Nigerian Youths Fully Connected To The Digital World – Buhari

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, appears to have changed his impression of  Nigerian youths as being lazy to be fully connected to this new digital world. An impressive Buhari aid this bright minds who falls between the ages of 25 and 30 years are the”’ drivers of this emerging digital age”.

According to him, the” country has lose  to ninety  technology hubs ” , stressing that everyday  new ones are  coming up  and they are all providing  solutions  for Nigeria and  indeed global problems.   He may have opened up  about the country’s public sector reform programmes which was focused on  digitalising certain key government operations.

President Buhari In Dubai, UAE

The Katsina born Nigerian President revealed that from ”procurement , payroll to revenue collections , the  ministries, departments and agencies, MIDAS,  are using  digital platforms  to reinforce   the government objectives    of improving efficiency , accountability  and transparency in governance.  He may have  taken advantage  of the 2019 annual  Investment meeting  in Dubai, United Arab Emirate UAE, to open up on the country’s giant strides  in creating database.

An elated  Buhari noted that with the efforts of these youthful  bright minds,  the government is working out plans  on creating  the largest  database  in Africa,  an indication that Nigeria Youths are not lazy. He disclosed  that already ”the country’s digital identity  system  has captured  over thirty million  Nigerians  and foreigners living in the country.

The President , however, noted  that while  digital mobilisation  has occurred rapidly  in the nation’s private sector, many governments  and regulatory agencies  have not kept  pace with the  development , thus opening the  doors for new waves of  cybercrime and terrorism.  The criminals, he said are” faceless and without physical addresses”.

Perhaps to preserve  the integrity  of the digital global economy, the Nigeria president hassuggested  that a ”certain level  of regulation  would be needed to do so. Appealing to the world leaders  to ensure that  the cyberspace  was inclusive, accessible and safe  , he alluded  that the cyber  world  remained a constant threat   if left ”unregulated”.

It was not surprising   why he has called for a collective effort  from both the  public  and private  sector operators  to tackle the challenge.

 The situation may look worrisome in Nigeria as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  has at different times partnered with the Australian police and  the United States Federal  Bureau of Investigation, FBI, to fight cyber crime in the country.   but political watchers   are not ease with the agency in the use of its powers to fight cybercrimes in the country. They believe that most of the people that have been dragged to Court on alleged cybercrime offence were  either political opponents of the government  or perceived enemies of the government.. They cited  the case of Doyin Okupe,

  A former  Spokesperson of Atiku Abakar , Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  presidential Campaign Council,  who was invited by the Commission over alleged cybercrimes.  There are several other  political heavyweights who  may have been  silenced by the Commission  over threats of charging them  to court  for suspected cybercrimes offence.  

Critics believe that without the intervention of the anti-graft agency to clear  the Nigeria cyber space of these faceless criminal s without  defined addresses, Nigerian  economy would have been worse for it.  This is evident  going by the  frequent arrests of internet scammer. Items usually recovered from  such people  include laptops, ipad phones,  travelling documents,  cheque books, flash drives,  internet modem and exotic vehicles of different  brands, mostly jeeps.

 The  recent arrest of  tow undergraduates internet scammers  and six other fraudsters  at the supscale  1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island , Lagos, by the  Commission , speaks volume about the involvement of these bright minds, as the President had described Youths in cyber crimes.

For the Records :  President Muhammadu Buhari Speech At An Investment Meeting In Dubai, UAE

It is with great pleasure that I address you today on this occasion of the 2019 Annual Investment Meeting here in Dubai.

I wish to thank His Royal Highness, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, for inviting me to speak at this event.

This is the 9th edition of such a gathering. At this point, I want to congratulate HH, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his vision to support such a platform where world leaders in both the public & private sectors exchange ideas on how to make this world a better place.

This morning, my brief remarks will be on digital globalisation, which we all agree is transforming the world as we know it. Almost every day, innovations and transformative ideas are rolled out. This trend is here to stay.

Today, we have a cyber world that is intangible but real. This borderless world is powerful, and it impacts the lives of billions of people, no matter how remote their physical locations are.

People work in it. People socialise in it. And people invest in it. This presents enormous opportunities. But it also remains a constant threat if left unregulated.

On the one hand, it has made the human race more productive and more efficient. Today, we have digital banking, virtual currencies and many social platforms that connect people and cultures.

On the other hand, we have seen platforms hijacked and manipulated as evidenced by the steady rise in fake news and cybercrimes.

More recently, we are also witnessing the use of the cyberspace to manipulate elections, subvert the democratic rights of citizens as well as propagate violence.

In effect, the digital world has become the new frontier for both good and evil. Therefore, the challenge for world leaders must be to ensure that this space is inclusive, accessible and safe.

In Nigeria, our mobile phone penetration exceeds eighty per cent. This means majority of Nigeria’s one hundred and ninety million citizens are fully connected to this new digital world; especially our youth.

Sixty-five per cent or one hundred and seventeen million Nigerians are under the age of 25 years. These bright minds are the drivers of this emerging digital sector.

Today, Nigeria has close to ninety technology hubs and every day, new ones are coming up and they are all developing solutions for Nigerian, and indeed global problems.

Already, these young entrepreneurs have attracted investments of over one hundred million dollars. A sizeable amount from overseas including Silicon Valley.

As many of you from this region are aware, Nigerian start-ups always have a very impressive outing at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX). Many have won prizes.

As leaders, it is, therefore, our responsibility to create the enabling environment for these minds to flourish and reach their full potential. When we came in 2015, we immediately agreed that any future economic growth must be inclusive.

We, therefore, leveraged and supported digital platforms in our numerous socio-economic programs: from training extension workers in agriculture, health and education sectors; to enabling micro-credits to increase financial inclusion.

However, whilst this digital globalisation has occurred rapidly in the private sector, many governments and regulators have not kept pace.

New waves of cybercrime and terrorism continue to threaten the positive strides being made.

On cybersecurity, Nigeria has taken the lead in cyber policing in West Africa. In this, we are working with our regional and global partners.

Furthermore, our public sector reform programs focus on digitising key operations. From procurement to payroll to revenue collections, we are using digital platforms to reinforce our objectives of improving efficiency, accountability and transparency in governance.

We are also working on creating the largest digital database in Africa. Already, our digital identity system has captured over thirty million Nigerians and legal residents.

As earlier observed, the digital world is borderless. In many instances, the criminals in this world are faceless and without physical addresses. This is why we must all come together to protect the good while eliminating the bad.

Emerging threats are difficult to prevent or manage unilaterally. It has to be a collective effort, led by both public and private sector leaders – many of whom are here today. A certain level of regulation is needed to preserve the integrity of the digital economy.

I, therefore, would ask all of us here present, over the coming days, to put our heads together and come up with proposals on how we create a digital world that is accessible, inclusive and safe.

I thank you for listening and wish you very successful deliberations. Thank you very much.

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