At a recent gathering in Abuja, experts in information and communications technology (ICT) and related fields, as well as government functionaries deliberated on new developments in the ICT world and their implications for all countries, including Nigeria. Speakers at the event highlighted the dangers posed to Nigeria and other countries by cyber crime and called on the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, pass into law the Cyber Security Bill 2013, sent to it by the executive, to protect the nation from cyber attacks and from hackers, among other benefits.
We feel obliged to urge the National Assembly to heed this call today and expedite action on the cyber security bill before it. This step becomes imperative as Nigeria and Nigerians increasingly join the global ICT revolution. As more and more businesses and official operations move into cyberspace in Nigeria, it is not inconceivable that the global network of cyber criminals has taken note and is lurking in the shadows, waiting to hit the country. Already, we are beginning to see these criminals clone official websites of government agencies and businesses, with a view to committing crimes. In effect, cyber crime is getting more sophisticated in the country and a state of unpreparedness, legislation wise, would be foolhardy on our part.
It is needless to add that cyber crime now costs the world $114 billion yearly. Since cyber crime transcends geographical barriers, cooperation among all nations of the world is required to fight the growing scourge. Experts say that by passing into law the Cyber Security Bill 2013, Nigeria will join the rest of the world in the war against crime in cyberspace. It is in our national interest, therefore, to take this important step.
To be sure, we are infamously perceived as a nation of scammers, and undue delay in passing the cyber security bill into law will only reinforce this bad image and do incalculable damage to Nigeria's reputation in the comity of nations. This is a perception drawback that we cannot afford as government shops for more foreign direct investment to buoy our flailing economy.
As the National Assembly resumes after the Eid recess, we urge the lawmakers in both chambers to pass into law the Cyber Security Bill 2013 as a matter of urgency and put Nigeria on the same page as the rest of the world in the global fight against cyber crime.