The Secretary-General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Dr Hamadoun I. Touré recently appointed the First Lady of Nigeria and President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, Her Excellency Dame (Dr) Patience Goodluck Jonathan, as ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) Champion.
The First Lady received her letter of appointment from the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou, who met with her to discuss issues related to cyberthreats and cybersecurity in the Africa region.
Mr Sanou was accompanied by Datuk Mohd Noor Amin, Chairman of the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT), ITU’s executing arm for cybersecurity, and Andrew Rugege, ITU Regional Director for Africa.
“It is a great honour for ITU to have the support of Nigeria’s First Lady,” said Dr Touré. “Her commitment is further confirmation of the key role that ITU is playing as a global catalyst and facilitator in international dialogue and cooperation in the area of cybersecurity.”
Mr Sanou added that the “COP framework has become a crucial means of creating a safe environment for our children while they are on the net. Both ITU and IMPACT have faith in Her Excellency’s ability to spread this message and push for reforms not only in the Africa region but across the globe.”
Datuk Mohd Noor Amin said Dame Jonathan, who has won numerous accolades for her charitable work involving women and children, will be the perfect advocate for ITU’s Child Online Protection initiative. “Her Excellency is both a progressive leader and renowned humanitarian, and is the ideal candidate to help ITU-IMPACT in its mission to push for COP awareness and the need for national online protection frameworks to protect and support the younger generations online.”
In addition to the COP initiative, ITU and IMPACT are looking at the possibility of setting up a Cybersecurity Regional Centre in Nigeria which would play an essential role in supporting the expansion of ITU-IMPACT’s network globally, by localizing cybersecurity services to meet the unique needs of the region. Nigeria has indicated its interest in hosting a new Regional Centre under the ITU-IMPACT framework.
The proposed Regional Centre would become a vital hub of expertise and constitute an important component of the multi-stakeholder network that must be built to support government, industry and citizens, so that the full benefits of information and communications technology can be assured for all citizens.
“While acting as a catalyst for greater regional collaboration to address escalating cyber threats, this centre would also help promote Nigeria as an advanced cybersecurity hub for the region,” said Mr Sanou.
I hope this appointment will make the Nigerian government take the issue of cybersecurity seriously.