From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

The federal government says it is partnering with the World Bank and other relevant institutions to boost cyber security and protect Nigeria’s digital infrastructure, businesses, and citizens.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami stated this on Tuesday at the opening of a Two-Day Cybersecurity Stakeholder Capacity Building Workshop holding in Abuja.

Pantami said cyber threats have become a constant threat to businesses and organisations worldwide, noting that collaboration between organisations was essential to combating the menace.

He explained that the workshop was a crucial step towards building the capacity of relevant stakeholders to tackle cybersecurity challenges effectively.

“We shall also discuss investing in cybersecurity, increasing awareness of cyber threats and their potential impact on businesses and organisations and the next steps we should all consider, to improve collaboration for the general well-being of our cyber space in Nigeria.

“In Nigeria, the digital economy is rapidly growing, and with that growth comes the need for heightened cybersecurity measures and robust partnerships like the one we have with the bank.” He stated.

The Minister quoted a recent report by the Africa Cybersecurity Report which said that cyber-attacks in Africa have increased by 300% over the last year alone.

He said this trend was particularly worrisome, because Africa’s digital economy is on the rise as the World Bank has predicted that Africa’s digital economy could be worth $180 billion by 2025, representing a significant opportunity for growth and development across the continent.

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“However, this growth could be severely impeded if businesses and organisations do not take the necessary steps to protect themselves against cyber threats.” Pantami warned.

Speaking further, he said “Just recently, Nigeria recorded a total of 12.9 million (12,988,978) cyber-threats, originating from both within and outside Nigeria during the presidential elections and a total of 3.8 million (3,834,244) cyber-attacks, originating from both within and outside Nigeria during the gubernatorial and state assembly elections. Attempts that were recorded included Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), email and Internet Protocol Spoofing (IPS) attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing. These statistics are alarming, and they highlight the need for urgent action to protect our infrastructure and digital economy.

“Hence, the importance of having a robust cybersecurity strategy cannot be overstated, and it is essential to protect our digital infrastructure, businesses, and citizens.”.

“It aligns with our National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, which identifies cybersecurity as a priority area. Our strategy aims to build a digital economy that is safe, secure, and resilient.

“Furthermore, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy is focused on eight pillars, and one of them is developing a robust digital infrastructure. We understand that cybersecurity is an integral component of this infrastructure, and as such, we are committed to strengthening our cybersecurity posture. This is also the focus of the Soft Infrastructure pillar.

“You may also be aware of the Federal Government’s commitment to building a resilient cybersecurity, hence the development of and review of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy in 2021, which provides a comprehensive framework for addressing cybersecurity challenges in the country.

“We are partnering with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and other institutions to ensure that our cyberspace is more secure. This is because the task of securing our cyberspace cannot be achieved by the government alone. It requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society organisations, and academia. This workshop is part of our efforts to achieve this goal.

“In conclusion, the time to act is now, and I urge you all to take this issue seriously, contribute meaningfully to this workshop and let us forge a resilient and robust cybersecurity culture in Nigeria,” he added.