Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on Tuesday said Nigeria was proactively taking steps to ensure that the Cyber Crime Act of 2015 was implemented.
Onnoghen said this at the 2nd Annual Conference on Financial Fraud and Cyber Crime in Abuja.
The conference was organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in collaboration with Organised Private Sector (OPS).
Representing Onnoghen, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reforms, said the Ministry of Justice was ensuring that cyber crime perpetrators were prosecuted for obstructing national security.
“Our intention is to ensure that Nigeria is proactively implementing our Cyber Crime Act of 2015 and also to ensure that we are implementing the Advanced Fee Fraud Act of 2007.
“We want to ensure that we are looking at cross border crimes that can affect the national security of Nigeria and we are taking proactive steps in that direction.
He said that Nigeria was in a critical situation and if nothing was done to tackle cyber crime issues in the government and across private sector, the country might become subject to gruesome cyber attacks.
“At that point it will be difficult for us to come out from it,” he said.
According to him, trainings and collaborations are ongoing among ministries, departments and agencies of government to ensure that officers are positioned to forestall cyber crime in their offices.
“A lot of work is going on both from the office of the National Security Adviser where rapid response team is working closely with NITDA.
Onnoghen said that work was also going on with the Nigeria Police Force, Economic Financial Crimes Commission as well as the Department of State Security Services.
“There is an ongoing coordination platform called the Cyber Crime Advisory Committee working on developing policies and standards against cyber attack on Nigeria.
He said that the working group was developing training programmes for law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and the financial sector.
“We are taking steps to prevent cyber crime from becoming a problem and to prevent Nigeria from being vulnerable from such attacks,” Onnoghen said.
Mr Chris Okeke, the Director, Cyber Security NITDA, said that the country adopting the Cyber Crime Act was a step in the right direction to ensure cyber protection.
Okeke, however, said that before the adoption of the Act, the agency was working to protect the country’s government information system.
“Passing the Cyber Crime into law is a great improvement and a step in the right direction, it is the way forward.
“With the act, it is a platform and the foundation for curbing cyber crime in the country. The nation is making effort and agencies are collaborating with NITDA to ensure the effective implementation of the act.
“You cannot introduce a software solution without ensuring that the software solution has adequate authentication, protection so that hackers don’t get access to it.
He said that before the passage of the act, NITDA had been doing a lot to ensure that the comprehensive protections of IT solution deployed into the country were working.
Mr Ayo Omotade, representing the OPS said that financial fraud and cyber crime was difficult to curb in the country due to lack of adequate manpower.
Omotade said that the country needed to engage young people in cyber space education to equip more hands for its monitoring.
“Financial fraud and cyber crimes are crimes perpetuated easily because the cyber space is difficult to monitor.
“We have so many challenges handling the cyber space because we don’t have enough skilled manpower in the country and we are going into IT in every aspect of our lives.
“The challenges are there and only few people can tackle them,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria has a long way to go in curtailing cyber crime, but the very sure way to handle it is capacity development right from an early age.
He said this should be imbibed in the school curriculum and in different levels of education, primary, secondary and tertiary education.
“Cyber crime education needs to come to all these spaces and counter measures should be adopted,” Omotade said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Cyber Crime Act was signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan on May 2015.
The Act is to provide definitive legal machinery in Nigeria to provide for the tackling of the pervasive problem of cyber crime from all quarters both from the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector and the legal community. (NAN)