By James Ishaku
The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa CCIE has said that digital media provides a veritable platform to enhance National Security, and can be used to gather security intelligence, coordinate activities of security agents, promote social interaction amongst citizens and enhance social harmony.
Inuwa stated that the importance of digital media to human interaction cannot be overemphasised, considering the huge benefits it had brought to several sectors of the economy, especially with the global impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The DG who was represented by the Director IT Infrastructure Solutions, Dr Usman Abdullahi Gambo stated this while delivering a virtual lecture on, “Impact of Digital Media on National Security “at the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information 2021 Media Workshop with the theme: Enhancing Inter-Agency Collaboration in Internal Security Operations: Exploring the Public Relations and Media Perspectives.
He said the benefits of IT sector remain one of the saving graces of the world when the whole world was locked down. Top digital media companies in the world like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc recorded huge growth and profits while providing different digital services to humanity.
"The advent of digital media has transformed the way we receive and share contents and information, with significance impact on the way we transmit business and other social interactions. The ability to create, share and access digital contents without border has been a significant scientific breakthrough of the century.
Digital media has presented to us a double-edged sword. It has numerous opportunities and risks. Some of the opportunities include: ability to learn new skills outside the walls of classrooms; ability to communicate and express opinion without boundaries; collaboration and engagements; more opportunities for businesses without borders; provide platform for fast and real-time information; provide flexibility to the workforce by enabling out-of-office productivity; and facilitate creating online communities and groups". He added.
The DG recounted that NITDA was established to implement the Nigerian National Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development in the country. It was mandated by the National Information Technology Development Act (2007) to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria.
"The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS) replaced the National IT Policy and was launched and unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 28th November 2019. NDEPS provides a holistic and sustainable approach towards the development of our nation’s digital economy, which is based on the 8 pillars namely: Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy and Skills; Solid Infrastructure; Service Infrastructure; Digital Services Development and Promotion; Soft Infrastructure; Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption," he added.
Inuwa further said that in line with implementation of NDEPS, NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024 was launched and unveiled by Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FBCS on the 19th April, 2021, as part of the Agency's 20th Anniversary Celebration. The process of crafting SRAP was organic and has gone through a deliberate collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, by identifying gaps and opportunities in Nigeria’s digital economy.
"The objectives of the Strategy are to, among others, articulate a new strategy for NITDA in accordance with the current aspirations of the Government, the realities of today and the demands of the future; to contribute its quota towards the implementation of NDEPS; and to implement programs that would facilitate the digital transformation of Nigeria.
"The strategy is anchored on seven pillars with their respective goals and objectives which are: Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy and Skills; Digital Transformation; Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Cybersecurity; Emerging Technologies; and Promotion of Indigenous Content.
"As part of Cybersecurity initiatives, the Agency established the Computer Emergency Readiness Response Team (CERRT) in response to the increase in the rate of cybercrime and in fulfilment of the requirement of the National Cybersecurity Strategy. NITDA-CERRT functions as a government CERRT, coordinating and facilitating information sharing, providing mitigation strategies and recommendations for the incident response and recovery, researching and analysing trends and patterns of incident activity for Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with extension to the private sector as well," he said.
Inuwa added that the Agency has engaged in different strategic awareness campaigns and training on cybersecurity, with efforts to have a secured cyberspace for Nigerians, through cyber-monitoring centre that monitors, coordinate and support its constituency’s ICT Infrastructure.
He said, "we have help desk where both the private and public organisations in Nigeria can report cyber-incidents. This centre also engages in building collaborative platform and Cyber-Threat Analysis, DG mentioned."