NCC’ll raise bar in gains in terms of digital inclusion – Danbatta

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Abuja.

The Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta says it will raise the bar in the area of digital inclusion, enhanced security of cyberspace and innovation.

Danbatta said this at the ongoing Parliamentarian Africa Internet Governance Forum (AFIGF) hosted by NCC in Abuja, with the theme: “Transforming Africa’s Digital Landscape: Empowering Inclusion, Security and Innovation”.

He said that in today’s Nigeria, the financial inclusion strategy of Federal Gvernment was telco-driven.

According to him, the idea behind leveraging the telecommunications infrastructure strategy is because of the perversiveness nature of telecommunications infrastructure.

Danbatta said: “Before, the mobile money penetration was 1 per cent, but not anymore because after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), gave licences to four of our network operators.

“As we speak today, the Payment Service Bank (PSB), the digital financial inclusion index had risen to about 70 per cent.”

He reiterated that the Unsupplementary Structured Service Data (USSD) code, which drives transactions in the banking sector today was made available by NCC.

Danbatta added: “Nowadays, Nigerians do transfer without having to go to the banking halls to fill tellers.which used to be the way we were doing it before.

“This important intervention was provided in all the six geopolitical zones of the country. It is a continuous exercise and intervention.”

According to the EVC, the commission has a number of initiatives driving the national system of innovation.

He said that NCC empowered the younger ones, the middle ages and mature Nigerians outside these bracket to innovate by providing Interventions of computer systems and mifi.

About the enhanced security of the cyberspace, Danbatt said that NCC had the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (NCERT).

The EVC said that this provided an advisory on how telecommunication companies can take measures to protect themselves from malicious attack within the cyberspace.

He continued: “We even grade the nature of attack to malicious, light, heavy.”

The Secretary General (AFIGF), Hon. Samuel George, member, Ghanaian Parliament, said it was important to have a unified African cybersecurity approach to an African problem.

George said that the African Union (AU) data and policy framework had the synchronised ability to share information with the Nigerians and other African countries.

He said: “Our military and security intelligence that just deal with security, intelligence gathering and all of that should be able to share critical information with the Nigerian military sector.

“If there is a risk that covers both Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria and they do not have similar protocols, then it affects this conversation.

“And that’s why as an African continent we need to ratify this convention because the things that were topical eight years ago in 2015 are mundane now, technology has moved on.

“So we will need to catch up with it.”

On her path, the Chairperson, (AFIGF), Lillian Nalwoga said at the regional level, there had been the Africa cyber security conventions, adding that more countries were needed to be able to ascend.

Nalwoga said: “Without determination, it will be a little bit difficult to be able to address cyber crimes at a regional level.”

She also said that African countries needed to have some sort of harmonisation of cybersecurity laws in their various countries to aid fight cyber crimes.

“We need countries that have not been able to ratify this convention to be able to resolve this and also for countries that are still lagging behind in terms of coming up with the right cybersecurity laws.

“It is not just about cybersecurity. We also need to have countries adopting data protection and privacy laws because it allow the government to do some level of surveillance.

“We need to have cybersecurity laws come up in the same framework as data protection for the rights of the citizens.

“Cybersecurity is important because it protects the citizen from non state actors themselves, expose citizens to risk and then from the state itself from surveillance,” she said.

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