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NCC: cyber crooks threaten Nigeria’s digital transformation


The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta yesterday warned that the digital transformation of Nigeria into a network society is under threat due to the activities of cybercriminals.

He warned that unless something is urgently done to checkmate the activities of cybercriminals, the country risked going back to Stone Age where people dug holes at the back of their houses to hide money.

Dambatta said: “My humble self was a victim of hackers. Cyber criminals penetrated my dollar accounts sometimes ago. I immediately alerted the bank, but before they could act, everything I had in that account was taken. Electronic stealing or e-stealing has become sophisticated in our climes and the problem requires a holistic approach to checkmate it.”

He spoke while declaring open the 88th Edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) at the Shehu Muas Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.

He said the theme of the TCP: Challenges of Cyber-crime, the Roles of Telecom Service Providers was deliberately chosen to sustain the campaign against cyber crimes and associated criminality in the cyber space.

According to Prof Danbatta, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the NCC are taking the lead in evolving pro-active measures to checkmate cyber-crimes, stressing that currently the ONSA coordinates the Nigerian Society of Computer Emergency Response Team, while the NCC takes charge of the Cyber Security Incident Response Team.

Danbatta said the country should not be left behind in digital transformation particularly as some nations have started adoption 4G and 5G technologies, stressing that all hands must be on deck to prevent anything that would reverse the gains recorded in the telecom industry in the last two decades.

Telecom industry, he said, now contributes more than 10 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) per quarter, while “the pursuit of increased broadband penetration is particularly being driven by the NCC to bring about the desired level of digital transformation that will positively impact the government businesses and individuals to achieve better efficiency and effectiveness in their daily engagements”.

Danbatta said: “Today, access to the internet/data services sectors such as financial services, healthcare, agriculture, oil and gas, transportation, commerce and government has continued to have powerful transformational effect on the economy.

“In Nigeria, of the 173.6 million mobile lines across telecommunication networks in the country, 119 million of them are also used by their users to access internet services. Broadband or high-speed Internet penetration currently stands at 33.7 per cent.

“This translates to over 64.3 million broadband subscriptions. Efforts are also ongoing by the Commission, the service providers and other stakeholders to more than double the current broadband penetration figure in the next five years.

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