By Emma Okonji
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated how the over 114 million internet users in the country could be properly protected while online.
According to the Commission, one of the key ways to achieve this was through enlightenment and awareness programmes where consumers are informed on the dangers of cybercrimes as well as learn and observe skills gained through such awareness in order to be protected while on the internet.
Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, stated this during the 47th edition of the NCC’s Consumer Town Hall Meeting (CTM), a monthly regulator, operators and consumer engagement forum for the grassroots, which held in Uzuakoli, Abia State, recently.
With the theme: “Mitigating Effects of Cyber Crimes: The Role of Telecom Consumers,” Onwuegbuchulam said the tripartite programme remained one of the initiatives of the Commission to bring together consumers, network operators and the regulator to identify and discuss salient issues bordering on the telecoms industry with a view to jointly providing solutions to identified challenges.
While stating that cyberspace covers everything consumers do online or with computing devices including mobile phones, tablets and personal computers, just as the internet touches almost all aspects of human lives, Onwuegbuchulam stressed the need for the consumers to show interest in getting constant enlightenment and be conscious of fraudulent tendencies by some internet users while online.
According to Onwuegbuchulam, who was represented at the forum by the Head, Information and Reference Unit at the Commission, Alhaji Ismail Adedigba, the theme of the event had been carefully chosen for deliberations to effectively educate and inform the telecom consumers on the threats and modus operandi of cyber criminals in the industry and suggest ways by which the consumers can be protected.
She disclosed that as at February this year, there were over 114 million Internet users in the country with over 63 million of them accessing broadband services on 3G and 4G networks.
She said the need to constantly educate was further underscored by the large number of Nigerians online with even more to come online as the Commission intensifies efforts towards implementing its various initiatives aimed at deepening connectivity across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
“As access to internet increase, the dimension of cyber-criminal activities was also becoming more sophisticated. There is a need, therefore, for the consumers to get enlightened on the dangers of cybercrimes and for them to, in turn, take the skills learnt through such consumer engagement programmes as CTM very seriously and apply them when using the Internet in order for keep the cyber space safe for them,” she said.
Addressing audience at the event, the representative of the Consumer Advocacy Group, Wheel of Hope, Mr. Jide Abdulazeez, who presented the lead paper, called on telecom consumers and other necessary stakeholders to collaborate with the Commission in combatting cybercrime in the country.
He added that most of the fora organised by the NCC were geared towards enlightenment and education of the telecom users to become more aware of the things that can benefit them and those that constitute dangers to them as telecom consumers.