President Muhammadu Buhari has said the extant tension in Nigeria is caused by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists.
In a statement issued through Femi Adesina, his spokesman, Buhari called for an overhaul of the national strategy on cybersecurity.
According to the statement, Buhari, who spoke at the launch of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 in Abuja, stressed the need to explore the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.
The President noted that the Nigerian government had taken some major policy decisions to increase penetration of the internet in the daily lives of citizens, particularly for the utilitarian purpose.
Buttressing his point, Buhari cited the launch of National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 in March 2020; National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030; National Identity Programme, Treasury Single Account and Bank Verification Number schemes.
He said: “All these initiatives serve as enablers for tackling many of the economic and security challenges facing our country while also providing us with the platform to improve accountability and transparency in our unwavering resolve to tackle corruption.
“However, like many other countries across the globe, the growth and development of the internet is accompanied by significant problems. We are witnessing a rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters, and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension.”
He added that the internet and social media had witnessed a surge in the propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data.
Buhari said, “It is almost impossible to overstate the challenges. Some global events such as the rapid emergence of new technologies, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the advent of 5G technology, have further widened the scope and diversification of these cyber threats.
“In October 2020, we all witnessed an escalation in the use of the social media for dissemination of subversive messages and incitement of violence which played a part in heightening tensions, causing unrest and spurring widespread acts of looting and destruction across the country.”