The federal government yesterday said that it was reviewing the cybersecurity law in order to address some of the major developmental challenges currently confronting the nation, including the emergence of new forms of criminality and terrorism perpetrated through cyberspace.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), stated this while inaugurating a multi-stakeholder committee to review the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy, NCPS, 2014, in Abuja.
He lamented the inherent threats and risks associated with the evolving nature of cyberspace.
The policy is reviewed every five years and is due for its first review after it was implemented in 2014.
Monguno said the review was part of efforts to reposition the country to better exploit the benefits of the internet and cyber domain to enhance national peace, security and socio-economic wellbeing.
The NSA noted that recent advancements in the digital era have transformed the cyber domain to a centre stage for new businesses, innovations, government functionalities and social interactions.
He, however, highlighted that despite the benefits of the cyber domain, there are inherent threats and risks associated with the evolving nature of cyberspace.
The NSA, therefore, stressed that it is crucial for the Nigerian cyberspace and entire cyber ecosystem to undergo major periodic reforms to set new clear directions for progressive use of the country’s cyberspace.
In view of this, he noted that the review of the NCPS would provide an opportunity for Nigeria to redefine its national objectives and address some of the major developmental challenges currently confronting the nation, including the emergence of new forms of criminality and terrorism perpetrated through cyberspace.
He said. “This Committee was constituted to identify the current gaps in the National Cybersecurity Strategy and Policy 2014, articulate the various inputs of stakeholders and develop necessary frameworks to effectively mitigate evolving cyber threats and enhance Nigeria’s productive engagements in cyberspace.”
The NSA also noted that the review of the NCPS was in line with the provisions of Section 41(1b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015, which mandates the Office of the National Security Adviser to coordinate the formulation and effective implementation of a comprehensive cybersecurity framework for Nigeria.
Monguno noted that the new cybersecurity initiatives proffered by the committee would be formulated in support of Nigeria’s National Security Strategy, facilitate positive transformations in the Nigerian economy, cater for new emerging technologies, engender collaboration between stakeholders, foster capacity development and institutionalise the protection of critical national functions and data privacy.
According to the NSA, “The success of this Committee in developing a comprehensive and purposeful National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2020 will strengthen the security and adaptability of Nigeria’s cyberspace and facilitate the projection of our digital economy”.
He expressed optimism that the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2020 will reflect global norms as well as foster cooperation with Nigeria’s allies in the areas of security and economic development.
The NSA said his office will continue to solicit the support and participation of all relevant stakeholders towards successful development of the new National Cybersecurity milestones, and expressed confidence that the resultant National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2020 will serve as a veritable instrument for all stakeholders who have a role to play in the utilisation and development of Nigeria’s Cyberspace.
Monguno appealed to all committee members, made up of representatives from the public and private sectors, to adhere to the timelines and guidelines laid out for the review process.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Review Committee, Mr. Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, stated that the United Nations had developed 11 voluntary norms of behaviours of state actors in cyberspace, including confidence-building measures.
He added that Nigeria needs a generation of cyber-diplomats to participate in the norms as they evolve, from soft laws to hard international laws.
The Chairman disclosed that in 2020, the African Cybersecurity solutions market is estimated at $2.32 billion and projected to grow to between $3.6 and $4.2 billion by 2023.
He, therefore, asserted that “we must factor in the underserved and unborn because they must live with the effects of the policies and strategy decisions that we make today”.
The National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy is Nigeria’s cornerstone cybersecurity framework.
It is aimed at providing an aggregated and harmonised set of principles and good practices for the establishment, development and implementation of action plans, initiatives, mechanisms and structures towards the enhancement of cybersecurity in Nigeria.
The document provides the blueprint for ensuring the progressive use of Nigeria’s cyberspace.