dr. Pantami said, “I have a special interest in cyber security because I always believe that as long as we are online, we are exposed to danger. Secondly, the rate at which cybercrime is spreading globally is much higher at the rate ICT is developing. As the experts would say ‘cybercrime is at the speed of light, while cyber security is at the speed of law’.
“This is very true because if you move at the speed of law, you can start the process of an Act, which you can spend years without achieving the purpose. Law takes time: you would need to approach the National Assembly with drafts, plenary and public hearings and other processes. But cyber crime is at the speed of light.
“We have started looking critically at that aspect of the economy by establishing cyber security department. Prior to my time at NITDA there was no department. With that Department in Place, NITDA is now proactive with regards to cybercrime reportage like in the cases of ‘WannaCry’ and ‘Petrya’. During the WannaCry incident NITDA was the first Agency, not in Nigeria, but in Africa, to alert the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA), corporate bodies and the general public. During Petrya too NITDA was the first,” concluded Pantami.