By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Garba Danbatta has recounted some of the gains made by the Commission in the three categories of the main theme of the 2023 Africa Internet Governance Forum (2023 AfIGF), promising that the next step is to raise the bar in the area of inclusion, enhanced security of our cyberspace as well as the area of innovation.
Danbatta gave the assurance on Wednesday, on the day two of the ongoing Parliamentarian Africa Internet Governance Forum hosted by NCC in Abuja with the theme: “Transforming Africa’s Digital Landscape: Empowering Inclusion, Security and Innovation,”
In terms of digital inclusion, the EVC noted that in Nigeria today, the financial inclusion strategy of government is telco-driven, saying that it is why it is being referred to as digital financial inclusion strategy of government. According to him, the idea behind leveraging the telecommunications infrastructure strategy is because of the perversiveness nature of telecommunications infrastructure. Before the mobile money penetration was 1% but not anymore because after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), gave licences to four of our network operators, ass we speak today, the Payment Service Bank (PSB), the digital financial inclusion index has risen to about 70%.
Danbatta reminded that the famous Unsupplementary Structured Service Data (USSD) which is driving transactions in the banking sector today was made available by NCC. So gone are the days when many of us walk into banks to do transactions, stressing that these are being driven by this USSD code and nowadays Nigerians do transfer without having to go to the banking halls to fill tellers.which used to be the way we are doing it before.
He further stated that as a Commission, NCC has a number of initiatives driving the national system of innovation. He reminded that NCC empowers Nigerians – younger ones, the one in middle age as well as matured Nigerians outside these bracket to innovate by providing Interventions of computer systems and mifi. This important intervention, he said, was provided in all the six geopolitical zones of the country, adding that it is a continuous exercise and intervention.
About the enhanced security of the cyberspace, the EVC who said though he is not speaking for the federal government, said in addition to the Nigerian Computer Incidence Response Team (NCERT) domiciled in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), to protect the Nigerian cyberspace NCC also have what is called Sectorial Sat. For NCC, the one we have is the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (NCERT) which daily provide advisory on how telecommunication companies can take measures to protect themselves from malicious attack within the cyberspace. We even grade the nature of attack to malicious, light, heavy etc, he added.
…Tijani charges parliamentarians to bridge digital divides and ensuring digital rights
Earlier in his welcome address, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani who addressed the Forum virtually charged the parliamentarians to bridge the digital divides, enhance cybersecurity, ensure digital rights and foster innovation.
Tijani who said the parliamentarians have the golden opportunity to mold the reality of internet not just as passive consumers but of active contributors, innovators and guidance, however reminded that these potential comes with great responsibility, adding that it is our collective duty to ensure that Internet remains open, safe and beneficial for all.
He encouraged all the stakeholders to prioritize collaborative approach to creating policies and strategies that will shape the future of Internet in Africa, the future that will reflect our shared values, aspirations and of course, our diversity.
The Minister thanked the AIGF team, NCC and all sponsors of the Forum for their foresight and dedication to driving change in Africa’s digital future.