By Oluwatobi Opusunju
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Defence Space Administration (DSA) are inking plans for an alliance to tackle cyber security menace and engender a safe online community for Nigerians. The plan was revealed during a recent visit to the NCC headquarters in Abuja by a delegation of DSA officials.
The DSA was established by the “National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to: develop and operate military space technologies; support Nigerian military operations both within and outside the country as well as security agencies responsible for internal security, through the use of satellite; provide resilient and affordable space and cyberspace capabilities for the Nigerian military, other security and law enforcement agencies.”
The pervasiveness of the internet and growth of digital platforms have also led to a rise in cybercrimes and a surge in online hate speech with violence, especially on social media platforms.
Government bodies and industry leaders are also increasingly calling for the need to ensure a safe online ecosystem as institutions and businesses suffer significant financial losses because of cybercrimes. While the most obvious impact is online thievery, loss of business can also be significant in the instance of a denial of service attacks for large corporations.
In the same vein, governments all over the world particularly in Europe are beginning to apply tougher control on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and others to tame hate speech and violence.
The partnership between the NCC and the DSA opens a new vista to curtail cybercrime and hate speech in Nigeria. The DSA’s Chief, Major General E.G Whyte who led the delegation to the NCC stated that the partnership will help the administration in actualizing its mandate of developing and operating military space technologies; support the operations of Nigerian military and other agencies responsible for internal security by the use of information through satellite and surveillance channels.
Whyte further stated that monitoring cyberspace with curbing the activities of cyber-criminals is also one of the DSA’s key mandates.
“NCC is one of the most important agencies in Nigeria that we must collaborate with apart from the other agencies whose responsibility is to provide intelligence and security services, to help fulfill our mandate,” said Whyte; adding that the collaboration will help his agency “to have the necessary technical equipment and know how; engage in joint research and development, jointly fight cyber security crimes and tackle problems associated with the wrong use of social media networks which pose great challenge to security, promotes hate speech and violence as has been witnessed in recent times.”
Whyte further requested that the commission dedicates a frequency of spectrum for the administration use and also get linked to the National satellite in order to access and monitor the activities/ information that passes through the gateway.
He assured that the DSA will liaise with the NCC when it wants information regarding suspected subscribers lines.
The NCC’s Director of Spectrum Administration, Mr. Austin Nwaulune, who received the delegation on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, explained that although some of the demands are not within the purview of the commission alone, the NCC was already addressing some of the issues highlighted by Whyte.
One of the 8-Points Agenda of the Commission is to “form strategic collaboration and partnership with all relevant agencies for the fulfillment of shared objectives; and support the fulfillment of another agency’s objectives for the development of the nation,” said Nwaulune.
He assured the DSA of the NCC’s commitment to having a fulfilling partnership that will benefit the country.