North’s stakeholders okay cybersecurity act

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…say banks, not citizens should bear burden

Northern Stakeholders on Thursday, May 16, rose from a one-day roundtable discussion on the Cybersecurity Act, asking the federal government to commence implementation of the Act, considering its many benefits to national security.

The stakeholders were however quick to state that, banks and other financial institutions should bear the burden of the proposed 0.5% levy, rather than passing it on to the citizens who they argued were already facing multiple taxes and levies imposed by banks.

The northern stakeholders, most of whom were drawn from Civil Society, NGOs and Academia, were led by the director of Arewa House, Shuaibu Shehu Aliyu, Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Murtala Aliyu and Director General of Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Gambo Umar, other

Reading their communique to journalists at the end of the meeting, Aliyu noted that, the discussion which was organised to review and make inputs on the Cyber Security Act, examined the degree of vulnerability to Cybercrimes, the methodology, and mechanisms to be applied, as well as the organizations to pay the levy.

According to him, “The participants acknowledged that the Cybersecurity Act is a well-articulated and necessary initiative to address the increasing cybercrimes in Nigeria. The Act is seen as a positive step towards safeguarding the country’s digital infrastructure and protecting its citizens from cyber threats.

“The participants recognized the real and significant danger posed by cybercrimes to the country. They emphasized the need for effective measures to prevent and combat cybercrimes, as they can undermine national security, economic stability, and the privacy of individuals.

“There was a general concern among the participants regarding the usage of funds collected through the proposed 0.5% levy. They stressed the importance of accountability and prudent utilization of the funds to ensure that they are allocated to the appropriate areas, such as strengthening cybersecurity capabilities, enhancing law enforcement efforts, and supporting initiatives aimed at educating the public about cyber threats.

“The participants recognized that citizens already face multiple taxes and levies imposed by banks and other financial institutions. They emphasized the need for these institutions to bear the burden of the proposed 0.5% levy, rather than passing it on to the citizens. This approach would alleviate the financial strain on individuals and ensure that the responsibility is shared by institutions that directly benefit from enhanced cybersecurity measures.

“The participants acknowledged the prevailing physical insecurity challenges, such as kidnappings, terrorism, and banditry in the Northern region. They emphasized the need to allocate a portion of the funds generated through the proposed levy to address these issues.

“By investing in initiatives to enhance physical security, the government can create an environment that supports the effective implementation of the Cybersecurity Act, as both cyber and physical security are interconnected.

“The participants recognized the need for collaboration among various stakeholders, including government agencies, academia, NGOs, and Civil Society Organizations, to effectively implement the provisions of the Cybersecurity Act. They emphasized the importance of fostering partnerships to share knowledge, resources, and best practices in combating cybercrimes.

“The participants emphasised the importance of ensuring that the implementation of the Cybersecurity Act does not infringe upon the civil liberties and privacy rights of individuals. They urged for the development of safeguards and mechanisms to protect the rights of individuals while effectively combating cybercrimes.

“The participants stressed the importance of collaboration between the government, law enforcement agencies, and the private sector to effectively combat cybercrimes. They recommended the establishment of strong partnerships and information-sharing mechanisms to facilitate timely response and investigation of cyber incidents. This collaboration would enhance the overall cybersecurity ecosystem and contribute to a safer digital environment for individuals, businesses, and the nation as a whole.

“The participants expressed their gratitude to the organizers of the round table discussion and pledged their commitment to supporting the implementation of the Cybersecurity Act. They urged the government to consider the points raised during the discussion and ensure that the Act is implemented in a manner that alleviates the burden on citizens, promotes awareness and education, and addresses both cyber and physical security challenges in the Northern region and the Country,” the communique read.

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