By Gabriel Ewepu
Abuja — The National Security Adviser, NSA, Major-General Babagana Monguno(retd), yesterday, disclosed that Nigeria lost N127bn to cybercrime through software piracy, intellectual property theft and malware attacks between 2013 and 2014.
Monguno stated this during the inauguration of a 31-man Cybercrime Advisory Council, in Abuja.
The NSA, who is also chairman of the 31-man committee, decried the situation and described it as a serious challenge members of the council must confront.
He said: “The protection of activities in our cyberspace has become increasingly important to the security of our great nation.
“You will agree with me that activities of hackers and cyber criminals in recent times have threatened government presence, economic activities, security of Nigerians and vital infrastructure connected to the internet.
“Experts have shown that the cost of cybercrime to the nation is quite significant. The 2014 annual report of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, shows that between 2013 and 2014, fraud on e-payment platform of Nigeria’s banking sector increased by 183 per cent.
“Also, a report published in 2014 by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, United Kingdom, estimated the annual cost of cybercrime to Nigeria at about 0.08 per cent of our GDP, representing about N127 billion.”
“Global tracking of cyber-attacks indicate that Nigeria is among countries with high cases of software piracy, intellectual property theft and malware attacks. This situation is a serious challenge to our resolve to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that the internet brings, while balancing and managing its associated risks.”
According to the NSA, who also serves as statutory chairman of the council, Section 42 of the Cybercrime Act 2015 provides for the establishment of the Cybercrime Advisory Council.
Members of the council are drawn from The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Directorate of State Security Service, DSS, Office of the Security Adviser, ONSA, Ministries of Trade and Investment, Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Justice, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Nigerian Prison Service, Nigerian Police Force, Galaxy Backbone, and others
The 31-man council has statutory responsibility to create enabling environment for members to share knowledge, experience, intelligence, and provide recommendation for prevention, combating and promotion of cyber-security in Nigeria.
While acknowledging the challenge of cyber crime to national development, the NSA tasked government organisations, the private sector and civil society to cooperate and fight the menace to a standstill by effectively tackling the risk of cybercrime.
Also speaking was the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who assured that the council would reinforce implementation of national policy and strategy.
The AGF also expressed optimism over the capacity of members of the council, and urged them to advance national interest as a guide in their fight against cybercrime in the country.
“The work of the Cybercrime Advisory Council being inaugurated today, will reinforce and enhance the implementation of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015 and the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy adopted on the February 5, 2015, which outline the legal, institutional and technical frameworks needed to drive the nation’s preparedness to fight cybercrime and protect Nigeria’s national interests in its engagements in cyberspace.
“Considering the borderless nature of cybercrime and emerging cyber-security threats, the only viable way forward in fighting cybercrime is through multi-stakeholder, inter-agency, bilateral and multilateral collaboration and cooperation.
“It is in this light that we look forward to the work of the council with all stakeholders to make Nigeria’s online environment safe,” Malami stated.