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Cybersafety: Why Nigeria needs indigenous cybersecurity solutions –Expert

*Victor Afolabi, Founder of Eko Innovation Centre and Curator of Art of Technology, Lagos, stresses the need for Nigerians to develop indigenous, affordable cybersecurity solutions, either for cybercrime or physical crime in the country’s digital ecosystem

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of recent increases in attacks in the country’s cyberspace, Nigeria needs homegrown cybersecurity solutions that understand the challenges of its local environment.

Mr. Victor Afolabi, Founder of Eko Innovation Centre, stated this during the grand finale of the Secure Hack 1.0 event powered by Eko Innovation Centre at the weekend in Lagos.

Afolabi, who is also the Curator of Art of Technology, Lagos, noted one of the major challenges of technology adoption in Nigeria remains cost barrier.

The expert said most technology people in the West African country are wont to buy laptops and smart devices which are foreign to do their jobs, agency report said.

According to him, such tech devices are usually very expensive.

He also stated: “Looking at the cybersecurity solutions, anti-viruses that we buy, many of them are paid for in Forex.

“And the sad thing is that they are ridiculously expensive because the Dollar rate keeps going up.”

Afolabi also explained: “This cost element increases the vulnerabilities of organisations in emerging markets like Nigeria.

“When a cybersecurity solution is too expensive, only few would be able to afford it, and that leaves many organisations vulnerable to cyber attacks.

“How do we protect ourselves when we do not have homegrown solutions.”

The Founder of Eko Innovation Centre stressed that Nigerians need solutions developed locally, either for cybercrime or physical crime that people could pay for using Naira.

He as well stated with this measure, the Nigerian  cyberspace would be more secure because consumers would be able to afford the cybersecurity solutions.

According to Afolabi, it is against this backdrop that the Innovation Centre, organised Hackathons like the secure hack 1.0 to encourage young talents with innovative ideas.

When solutions are homegrown, its maintenance would be easy, and one will not have to start sending messages to the manufacturer unlike when it’s imported, he emphasised.

Afolabi stated: “Hopefully as the Nigerian tech market matures, things would get better.

“20 years ago, nobody was building software in Nigeria, but today we are beginning to see foreign people using our talents.

“They are now taking our talents abroad and paying them a lot of money to build solutions for global use.”

The Founder projected that soon banks and other organisations would start using locally-developed cybersecurity solutions when the local market matures.

He noted that some day, Nigerian talents would build solutions that would be at per with international solutions.


On Secure Hack 1.0

Speaking on the Secure Hack 1.0, Afolabi disclosed the hackathon, launched February 2023, garnered over 400 registrations from participants to form 100 plus teams from 62 locations in four countries and across two continents of the world.

He said that the teams were split into groups of four, and were required to work together for three weeks, brainstorming and identifying new concepts based on their focus areas which include cybersecurity, physical security, and biosecurity.

Afolabi said that the best team would have the chance to win N2,000,000 prize pool and an acceleration programme investment to get their products ready for the market among other benefits, report said.

Some of the teams that participated are Cyber Hive Pitch Desk, a platform that offers cybersecurity education, include Health Waka, a platform that provides seamless tracing and tracking of sick people; Team 9 and Team 18, among others.

After the pitching of ideas, team Health Waka was declared winner of the N2,000,000 pool prize by a group of Jurors.

Some of the Jurors were Dr. Obadare Peter Adewale, Co-founder, Digital Encode Limited; Ayodele Olojede, Group Head, Emerging Businesses Africa, Access Bank, and David Ali, Chief Information, Security Officer, Airtel among others.

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