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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ekuwem warns of national digital disaster

The immediate past President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel E. Ekuwem, has warned of national digital disaster, saying that threat of insecurity from the cyberspace to Nigeria’s national security is real.

Ekuwem sounded this warning in Lagos while reviewing the industry for 2010 and projecting the 2011 events for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

“The threat of insecurity coming from the cyberspace to our national security is real,” he declared.

He also lamented the delays by the National Assembly in passing the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Bill, saying that it must be aggressively pursued in 2011 by stakeholders.

According to him, in the knowledge-based warfare of today, attacks and victory in cyberspace precedes physical attacks with tanks and machine guns, jet fighters and jet bombers, war ships and gunboats.

“Cyber attacks deceives, misdirects, misinforms, destroys relevant economic data before actual combat attack in the ensuing national chaos,” he said, wondering what could happen if the air and naval defense radars are compromised via cyber attacks?

“Has it ever occurred to us the tragic consequences of the wild possibility of corruption or deletion of the customer database of a bank or telecom operator? It may be wild, but it is real,” he said.

Ekuwem, who was a former president, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), also said that the establishment of a National Computer Emergency Readiness Team is long overdue and advocated for the amendment of the nation’s Evidence Act.

This, he said, would make e-payment, e-business and other electronic transactions practicable as well as ensuring that activities in Nigerian cyberspace are governed by appropriate law.

Nigeria, he said, must reiterate efforts toward fast-tracking development in the ICT sector, especially in the education subsector.

“We must rise to make concerted national efforts at accelerated development of ICT manpower in our tertiary institutions,” he said, insisting that without copious availability of expertise and skilled manpower, technical and managerial, Nigeria cannot sustain the growth in the industry.

Ekuwem, the chief executive officer of Teledom Group International, said, Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing ICT markets in the world today and certainly the fastest-growing in Africa.

He described as embarrassing that there is no single ICT event of national and global attraction and appeal that is held in Nigeria annually.

Just as he lamented non-sustainability of AfriNet, an event of NIG and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

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