Today, as always, the world is faced with the challenge of crime and security. This challenge in today’s world, however, is not just physical but also electronic. The new post-modern realities of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and cyberspace have extended its frontiers of living space from physical space into cyberspace.
Today, in comparison to physical space, cyberspace is virtually co-ubiquitious, operationally more efficient, socio-politically more vibrant, economically as resourceful and information -wise more integrated. Given its ubiquity, scale and scope, cyberspace has become a fundamental feature of the world we live in.
Modern society is increasingly getting dependent on, and addicted to, ICT and cyberspace due majorly to their capacity for life and community improvement, efficiency enhancement, cost reduction and prompt and far-reaching access to information. This dependence and addiction ensure that more and more valuable resources are daily being located in, relocated to and operated from cyberspace. Today, cyberspace is the world’s prime hub of information storage, infrastructure control, smart economic management, recreational resources, social networking and, even, the prosecution of deadly warfare.
This wealth of resources, in dwelling cyberspace, is the force that is unwittingly driving the daily expansion of the phenomenon of cybercrime; which in turn, driving the need for cybersecurity.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth national cybercrime workshop organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and the Commonwealth Secretariat in Abuja, the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, noted that cybersecurity is extremely important in ensuring local, national and global security.
Shittu said: “In the face of rising global insecurity and terrorism in today’s world, the CTO is in partnership with the ministry to catalyse and develop world-class human and institutional capacity in cybersecurity.”
According to him, “This national cybercrime workshop provides a unique opportunity for relevant stakeholders in the cyberspace industry to leverage the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation’s competence and experience to design Nigeria’s work of developing human and institutional capacity on cybercrime.”
The minister said the workshop aims to increase the awareness of ICT and cyberspace stakeholders on the need and possible strategies for combating and defeating cybercrime in all its ramifications; improve the capacity of relevant ICT and cyberspace stakeholders for the training and support of cybersecurity officials; share cybersecurity best practices from across the globe; build capacity for local law enforcement in cybercrime prevention; and showcase effective strategies for drawing on the telecommunications sector to tackle cybercrime.
“When [Nigeria’s] policy is in place, it will be the official driving force for the practical development of human and institutional capacities as tools for national development,” he added.
Explaining the focus on telecommunications at the event, Secretary-General of the CTO, Engr. Shola Taylor, said that “the telecommunications sector is the primary stakeholder group of the CTO. By itself, it can contribute significantly to tackling cybercrime as this event will demonstrate, and I would like to congratulate Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications and the Nigerian Communications Commission for making it happen, and the CTO is ready to support Nigeria in this effort.”
Secretary-General Taylor also gave credit to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office “for their funding support that made not only this workshop possible, but numerous cybersecurity-related initiatives by the CTO over the past four years.”
“I would also like to thank the Rule of Law division of the Commonwealth Secretariat for their support for this event, and I look forward to more activities of the same nature where the strengths of our two organisations could deliver greater value to the Commonwealth family.” Mr Taylor added.
In his goodwill message, the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, noted that cyberspace has the potential to deliver socio-economic development, saying cyberspace, however, needs to be open and accessible to all as well as safe and secure, adding that the Commonwealth presents one of the best models to base principles of governing cyberspace.
Arkwright said: “While tackling cybercrime remains an enormous challenge that requires the engagement of a range of stakeholders, we can build coalitions and take steps that can reduce the scope and scale of cybercrime.”
According to him, “This workshop is one such example where a set of key stakeholders representing the telecommunications sector, come together to learn from proven practices to develop unique national responses.”
The ambassador re[resented by his senior political adviser, Mr Osaro Odemwingie, applauded the Nigeria government for the passage of the Cybercrime Act 2015, adding that a legal framework was needed for an effective response to cybercrime.
He maintained that an effective response to cybercrime requires a robust network security including appropriate network architecture and software, use of encryption, data protection legislation, information security standards and other tools of threat protection and detection.
He listed other frameworks to include cyber security awareness across business and members of the public; cooperative arrangements between law enforcement and communication service providers across the nation and a criminal justice system that facilitates the efficient prosecution of cases of cybercrime.