By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has condemned the labeling of many hardworking Nigerians in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector as criminals.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General, NITDA made the condemnation in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, while reacting to recent mass indictments of some Nigerians for cyber frauds by the U.S. government and some other countries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Obinwanne Okeke, the Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Group, was arrested on Aug.16 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for conspiracy to commit cyber fraud of over 11 million dollars.
Okeke, however, in the course of interrogation, indicted other Nigerians as accomplices, syndicate to the crime.
“The attention of NITDA has been drawn to reports in international media indicting scores of Nigerians for cybercrimes in the United States.
“We also note a recent publication of a foreign-owned software company hitherto operating in Nigeria indicting its Nigerian employees for lack of integrity and duplicity.
“NITDA is resolute that the action of a few individuals does not represent thousands of hardworking professional Nigerians with exemplary careers in Information Technology.
“Nigerian technology entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups, and mid-sized companies have continued to blaze the trail in innovation and service provisioning in Africa and the world.
“We also celebrate thousands of Nigerian professionals who currently work and contribute to the development of innovation and IT in leading multinationals operating globally,’’ Inuwa said.
The director-general expressed fear that the outcome of the allegations may likely result in unfair treatment of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“The poor treatment and denial of certain financial services may hamper economic growth, frustrate investments into Nigerian companies, especially start-ups who need investments to sustain innovation.
“It is grossly unfair to taint an entire nation with a single brush for the alleged crimes of a few,’’ he said.
Inuwa called on international friends of Nigeria to caution their local authorities against treating innocent Nigerians traveling or living in other countries in a derogatory manner, denying Nigerians services without proof of any crime.
He commended Office of the National Security Adviser, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, other enforcement agencies for their dedication to investigations and prosecuting cyber criminals.
The NITDA boss, however, called on stakeholders to proactively work together with the agency to entrench positive cybersecurity practices and proposes policy solutions to discourage the incidences.
“The agency will in the coming weeks summon a critical stakeholder session of all stakeholders to assess our collective performance in preventing cybercrimes.
“This will be in view at proposing ideas and policies to combat this scorching menace of cybercrimes.
“We urge all stakeholders to prepare proposals and ideas to improve preventive measures to curtail cybercrimes,’’ Inuwa said. (NAN)