The National Security Adviser (NSA), Retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, on Monday, said that the activities of hackers and cyber criminals were a threat to the economy and security of Nigerians and vital infrastructure connected to the Internet.
Monguno stated this at the inauguration of a 31-member Cybercrime Advisory Council (CAC) in Abuja.
He said ``the activities of criminals in our cyberspace are threatening our individual and collective privacy.''
He added that the situation was partly due to the lack of awareness on cyber security and poor enforcement of guidelines and minimum standards for security of government websites.
Monguno said that the need to take serious action to protect the country’s cyberspace had become a national security requirement.
He noted that ``the importance of serious action to protect our national cyberspace has increased tremendously with growth in number of Nigerians connected to the Internet.''
He said that the 2014 annual report of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) showed a 183 per cent increase on e-payment platform in the banking sector.
The security adviser added that in 2014, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in the UK estimated the annual cost of cybercrime to Nigeria to about 0.08 per cent, representing about N100 billion.
``This situation is a serious challenge to our resolve to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that the Internet brings,'' he said.
He pointed out that effective management of risk associated with cybercrime required collaboration between government, the private sector and civil society organisations.
The NSA said government had deployed ways of fighting cybercrime by reviewing the Evidence Act so that electronic evidence could be accepted in court.
He said that the country became the fifth country in Africa and the first in West Africa to enact the cybercrime law.
He urged members of the council to employ their experiences to discharge their responsibility to ensure a more secure cyberspace in the country.
``You have been nominated by your various organisations as members of this prestigious Council based on trust, expertise, experience and nobility of character,'' he noted.
Inaugurating the Council, Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, said that the work of the Council would reinforce and enhance the implementation of the cybercrime Act in the country.
He said that considering the nature of cybercrime, the only way to fight it was through multi-stakeholder, inter-agency, bilateral and multilateral collaboration and cooperation.
Malami assured members of the Council of the Federal Government's continued partnership and collaboration.
The minister said that the inauguration of the Council would offer opportunity for stakeholders to exchange ideas on the issue that was affecting all sectors of the economy.
He added that ``today's inauguration of the Cybercrime Advisory Council is pivotal and will provide the platform and opportunity for all stakeholders to collaborate and exchange ideas on an issue that affects all sectors of the economy.''
The Council is saddled with the responsibility of formulating and providing general policy guidelines for the implementation of the Act, among others.