By: Joy Odor/Abuja
It is an undeniable fact that the internet has become an indispensable element of everyday life. In view of this, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) deemed it fit to engage school children of different levels and age on potential harmful internet content and to protect them from cyber-related crimes.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta who made tgis known while flagging-off Cyber Security Enlightenment Program Awareness Campaign for Schools in the 36 States of the Federation starting with Abuja, on Tuesday 4th Febuary, 2020, said the involvement of students in the internet has exposed them to potential victims of grooming, inappropriate content and unscrupulous actors.
He was of the opinion that the pervasiveness of the internet and proliferation of mobile phones has made it difficult for parents and guardians to effectively monitor the online presence of their ward.
“It is important to note that although the internet provide countless opportunitie for children, it also exposes them to potential harmful content.
“According to the United Nation’s report on Nations Population Estimates and Projections which looked at Nigeria’s population from 1960-2019, chidren and youths constitute a large portion of the country’s population. The report further indicates that “The Median age of the Country is 18.4 years as at 2019.
“This however means that children and youth are the most active participants online via social network sites, making them potential victims of grooming, inappropriate content, and exposure to unscrupulous actors and the likes,” he noted.
Engineer Danbatta maintained that the campaign would educate them of the necessary information and knowledge required to safeguard against cyber criminality in line with the Commission’s responsiblities as regulator to protect and empower consumers.
He assured Nigerians that the Comission is committed to making sure the citizens are protected from cyber criminal by sensitizing secondary school children on cyber-related crimes such as internet fraud, identity theft, online soliciting of minors, collaborating with key Cyber Security stakeholders to foster and engender a robust cyber security environment for effective protection of the country’s information, communication infrastructure and networks.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission is committed to making sure that our children and youth are protected from cyber criminals by putting inplace the following initiaves, amongst them are:-
“Ongoing national cyber awareness campaign being flaggedoff today starting with the FCT and later extending to all the thrity six (36) states of federation to senitize secondary school children on cyber related crimes such as cyberbulling, internet fraud, identity theft, online soliciting of minors” prof Danbatta stressed.
In his speech at the Flag-off, Minister of Communications and Digital Ecomony, Dr. lsa lbrahim Ali Pantami explained that cyber security is one of the emerging technology that has a huge market.
He advised the students to promote Nigeria as a country that do not engage in Cyber criminal rather a country that produce Cyber professionals.
Dr Pantami urged the youths to develop themselves with digital skills to enable them compete with their counterparts in other countries.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen said although Nigeria is rated as the largest user of internet in Africa and recongnizing that children under the age of 15 years constitute over 40% of Nigerias populaion and are considered to be one of the most vulnerable group, considerable efforts is needed to ensure their protection.
She appealed to all relevant stakeholders to work closely, targeting children using the internet, to provide the needed protection from online exploitation.