The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary (SGF/PS), Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba OON, mni, has stated that breaches in cyber security may threaten the fair administration of justice, compromise the rule of law, and undermine the trust of citizens in the justice system.
SGF/PS made the statement in her remarks during the opening ceremony of the Cybercrimes Awareness Campaign in Abuja on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023.
She stated that in today’s digital age, legal professionals, judges and law enforcement agencies depend on secured digital infrastructure to effectively carry out assigned tasks. She explained that the “importance of cyber security cannot be overstated, especially in the context of the criminal justice system and access to justice since robust and secure cyber environment is crucial for the effective functioning of the system”.
The SGF/PS who was represented by the Director Solicitors, Mrs Gladys Odegbaro also explained that, the importance of Cyber Security cannot be overstated especially in the context of the Criminal Justice System and access to justice since robust and secure cyber environment is crucial for the effective functioning of the system.
“As the Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ) with the core function among others, ensuring access to justice for all persons and the observance of the rule of law, and effective prosecution of crimes against the state, the FMOJ in its effort to control cybercrimes has put together this awareness campaign”. She explained.
Jedy-Agba stated that today’s activity, which is organized in collaboration with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and other key stakeholders in the sector, would highlight the need for the criminal justice sector to stay ahead of emerging cyber threats and adopt best practices to ensure the secure and reliable access to justice delivery that is consistent with the ideals of democracy and the rule of law, which is the vision of the Federal Ministry of justice.
According to her, “It is important for me to state that in line with the statutory mandate of the Office of the Attorney-General to strengthen and enhance the cybercrimes legal framework in Nigeria to among other things ensure their alignment with regional and international standards, maintain international cooperation and effectively prosecute cybercrime and cyber security matters, the Federal Ministry of Justice has done the following”: Facilitated the accession to the Council of Europe’s Budapest Convention in July 2023,the only close to existing global treaty on cybercrimes; actively participated in the UN Negotiation Process of the Ad Hoc Committee to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of Information and Communications Technology for Criminal Purposes and amongst others.
The SGF/PS emphasized that the global nature of the cybercrime menace sometimes described as “phenomenon without borders” makes it imperative for governments to seek to build capacity to be able to effectively combat it and this includes awareness creation.
In her conclusion, she appreciated the partners for their support and encourages all participants to actively engage in the very interesting sessions that have been well planned out so that together, they will develop good cyber hygiene culture and secure their world.
The Honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Hon. Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, in his goodwill message explained that raising awareness will help the legal system to be better prepared to defend cyber-attacks, safeguard private information, regulate data protection and guarantee that justice is served in the face of constantly changing cyber-threats.
In his keynote address, Chair, African Union Group of Cyber security Experts, Mr Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola noted that the intertwining of law and technology promises a plethora of opportunities, by staying updated and leveraging these opportunities. He added that Professionals can not only advance their careers but also contribute significantly to a safer and more just digital environment.
Representative of the UK Government, Idongesit Udoh said that UK remains committed to partnering with Nigeria on cyber security, upholding the principles of open, peaceful and secure cyberspace.
In a goodwill message, the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede commended the Justice ministry for organizing the programme, lamenting that lately, increase in the number of computer users, growth of mobile communication and convergence of technologies has aided cybercimes.
While assuring that it is poised to continue the fight against the menace, he stated that the agency has successfully so far secured 395 convictions in advanced fee fraud cases and 1084 cybercrimes convictions in 2023 alone.
The Senior Advisor for Bureau of INL, Shaun Jameel Gavin, on behalf of the U.S Charrge d’Affairs and Leadership of INL, said the agenda of the Campaign was not just to prompt conversation but to instigate actionable change that echoes through every layer of Nigeria’s institutions and the fabric of governance as well as the US.
While the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, represented by CP Uche Ifeanyi in his good will message stated that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) recognised the urgency and the gravity of the rise in cybercrime activities which portent treats to individual, Organisations and the public sectors. He added that the NPF had re-evented Cybersecurity strategy to ensure the safety and security of the entire citizenry in digital space.
Also, the D/CEO Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Modibbo Hamman Tukur, commended the FMOJ and U.S Embassy for the initiative. According to him, the Awareness Programme would provide a platform for participants to enhance understanding of Cyber threats, learn best practices for online security and develop skills to safeguard personal and professional digital lives. He stressed that programme’s comprehensive approach covering topics such as phishing, malware, identity theft and social engineering would increase cyber literacy among Nigeria Citizenship.
In his vote of thanks, the Director Public Prosecution of the Federation, Abubakar Babadoko Mohammed represented by Deputy Director, Mr A.A Yusuf, on behalf of the Ministry appreciated all distinguished guests for honouring the invitation. Most especially the INL for the invaluable support given to the Ministry. Added that, their commitment to the course served as a testament to the global importance of Cybersecurity and the role individual play in safeguarding digital frontiers.He wished all safe journey to their destinations.
Also present were representatives from Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Civil Society Organizations among others