The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) team attended the just concluded 87th Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja Lagos, Nigeria on Monday 1st April 2019 with the theme “Challenges of Cybercrime: The Roles of Telecom Service Providers”

Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, NCC Director Consumer Affairs Bureau who delivered the welcome address stated that the TCP provides high level engagement and interaction with consumers, service providers, regulators and other stakeholders in the Telecommunications Industry. She said that the event brings to the front burner the problem of cybercrime which is currently bedeviling the Industry. As access to high speed broadband is aiding Nigerians to achieve more efficiency in their daily activities, cyber criminals, cyber hackers or cyber fraudsters are busy deploying all means necessary to defraud genuine Internet users. The issue of cybercrime is a global phenomenon which causes countries and organisations huge losses on an annual basis. She encouraged the stakeholders to contribute to the discussions of tackling cybercrime in Nigeria.

In his Opening remark, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said that the Commission would soon go live with its National Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (C-SIRT), designed to secure the telecoms cyberspace.  C-SIRT is not a group of human beings but rather a network of computers assembled to monitor issues of cybersecurity on the telecoms network. However, the lab for the C-SIRT has been setup and the equipment have been supplied, so what remains now is the configuration.

Dr. Greg Ezeilo gave a paper presentation on “The Challenges of Cybercrime: The Roles of Telecom Service Providers”. During his presentation, he highlighted the roles of Telecom Service Providers to include:

  • Information preservation: this is key to tracking a criminal. Data must be available to help catch cybercriminals.
  • Support – the telecoms companies must avail themselves to support law enforcement and all those who are charged with the duty and responsibility of tracking the criminal. They should cease all services that is rendered to the criminals
  • Reporting – they have a role to report cybercrime threats to Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (NGCERT) in cases of intrusions and attacks, on the cyberspace.
  • Interception of Electronic Communication – this is a double-edged sword because if not careful one might infringe on privacy laws. It is a role that Telecoms companies must play with strict caution. Releasing sensitive information should be done only for the purpose of cybercrime. A court warrant is required for security agencies to perform this function.

He also noted that there are stringent penalties for violation of these laws pursuant to the Cybercrime Act of 2015.

There was a panel discussion between the Telecoms Operators and NCC (the regulator), with input from various stakeholders of the industry, aimed at proffering solutions to the challenges of cybercrime. At the end of the discussions, the following resolutions were adopted:

  • NCC and Service Providers should contribute to sensitize Nigerians with Pidgin English and other local languages including different dialects;
  • Service Providers should educate subscribers about cybercrime during the sim registration process;
  • Service Providers should educate subscribers about cybercrime through the end of call notifications on their phone;
  • Service Providers should endeavor to implement KYC procedures on their subscribers in order to maintain a stronger and more credible database
  • The EVC reiterated the need for Service Providers to install cybersecurity firewalls on their various networks;
  • There is need for all-inclusiveness in developing the National Cybersecurity Strategy

The program came to an end with a vote of thanks given by Alhaji Ismail Adedigba, Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), Nigerian Communications Commissions.

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