The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) was established in 1978 as the umbrella body for all Information Technology practitioners in Nigeria. The Society comprises of various interest groups in the ICT industry namely: Information Technology in Academia, the Institute for Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), the Internet Services Provider Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Information Technology Systems & Security Professionals (ITSSP), Nigeria Information Technology Professionals in Civil Service (NITCS), Nigerian Women in IT (NiWIIT) and the National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS). This year’s conference was held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Information Technology for National Safety and Security”. NCS has diligently over the past few months canvassed the use of IT towards resolving the issues of national safety and security in our Country. Presentations were delivered by high profile speakers drawn from government, academia, industry, business, research and civil society.
Attendance at the 2016 national conference included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir Lawal represented by Ambassador Olukunle Bamgbose, Permanent Secretary, Political Affairs Office of the SGF; Honourable Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu; Honourable Minister of Defence, represented by Colonel A. O. Awolo; Chief of Defence Space Agency, Air Vice Marshal Tommy Victor Udoh; CEO, Galaxy Backbone Limited, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure; Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta; CEO, NIGCOMSAT, Ms. Abimbola Alale represented by Engr. Oby Okoli of NIGCOMSAT; Director General National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz represented by Mr. Chuks Onyepunuka, Acting GM, IT/IDD, NIMC; Acting Director-General, NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji; Secretary General, Association of Vice-Chancellor of Nigerian Universities and former Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Michael Faborode and President & Chairman of Council, Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria), Professor Vincent Asor.
The number of participants at the conference was over 900 from within and outside Nigeria while about 350 new members were inducted.
After the paper presentations, technical sessions, contributions of the participants and exhaustive deliberations, the following decisions were reached:
- That the proactive use of Information Technology (IT) and Geographical Information System (GIS) to achieve national safety and security has become a national imperative.
- The Conference acknowledges the successes recorded so far by the Federal Government in addressing the terrorism threat and calls for increased and more strategic deployment of IT to this end.
- That to secure the nation efficiently and effectively, there is an urgent need to develop capability to deploy IT solutions in all aspects of national safety and security.
- That there is a great need to build capacity of security agencies, the judiciary and related stakeholders in ICT, Cybersecurity, Digital forensics and related expertise to understand and combat 21st century national security challenges.
- That government and other stakeholders should aggressively begin to develop and support youth capacity building, career development and research initiatives in Cybersecurity and plan towards the development of a Cybersecurity economic subsector that is youth driven, local and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) based.
- That National Broadband Plan should be diligently implemented to spur economic growth and enable broadband deployment to achieve national safety and security; the Conference called for the immediate enactment of the Critical National Infrastructure Bill.
- That the National Cybercrime Advisory Council should work with NCS and other stakeholders to implement the Cybercrime Act 2015 and the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy. National security measures should however be balanced with privacy considerations and stakeholders should work towards the passing of Data Privacy and Lawful Interception laws.
- That local homegrown IT solutions and research should be adopted to address our national safety and security concerns; As such implementation of the local content policy and public exhibitions and campaigns by stakeholders should be used to showcase local IT capabilities in national security.
- That Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) need to do more to increase public awareness of cyber threats. As a matter of priority CERTs should work with CBN and NCC to keep Nigerians informed about cybercrime, social engineering and emerging cyber concerns.
- That challenges faced by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) should be addressed to fulfill the national database obligations. Creative awareness strategies should be adopted to emphasize the need for citizens to register
- That the potential of SMAC – IoTs, Cloud and mobile should be explored and exploited by security agencies to enhance national security performance.
- That an integrated approach to the management of financial crimes and compliance will help to better detect criminal attacks, corporate fraud and corruption and ultimately reduce operational costs.
- That effective IT enabled National Safety and Security will only be achieved through meaningful partnerships and collaborations which includes government, private sector, security agencies, academia, civil society, the public, professional bodies and relevant stakeholders
- The Conference commended the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Communications for his determined and inclusive leadership in our increasingly diverse digital environment which has engendered a sense of shared purpose and ownership amongst stakeholders that is essential for innovation and sector growth. The conference called for regular reviews of sector progress and challenges.
- The Conference commended the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for its development and support of startup, youth capacity building and innovation initiatives to create jobs and wealth, diversify the economy using IT and address terrorism, cybercrime and other security issues.
Professor Sola Aderounmu
Chairman, Conferences Committee