Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami on Monday reiterated the need for formulation of security policies with a technology mindset to tackle insecurity challenges in the country.
Pantami made the call in Abuja at the maiden annual conference of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), Abuja Chapter.
The conference has its theme as “Digitisation as an Enabler in Tackling Insecurity in Nigeria”.
Represented by Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Pantami said there was the need to explore new ways to address insecurity through the use of data and digital technologies.
“Digitisation is foundational, as it connects the physical world and digital world,"
“Autonomous drones’ that cut back on human involvement in these often-dangerous situations, also help cut costs while bolstering safety at the same time,"
“Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interpret satellite images, experts have long been able to tap into satellite images to help their preventive and response efforts,"
“Now, with the availability and quality of these images increasing, they offer an even more valuable resource for security,"
“The AI video surveillance of today eliminates the need for humans to spend hours staring at screens,"
“Instead, connected sensors, network storage, and AI-enabled systems can keep an autonomous, high-definition eye on things 24-7,” he said.
He further said that integrating digital technology and emergency management presented significant opportunities for innovation to tackle insecurity.
Pantami added that utilising data through social networking platforms, security agencies could check for information, share news and strategies for community security.
The Minister said, “Modern intelligence gathering devices should be acquired and deployed to relevant law enforcement agencies to address insecurity challenges adequately.”
He said the government formulated the Nigerian Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in 2019 with digital economy prosperity and security in mind.
According to him, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is also embarking on National Identity Number, as well as digital identification which would encompass both online and offline identification.
He added that digital identification would enable security agencies to track the activities of criminals anytime.
“In NITDA also, we have the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics to foster the development of emerging technologies,"
“This will prepare Nigeria for the Fourth Industrial Revolution with Research and Development in technologies like Drones, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), among others, as a veritable tool in combating national insecurity,” he said.
Pantami added that the government was building cyber security Centres to monitor activities on the dark web.
According to him, the ministry is building security capacity as well as digital literacy.
He said, “we are looking at building the digital literacy capacity of citizens up to 95 percent by 2030.”
The President of NITRA, Abuja Chapter, Blessing Olaifa, said tackling insecurity needed the input of all.
He commended activities of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, adding that the association was committed to propagating its activities on digitisation.
The Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, represented by Ahmed Yahuza, Acting Director of NCAIR, said the use of digital communication channels had increased lately especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inuwa said that increased digital communications also increased cybercrime which could be detrimental to personal security.
“While digital platforms are a great way to stay connected, we should also be cautious about the level of safety it offers,"
“It is up to individuals and organisations to ensure secure usage of these communication channels,” he said.