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Cybersecurity: Pantami inaugurates Committee for protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace, ICT infrastructure during elections

L-R: Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC; Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Hon. Minister for Communications and Digital Economy; Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of NCC Governing Board; and Mr. Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General of NITDA, During Inauguration of the Committee on Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure Protection, at NCC Head Office, in Abuja, FCT Photo: NCC

*Prof. Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, explains the Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure Protection Committee is to advise the Federal Government on appropriate measures to protect the country’s digital ecosystem from potential attacks, especially during the 2023 General Elections

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of measures to protect Nigeria’s cyberspace and ICT infrastructure from potential attacks, particularly during the country’s General Elections this year, Prof. Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Thursday, February 23, 2023, in Abuja, FCT, inaugurated a Committee.

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ConsumerConnect reports the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) disclosed the Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure Protection Committee, led by Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of the NCC Board of Commissioners, is to advise the Federal Government on appropriate measures to take in protection of the nation’s cyberspace and ICT infrastructure from potential attacks especially during the 2023 General Elections.

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, late Thursday February 23 also disclosed the Minister, representing President Muhammadu Buhari, noted his inauguration of the Committee was on the directive of the President.

Mandate of the Committee, by Minister

Pantami said the Committee would coordinate computer security centres in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry in collaboration with other relevant institutions towards intercepting potential cyberattacks.

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According to him, with the increased role of ICT in online activities and its crucial role in the conduct of the 2023 General Elections in line with the Electoral Act (as amended), the responsibility of the Committee will assist the West African country in conducting free, fair and credible elections.

Membership of Cyberspace and ICT Protection Committee

Pantami, therefore, directed the Committee, to which he also belongs alongside Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC, and Mr. Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), among other Chief Executives in the Ministry, to work round-the-clock from Friday, February 24 till the morning Monday, February 27.

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The Committee will also ensure it receives complaints around any attacks to critical infrastructure and ensure such complaints are escalated to relevant institutions, public or private, for necessary remedial actions, stated he.

The NCC further stated Prof. Mohammad Abubakar, CEO of Galaxy Backbone Limited, and Prof. Aminu Ahmad, Special Assistant to the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, are members of the Committee, including key Directors in government agencies.

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Pantami also said: “Our main responsibilities in this Committee are more of advisory.

“Firstly, when it comes to intercepting potential attacks that may come to our cyberspace.

“The Committee will  coordinate the NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team at NCC; the Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team at the National Information Technology development Agency (NITDA) and the Galaxy Backbone’ National Cybersecurity Centre.”

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The Minister explained “these three centres must work together, complement one another, and ensure they intercept any potential attacks on our cyberspace, particularly on our Critical Infrastructure during the elections, so that we could either take action or provide necessary advice to the government.”

The Committee, he disclosed, will work closely with institutions, such as the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), among others, to collectively safeguard the Nigeria’s cyberspace from potential attacks or cases of vandalism and fibre cuts during the election.

Protection of critical Infrastructure a collective responsibility, say Minister

Pantami as well said: “The challenge of protecting our cyberspace is a collective national responsibility; it is a national assignment.

“As a sector, we would play our own responsibility objectively and professionally.

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“We would work collectively rather than working individually as agencies since we are in the same sector.”

Speaking at the event, Prof. Akande, Chairman of the Advisory Committee,  expressed gratitude to the Minister for finding him and others worthy to be saddled with the very important national assignment.

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Akande also assured of the Committee’s readiness to work hard towards delivering on its mandates of ensuring protection of the cyberspace and ICT infrastructure during the elections in Nigeria.

“The committee members will do everything in their capacity to deliver on their Terms of Reference,” said the Committee Chairman.

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