From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

As part of plans to thwart crime and promote national security, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has revealed plans to partner National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) in order to produce more forensic experts in the country.

NITDA Director General Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi said the shortage of manpower in forensic experts in the country had been one of the challenges mitigating against curbing the menace of cyber-attacks in the country.

Abdullahi made the disclosure when he welcomed the NISS Commandant, Saheed Adeleke at the NITDA headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to the DG, most government and private processes were prone to hacks and cyberattacks, and it had become imperative to improve capacity building for security agencies and private outfits to produce more forensic experts in combating these crimes.

‘The trending COVID-19 pandemic has forced the digitisation of processes and disrupted the normal way of life globally. This has led to an increase in cyber-attacks and crime waves, necessitating collaborative efforts of the relevant organs of government to ensure a safe, secure and digitally safe country,’ Abdullahi stated.

He further said that the two organisations have what it takes to proffer strategic initiatives which will help in safeguarding the lives and properties of all citizens of Nigeria as well as the sustainability of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), adding that NITDA had set up a Digital Transformation Technical Working Group for MDA’s that oversees the entire digital architecture whereby valuable information is shared through relevant platforms.

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Abdullahi agreed with the NISS commandant that the security of the nation, as much as was the agency’s mandate, was also a collective responsibility.

He disclosed that the Agency was investing hugely in cybersecurity by building capacity to have holistic insights into what is happening in the dark web in order to actively help the nation in securing her cyberspace.

He further stated that the Agency was willing to collaborate with NISS on areas of emerging technologies because according to him, every technology had its perils and promises, adding that ‘as a nation, we need to build capacities to achieve these promises and avoid the perils.’

While assuring his visitors of utmost support and collaboration, he mentioned that on intelligence gathering, the Agency had the tools and investments which could be used to get valuable information from the dark web and come up with intelligent recommendations.

Adeleke, earlier in his remarks, stated that the Institute was currently running its 14th series flagship programme which had 66 participants undergoing various courses from agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Customs Service, Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and many others.

‘Managing security of the nation should be a collective responsibility which is why we would like to tap and collaborate with you, most especially in areas of cybersecurity, in order to achieve optimum security for the nation,’ he said.

He expressed his willingness to train some staff of the Agency in any of their offered security courses.