By Sarauniya Usman, Abuja
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, said being the hub of government’s treasury, we cannot toy with cyber security, especially now that the bulk of its operations have become fully digitised.
Ahmed who received Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime to his office hinted that the full embrace of ICT saves the country about N4 billion daily that would have been gulped in manual operations.
He said: “We’ve achieved substantial gross savings in the sum of about N21 billion in respect of the six hundred and two (602) MDAs paid on IPPIS.
“In recognition of the significant role played by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) in the automation of Public Financial Management (PFM), the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has
designated GIFMIS and IPPIS infrastructures as Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII).
Therefore, the OAGF and ONSA have been very engaged in an immense effort at protecting these infrastructure from cyber crimes in line with the vision and mission of Cybercrimes Act 2015, to this end, the following measures has been
put in place to mitigate risk and enhance national cyber security:
Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime paid a working visit to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) at the Treasury House in Abuja.
The Senate Committee who were on oversight functions sought to identify where there were gaps, so to find a way to close the gaps.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, who led the team,Senator Yakubu Oseni said that criminal elements around the world have chosen to turn ICT revolution into a nightmare, urging all ministries and agencies to IP their game.
Yakubu, said the benefits of digital technology are being dampened by rapid evolution of cyber security threat landscape, with increased attacks in both sophistication and severity.
“Reports indicate that there is currently a dramatic rise in cybercrime such as the ransomeware epidemic, the refocusing of malware from personal computers (PCs) and laptops to smartphones and mobile devices, the deployment of billions of under-protected Internet of Things (loT) devices, the legion of hackers-for-hire and more sophisticated launching of attacks on governments, defence infrastructure, businesses, educational establishments”.
“Similarly, the invasion of the cyberspace comes with grave consequences, and is
already costing the world huge losses in trillions of dollars, and is posing serious danger to life”.
“In Nigeria, concern is not only about the cybersecurity threat landscape, but also about weak systems. Oversight findings have revealed serious gaps in digital technology in Nigeria”.
“Our country is still lacking behind in infrastructure sophistication, data management and digital security and knowhow, which are critical to the development agenda.
In some cases, funding on digital technology infrastructure is inadequate compared to the enormity of need and challenges therein.
“On the other hand, resources allocated are not properly utilised. In such cases, there is nothing much to show in spite of huge financial commitments into building ICT infrastructure.
On Manpower development in digital technology, Oseni said, Even in Africa, Nigeria is at the bottom of cybersecurity manpower ratio to total population”.
Our institutions of learning do not seem to understand the world we live in today. Indeed, our cybersecurity consciousness and awareness rating does not come before that of any other country in the world.”
He posit that fresh experiences arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed rampaging threats to the digital ecosystem, and have further espoused the need for accelerated development in ICT.
He called for stronger collaboration between all interests and the legislature to galvanise rapid development in digital technology and cybersecurity ecosystem in our country is not needed any later than now.
“This Committee is organising an International Stakeholder Conference to be held in the month of October this year.
The conference is ultimately expected to identify gaps inherent in the system and generate appropriate synergy in the relationships of stakeholders with a view to ensuring consistency and complementarity, and articulating a structured approach to resolving Nigeria’s digital technology shortfalls and cybersecurity challenges.