Dame: Pioneering Youth Online And ICT Cyber Revolution,By Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele



DameThe adverse effect of the quest to be logged on is taking a big toll (including causing) addiction not just of teenagers around the world but also adults. This has affected the society tremendously in our everyday lives and activities including the workplace. The 2013, Symantex Internet Secret Threats says that 41 per cent of attacks on social media platforms are related to flakers, Malware, predators, state and non-state actors including business competitors. Other cyber security privacy issues are not just Internet oriented but behavioural, so the emergence of the First Lady, Dame Patience on this malaise affecting the world is not just by chance. As the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), IMPACT and other stakeholders took interest in the humanitarian and philanthropic strides of this Amazon by giving her the gauntlet and mandate to carry on the torch as a shining symbol of Africa.
Dame Patience was officially on 22 July, 2013, inaugurated in Geneva, Switzerland as ITU Child online Protection Champion (COP) for her relentless pursuit to protect not only Nigerian children online but the African continent. She was appointed a global ambassador to spearhead the continent’s protection of children online so as to protect them from cyber bullies, threats, strangers and all forms of harmful effects of the Internet. Prior to her investiture at Geneva, the First Lady hosted the First “National Youths Online Summit” in Abuja where the youths of Nigeria from various endeavours met with major stakeholders in the ICT sector, such as Google, NCC, NITDA, among others, to rub minds during an interactive session that was beamed live to Africa and the world by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
The event was a germane approach to reaching the youths who are the main targets online particularly when the ICT is used by majority of these age groups. The First Lady was again on target as she delivered the theme of this year’s summit: “The Internet; Emerging Threats, Solutions for the Youths,” which underscores the importance of the Internet as an ubiquitous modern day tool as well as its increasing vulnerabilities. Consequently, On the 3rd September, 2013 in line with the mandate of Her Excellency at the online summit in Abuja, she explained that the summit was the beginning of a national campaign to inculcate a culture of safety for children and youths while they are online as well as to mobilize schools, teachers, parents and government to intensify efforts directed towards ensuring their protection online.
The primary responsibility of the platform was to provide a medium for young people from across Nigeria, with the age bracket of 12-25 years; highlight and discuss emerging threats in the use of the Internet; proffer solutions that will promote safety on the information cyber highway and to ensure that children and youths stay safe while utilizing online resources. It was a platform that also provided opportunities for them to be aware of policies and efforts on child online protection around the world. The summit also had components expected to impact safety skills, a bulwark against the growing population of cyber crimes, online threats, and give first hand tool kit to empower the youths. It also afforded them online training from the private sector stakeholders like Google, New Horizon, NCC, among others. While 100 lucky participants carted away various prizes and gifts, including sponsorship from New Horizon, the First Lady also used the august occasion to unveil her website on child online protection.
Speaking at the event, the First Lady said youths must endeavour to inculcate a culture of safety while they are online, and also re-emphasized the importance of protecting young people from the negative aspects of the Internet so as not to fall prey to online predators.
The Guest Speaker, Mrs. Titi Akinsanmi, of Google West Africa, used the occasion to enlighten the youths to periodically change their password, at least, three months; restrict the amount of information posted online, and when transacting any activity electronically, to ensure that they are on authentic sites of the organizations. While the interactive session lasted, the youths shared their various experiences and posed a lot of questions to a panel of experts while a communiqué was officially presented by the youths to the First Lady, by Miss Somto Fab-Uzokor.
The summit aptly came to an end while having in attendance notable personalities like, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, Hajia Zainab Maina, Prof. Raqquayyatu Rufai, Brig. Gen. Nnamdi Okore-Affia, ICT’s service providers like Microsoft, Oracle, NIRA, CISCO and SAP.
As a prelude to what happened in Nigeria, the global youth summit ‘Beyond 2015 Costa Rica 2013’ that took place from 8th to 11th September, 2013, is a platform for young people to interact, ensure their inclusion in the most important decision of the 21st century. It was hosted by the government of Costa Rica and organized by ITU together with other organizations in the UN family, as well as partners from government, industry, media and civil society. It is expected to bring together young people from all over the world with a view to highlighting their priorities and according their concerns in crucial national as well as international policy formulation and decision making processes. It seeks to contribute to the United Nations and Civil Society engagement processes while prioritizing ICT inclusion as a central pillar.
The communiqué reached by the National Youths online Summit in Nigeria was also to form what the First Lady will be presenting to the global patron, Madam Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica at the global youth summit.
On the world stage, Dame Patience highlighted the strategic importance of the summit, saying that the historic gathering of youths from across the globe could not have come at a better time than this and that it was timely considering the significant milestone in our quest for a better world for ourselves and children. While exposing the threatening effects on the moral, physical safety and integrity of our children by the interface with the Internet.
According to her, amongst the advantages of the Internet is that it commands global audience with spontaneous dissemination of information across the globe because it is relatively cheap, accessible and affordable anytime of the day and poses no barriers to the users. She said educationally, the Internet enhances learning efficiency, improves communications ability, motivates practical learning; develops writing ability, boosts positive attitude among peers and provides variety of answers to different problems, thus enhancing academic performances of students.
While believing that the Internet has invaded our privacy and it is threatening the moral and physical security of our children, she also agreed that it has a lot of advantages; she opined that besides its interactive and other social advantage, they are used by criminally minded people to perpetuate crime against the children or persuade them into unacceptable social practices and behaviours. She recounts a 2012 statistics released by IMPACT which said a lot about fears for the youth. For instance, victims of child pornography in 2012 comprised 75 per cent female, 13 per cent of male victims and 12 per cent of both genders. Twenty-four per cent of teenage users of Twitter admitted that they are exposed to cruel behaviour, while Facebook was put at 93 per cent, Myspace 17.7 per cent and Instant Messenger was 15.2 per cent, thus emphasizing that looking at the ages of victims, it is quite alarming as 76 per cent were pre-teens, and 15 per cent teenagers and nine per cent infants.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics, has observed that cyber bullying is the most common online risk for all children which account for many deaths that parents must guide against. The Academy contends that 32 per cent of children who use Internet admitted being targets of online abuses, including postage of threatening or aggressive messages and embarrassing pictures of children online. She, however, thanked President Laura Chinchilla for hosting the world and the ITU for the event; she equally attested to the five themes of the event: “Beyond 2015 Summit,’ ‘Change Your World,’ ‘Stay Safe,’ ‘Respect your environment,’ ‘Get Ahead’ and ‘Be Healthy’ that they are all relevant to the survival of our collective aspirations as a people as well as the progress of the youths and children across the world.
In furtherance of her mandate, as the world stood still on Tuesday, 17th September, 2013, when the First Lady hosted the “2013 World Cyber-Security Conference’ with the theme “Cyber Insecurity – A Latent Threat to National Security and Economic Development,’ in Abuja, in collaboration with the private sectors, civil societies and NGOs, parading distinguished and notable speakers from across the globe that includes former Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Ehud Barack, Brahima Sanon, Mr. Tunde Lemo and Salma Abbasi, who did justice to the various themes of the year in relating to their various perspectives and professional endeavours. The Child online Protection Champion in her address to declare the conference open, said that she was convinced that online crime is indeed a global challenge which needs urgent attention from all of us.
Urging all hands to be on deck, she said since her investiture and inauguration she had been working assiduously with key partners to ensure that the huge responsibility placed on her shoulder by the UN, through ITU, is successfully carried out.
Dame Jonathan said that the Internet technology is one of the most outstanding innovations in the field of communication in the history of mankind, that its content is as diverse as human thoughts and that it has completely changed the society and opened up new vistas and avenues for communications, research, commerce and entertainment, but unfortunately, the immense benefits and contribution of the Internet comes with its risks and wishes to assure everybody, including her global partners, of her commitment in ensuring that the Nigerian child, African child, and the children of the world are protected from all forms of online risks, attack and abuses.
She, however, said for a successful drive of this global assignment given to her, she needs some key pillars necessary for the effective success of her strategies. These include, among others, capacity building in partnership with all relevant stakeholders both local and international, thereby focusing on building a human and institutional cyber security capacities; organizational structure, it will enable the creation of a viable, sustainable and smart COP campaign which will be specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time bound. While setting up a Technical Advisory Committee of 17 men and women including wives of each state governors to establish child online protection in their states to drive home this campaign to the grassroots as state COP Ambassadors. Enthusiastically, she also intended to use her office as President of African First Ladies Peace Mission, to enlist the support of her colleagues to champion the cause of COP in their respective countries.
Contributing, Mr. Tunde Lemo, Deputy Director of CBN, emphasized on what cyber fraud poses to a cash-less society. He made mention of virus, Malware, phishing, denial of service attack, website Hijack, hacking, mobile pharming, social engineering, card/data interception and terminal cloning. He said that financial institutions are the greatest culprits with 37 per cent retailers and restaurants 34 per cent, manufacturers, utilities and transportation organizations 20 per cent, with professional service firms 20 per cent, that malicious hackers execute over 7,000 attacks everyday at the targeted industries.
While reiterating cyber crime challenge to cashless Nigeria, he opined that it has surpassed illicit drug trade as global top revenue earner for organized crimes. That the cyber crime network has become a highly organized with its own value chain including researchers of strong attack methods, hackers who compromise account data and make them available to dump vendors and the dump vendors are wholesalers of compromised account data who sell to various street level fraudsters including fraud rings/networks spanning across the globe. But hopeful that measures put in place by the CBN and other financial regulators across the globe has been able to reduce the rising crime rate of perpetrators through its centralized tracking systems, policy frameworks, inter-banks data dissemination, sensitization and awareness campaign to the public of the nefarious activities of cyber crimes. He also said the CBN has instructed banks in Nigeria to instal Internet protocol (Close Circuit television, CCTV) cameras on all their ATMs and said the public should be aware, be vigilant in the type of website they enter their credit cards, debit cards for shopping and they must be aware that even banks’ website are being cloned this days.
While the keynote address speaker, Israeli former Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Barrack emphasized that young adults who are persistently logged on the Facebook or any social network are more often to show psychological disorder. He added that a cyber threat on Nigeria is also a threat to not only Africa but the entire world and lectured on a global approach for tackling cyber crime and terrorism.
While the summit had the support of Winigroup, New Horizons, NCC, NITDA, FIRS, NTA, NOKIA, and other civil society organizations, the convener of the summit, Dr. Dame Patience Jonathan said in these days of bringing your device to the office, issues like whistle blowing, security and military organizations must be mindful of the type of computer wares they bring and their visitors connect to the organization’s network and that if possible the organization should have a stand-alone software for staff, visitors, among other, so that employees can be stopped from stealing classified information and using their own drives to store them.

Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele is Media Adviser to the First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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