By Chinenye Anuforo

A frontline Cybersecurity and Consultancy firm in Africa, Digital Encode Limited, has again endeared itself to the young community in the cybersecurity space in Nigeria.

The  company rewarded winners of the Cyberchain Hackathon program as part of activities for the 2021 conference and exhibition, held in Lagos over the weekend.

Digital Encode doled out N500,000.00 to reward Team NOHATS which took the first prize; Team LYTES (first runner-up) received N300,000.00 and Team KURUPT68 (second runner-up) took home N200,000. The third and fourth runner-ups – C7ROW and SECACE received consolation prizes too. 

Speaking shortly after the prize presentation ceremony, Dr. Peter Obadare, Co-Founder/CVO, Digital Encode Limited, said that the teams’ performances during the hackathon were beyond Digital Encode expectations.

“The teams performed very well; even beyond our expectations. We never envisaged the level of response we got. We are very delighted in what we have seen with these teams. They need to be mentored so they can go far in the industry. There are people here who came all the way from Rivers and Niger States. It shows that young Nigerians are hungry for success.

They are ready to put in their best to affect the economy. I am sure that within the next five years Nigeria will have enough cyber warriors to defend the country and businesses”.

Dr. Obadare said that results from the hackathon gives the company confidence that cybercrime will soon become a thing of the past in Nigeria, “because we have people that will be protecting the cyber space. So, you are launching your product; be it Fintech, edutech, healthtech, agritech or e-Government platforms, you will do that with the mindset that you will be protected.

These are young people that would become cyber traitors themselves, but they are putting their skills to good use; working to protect the financial ecosystem and Nigeria’s critical digital infrastructure. We are confident that we are going to do very well in the future.

Dr. Oluseyi Akindeinde, Co-Founder/CTO, Digital Encode Limited, also expressed delight with the results, adding that the hackathon was part of the company’s means of giving back to the society.

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“We believe in the saying that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’. It is our own way of giving back to the industry and to encourage the younger generation. We know what it means to start, and grow a business in an environment like in Nigeria.

“We would have loved for this kind of thing to happen 18 years ago when we started Digital Encode. So, we told ourselves that whatever will enable other young people to be focused in this field, we have to support them. That decision gave us the push to do this.

“The essence of the hackathon was to encourage the youths and expose them to the opportunities inherent in Information and Communications Technology.

“The truth is, if there were lots of money to be made legitimately leveraging technology, there shouldn’t be Internet scams among the youths. However, they need to be exposed and guided on how technology can be used to make money,” he said.

Jude Ozinegbe, the Convener of Cyberchain Conference & Exhibition said that the world is rapidly transiting from a consumer economy to a prosumer economy and technology is the fastest way to achieving this.

He said that whilst undergoing this process of economic transformation from the analogue and paper model to the digital approach, businesses need to also pay attention to the security concerns.

In his words, “Cybersecurity plays a major role in the digital economy, and everyone ought to have at least some basic knowledge on how to protect their digital assets from compromise”.

Ozinegbe also emphasized why Nigeria should not play catchup to the Blockchain technology as it did with the dotcom era, stressing that the Blockchain Technology comes with numerous untapped opportunities for the country, as it offers open, secure and decentralized cross-border business engagements for individuals and organisations irrespective of location, ethnicity or time difference.

He thanked Digital Encode for sponsoring the hackathon, adding that aside from the cash prize the participants are taking home the exposure and experience in programming and coding.

He said that this will in no small measure discourage unethical hacking which has become a bane of the society and rampant among the youths.