Worried about the rising rate of insecurity across the country, Nigerian ICT experts have called on that country’s government to step up its game by deploying smart and secure emerging technologies to curb national security challenges in the country.

They stressed that the government and corporate organisations must invest in the deployment of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) devices, Internet of Things (IoTs) devices, Robotics, Close Circuit Television (ccTV), among others.

The call was part of the resolution and communiqué issued at the end of the 2022 International Conference of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), which held recently in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

According to the communiqué, which was co-signed by the Chairman, Conferences Committee at NCS, Rex Abitogun Ayodeji and the NCS President, Professor Adesina Sodiya, the deployment of smart technologies is the key to curbing most security challenges confronting the nation.

Participants at the conference insisted that necessary attention must be paid to IT development in Nigeria by the government and that all stakeholders of NCS that are working with relevant agencies, should be at the vanguard of setting standards for regulating various technologies deployed in the country.

The conference resolved that the government’s digital identity programme should be reviewed and further enriched to achieve all the associated development goals, and that more efforts should be geared towards strengthening the country’s digital identity programme.

Part of the communiqué stated: “The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) must improve on the level of implementation of the digital identity management programme by upgrading the digital infrastructure capacity to allow for seamless registration and integration of identity data. Governments and corporate organisations should provide more support to Information Technology professionals to acquire the requisite training and expertise needed to effectively implement smart cities and sustainable economies. Government should create a suitable environment for learning, research, and development, with synergy among stakeholders in achieving a framework for smart, secure and sustainable nation. The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, in conjunction with NCS, should create opportunities and platforms for developing startups and young innovators in Information Technology.”

Speaking on national security at the three days international conference, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, gave insights into the use of technology in addressing national security.

Speaking about the roles of the military in the face of insecurity and insurgencies, Irabor said although insurgencies such as kidnapping and banditry and activities of unknown gunmen have taken place in most parts of the country, they could be addressed using the right technology tools. He described such insecurity as national threat to Nigeria’s unity as a nation.

Chairman of the NCS international conference and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ibrahim (Pantami), stressed the need for ubiquitous data generation and processing that would guide government’s decision in developing a smart, secure, and sustainable nation.

The communiqué advised governments and corporate organisations to increase patronage of local content as part of the strategies to move the nation forward.

“There is a need for more synergy between NCS and relevant government regulatory agencies to eliminate unsafe and unreliable digital gateways in order to create sound trust in the system and enable innovations for the digital economy,” the communiqué added.