Nigeria loses about N127bn ($425M) to cybercrime annually, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has said.
Shittu, who said this at the opening of the 2016 National Conference of the Nigerian Computer Society in Abuja on Tuesday, also disclosed that over $32bn had been invested in the Information and Communications Technology sector in the last 15 years.
The minister said financial crimes and corruption were added burden to the national security challenges threatening the very existence and development of the country.
He said, “Our growing dependence on digital infrastructure introduces and poses grave threats to national security. Nigeria loses about N127bn, which is 0.08 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, yearly to cybercrime.
“Many more Nigerians now have access to Internet facilities. Our citizens now use the enormous opportunities this digital infrastructure brings to work, transact business, campaign, communicate, learn, interact and relax.
“Evidence abounds of the growing electronic fraud and threats to digital databases, both private and government. In view of the critical nature of the economy and government activities, it is obvious that protection from different types of cyber and terrorist attacks is required.
“Software piracy, identity theft, electronic fraud, online spam, intellectual property theft and malware attacks can all lead to devastating and far reaching consequences. In addition to the activities of hackers and cyber bandits, we know cyberspace is also being exploited to aid radicalisation and violent extremism, especially among the youth.”
To address emerging cyberthreats, Shittu said the government had set up computer emergency response teams through the Office of the National Security Adviser and the National Information Technology Development Agency.
Additionally, he said, to further improve the nation’s preparedness to secure the cyberspace, the Cybercrime Advisory Council had also been inaugurated to facilitate the implementation of the Cybercrime Act, 2015 as well as the National Cyber-security Policy and Strategy.
On the positive side, the minister said ICT was currently contributing about 10 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, adding that it had created over 10 million jobs in the past 10 years.
Despite the impact, he added, there was still the need for accelerated development to foster inclusive development challenges.