NITDA as arrowhead of digital economy

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Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi

By Abubakar AbdurRahaman Dodo

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is committed to fighting cybercrime in Nigeria, owing to which it established National Cyber Security and Research Centre (CSRC), and liaising with similar agencies in some countries such as Cyber Security Malaysia and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center (CCIRC). With these in place, NITDA is viewed as the arrowhead of Digital Economy and safety fortress for e-governance. Thus, NITDA’s e-Commerce Department which is saddled with responsibility of facilitating the transformation to digital business models and market across all sectors and industries is aimed at dealing with tax evaders, black marketers and touts. Hence, the agency’s e-GDR e-Government Development and Regulation is aimed at enhancing government e-service delivery of public service to all people in strategic sectors of the economy. NITDA anticipated that good governance can easily be discharged within the shortest possible time.

In 2016, NITDA revealed that Nigeria lost N89,55billion ($450 million) a year to cyber crime. The loss cuts across public and private sectors and possibly some innocent individuals. If this is the case, how can we protect the Nigerian public and the world in general from being victimized by yahooboys, fraudsters, swindlers and their likes? So far, I don’t know of any agency that is highly committed to chasing cybercriminals out of Nigeria like NITDA. But  much as Nigerians want the fight to be sustained, we must partner with agency in order to make it our safety fortress. At the same time, the agency’s regulation of both e-Government Development and e-Commerce are the arrowheads of our digital economy. However, all these cannot be achieved without the input/helping hands of patriotic Nigerians; who deem it fit to expose cybercrimes, thus making it easier for NITDA to trace their location, block them and hand them over to relevant authorities for prosecution.

And to bring the fight to limelight, in 2017, Christopher Okeke, Director of Cyber Security, NITDA, stipulated that singlehandedly the agency cannot sustain the fight against cybercriminals. “It is imperative to note that this war cannot be fought in isolation. Nations collaborate, share strategies and classified information and skills,” Okeke said. Thus, Nigerians of all walks of life must partner NITDA to fortify Nigeria. Even in the advanced economy, people are highly taken aback whenever a fraud is committed, but they often device means of curtailing the excesses of conmen, especially miscreant computer experts. Thus, Joseph R. Davies CFE, in his article titled: “Bank Reconciliation Process: Dealing with Outsiders’ Threats, states: “It is a rather simple and unsophisticated process for an outsider to produce bogus checks. Anyone with a few Dollars can produce high quality fake document with a computer and peripheral equipment.”

That is why conmen are wrecking havoc in Nigeria’s business environment; TRIM, COMANDCLEM, MMM and many more will remain indelible in the minds of Nigerians, especially, those  whose hard earned money were carted away in a twinkle of an eye. In fact, many gullible minds were hoodwinked into delving into easy money making ventures. Nigeria is bedevilled by security challenges and unemployment among our youth. So in addressing this menace, we need the database of National Bureau of Statistics, National Identification Management Commission and National Population Commission to be analyzed by experts positioned at NITDA headquarters, so that together we can set national agenda for dealing with our problems.

However, the NITDA Director-General, Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, will not relent in his effort to allow our scientists and technologists, especially software and web designers, to only resort to extrapolation, interpolation and manipulation letters and figures (alpha-numerics abracadabra), as he must seek the input of Nigerians, following which NITDA can easily re-direct our experts on how to design softwares and websites aimed at blocking leakages as a fortress hindering the excesses of unscrupulous elements in our society. The input of NITDA is highly needed in addressing security and economic challenges faced by this nation, particularly with the many computer inputs and outputs spearheaded by GIGO (garbage-in-garbage-out).

If NITDA makes an in-road into spearheading the affairs of this nation, together we can build a strong and vibrant digital economy, through e-commerce; good governance through the use digital tools in manning the administrative policies of our government as it is often dubbed e-government. Since this is the age of information technology, Nigeria would not lag behind, so long as our experts in the fields of science and technology partner with NITDA in charting a course for our educational development.

NITDA is highly committed to fighting cybercrime in this country, but there is a stronger need for total support of Nigerians. As Nigerians strive to report suspicious movement of persons and goods to the security agencies, likewise, we should report cybercriminals to NITDA, so that the agency can deploy forensic analysts to liaise with anti-graft agencies to hit the nail on the head of those elements that are cankerworms derailing and denigrating our nation’s development. To sum it up, a partnership with NITDA in addressing the myriad of problems besetting the nation must be embraced by both the individuals and corporate bodies.  In fact, there is need to build compliance programmes around NITDA’s effort at curtailing the excesses of fraudsters who commit their crime with the aid of internets.

Dodo writes from 2290 S/Kofar Waika, Kano City via turakundodo@gmail.com

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily

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