The Senate on Wednesday lamented the growing number of youths in correctional centres in the country due to their involvement in cyber crime, it urged those engaged in the act to take advantage of the numerous legitimate opportunities in ICT by converting their knowledge to make money and earn a
living rather than using it to commit a crime.
The Senate gave this advice at its deliberation over the motion titled “The Growth of Digital Technology and the Challenge of Cybercrime: Urgent Need to Safeguard the Future of Nigeria” sponsored by Sen. Yakubu, Oseni (Kogi Central).
The motion read;
“The Senate Notes that the growth of digital technology, otherwise referred to as ICT revolution has brought about improved performance in all aspects of society. It is an economic development pillar guaranteeing national competitive advantage. It has led to rapid global communication and networking, provided ease in finding detailed answers to millions of questions every day, accelerated the growth and penetration of mobile telephony and its associated multimedia services, and in deed, propelled increased end-successes in all human endeavors;
Further Notes that the world has moved into the blazing digital ecosystem accelerating at the speed of thought, with very effective concepts and disruptive innovation models such as Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Robotics, Machine Learning, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain implementation and other emerging technologies, achieving rapid improvements in the knowledge society;
Observes that digital technology also promises to make the world a much safer place, as traffic authorities anticipate a vast reduction in traffic fatalities with possibility of saving nearly 300,0001ives over 10 years with the deployment of autonomous vehicle technology, and as crime statistics could drop by over 20% with deployment of metropolitan censors and cutting edge home security remote monitoring devices, amongst other advantages;
Worried that the gains of digital technology are being dampened by rapid evolution of cybersecurity threat landscape, with increased attacks in both sophistication and severity Reports indicate that there is currently a dramatic rise in cybercrime such as the ransomware epidemic, the refocusing of malware from personal computers (PCS) and laptops to smartphones and mobile devices, the deployment of billions of underprotected Internet of Things (ioT) devices, the legion of hackers-for-hire and more sophisticated launching of attacks on governments, businesses, educational establishments, defence infrastructure, etc;
Further worried that nefarious cyber-related activities are already costing the world huge losses in trillions of dollars Recently, the NotPetya malware caused billions of dollars in damage in many industries around the world. Global ransomware damage alone has been predicted to cost the world over 11 billion dollars in 2019 and 20 billion dollars in 2021. It is also predicted that a business will fall every 14 seconds in 2019 and 11 seconds in 2021, and that overall cybercrime is predicted to cost the world over 6 trillion dollars annually from 2021;
Alarmed that Nigeria is already plagued with the destructive cyber-crises Reports indicate that in 2017 alone, the country lost about 649 million dollars (ie over N250 billion) to cybercrime activities. The 2018 Report of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Cooperation (NDIC) indicates that there were 37,817 reported fraud cases within the year, out of which 59.2% were internet and technology based, costing businesses in Nigeria several billions of naira. It is also indicated that over 81% of cyber security incidents in the country are either unreported or unresolved, leaving room for the proliferation and escalation of illicit cyber activities. In fact, the recent apprehension of 77 cyber criminals by the FBI, several of whom are Nigerians, leaves much to worry about
Concerned that Nigeria still lags behind in infrastructure sophistication, data management and digital security and Imowhow which are critical to the development agenda. In fact, federal allocation to the ICT sector of the economy can only be considered as lip service, compared to the enormity of challenges therein. Manpower development in digital technology is equally a far cry. Even in Africa, Nigeria is at the bottom of cyber security manpower ratio to total population. Our institutions of learning do not seem to understand the world we live in today. Indeed, our cyber security consciousness and awareness rating does not come before that of any other country in the world;
Aware that the 8th Senate, desirous of keeping the country ahead of the cyber-challenge, had mandated the Committee on lCT and Cybercrime to interface with stakeholders, and that the Committee kick-started the process accordingly; and
Convinced that the bar for digital readiness and cyber security must be raised if Nigeria must speed up to the digital ecosystem and proactive cyber awareness and intelligence, as well as properly positioned herself for the unending economic development opportunities that come with ICT.”
Sponsor of the motion had Senator Yakubu had during his press briefing after the Plenary described the growing of cyber crime as worrisome , he called for increased awareness of money making opportunities in the ICT sector.
He said, ” Cyber crime is something that someone will sit at the comfort of his home and commit. If we go to our Nigerian prisons today, we see our young men that were arrested for one or two cyber crimes and to me it is something that we have to prevent.
I believe in prevention rather than going after those who committed the crime. We need proper creation of awareness that this knowledge that you have , you can equally convert to good use and make money for yourself, rather than using the knowledge to commit crime.
The ICT aspect we know that any nation that wants to grow, must pay attention to technology and if we see Nigeria and the world over you will see that we are behind in terms of ICT so we seek in the motion that the Federal Government to really pay attention to ICT in terms of budgetary provision particularly in education and to catch them young we have to move from manual to digital like E-learning and all that.
Mr. President said last time of how he intends to engage millions of our youths in jobs , but these youths can’t be engaged in only Government Ministries Agencies and Departments ( MDAs) the ICT/ communication sector is one area that can engage over 15% of our youths.
Senator Stella Odua(Anambra North) in her contribution to the motion made a case for the job opportunities in the ICT sector , she cited coding asan example while also calling for increased budgetary allocation to the ICT sector .
She said ” We are losing a lot by not tapping into cyber opportunities, I mean the technology and ICT part of it. We can recall that Microsoft announced two years ago, that in the next five years they were going to have 228,000 jobs that were going to be technology and ICT related.
My concern is that we as a country are not fully prepared to participate in this aspect. Statistically an average ICT worker earns an average of 10,000 dollars. Take for example of In my village we have a young man or woman who is certified coder and when they are coding they earn 10,000 just imagine what that would do to my community. We have graduates who may not have seen computers not to talk of operating them. The gap I see and the opportunity loss is unnecessary, we must ensure that we don’t just domesticate ICT in all our schools but to make sure that the budgetary allocation closes this gap.
The senate accordingly resolved to: Mandate the Committee on ICT and Cybercrime to re-establish engagement with stakeholders with a view to galvanizing a comprehensive and broad-based approach to addressing Nigeria’s digital technology and cyber security crises and safeguarding the present and future of the country; Further mandate the Committee on ICT and Cybercrime to establish strategic engagements with MDAs with a view to ascertaining their ICT shortfalls, cyber security constraints, data management challenges, and possible remediation measures; Permit the Committee on ICT and Cybercrime to make inputs to budgetary provisions of MDAs on Information and Communication Technology and cybersecurity issues, with a view to ensuring appropriate funding of the all-important areas of concern; and Urge the Federal Government to deliberately take up measures to improve on budgetary provisions for, and attention to the development of digital technology and cyber-dependence safety.