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5G: US Warns Nigeria against Permitting Untrusted Telecoms Suppliers





Mary Leonard, United States Ambassador to Nigeria, cautioned the Nigerian government against permitting untrusted telecommunications suppliers to participate in or control any part of the fifth-generation network.


She warned that doing this would create risks to national security, critical infrastructure, privacy, and respect for human rights.


Leonard gave this warning recently, at the 2021 International Legislative-Stakeholders’ Conference on Digital Technology and Cybersecurity organised by the Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime alongside the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).


She said, “A key aspect of safeguarding the security of our digital technologies is ensuring that countries and citizens can trust the equipment and software they are using. This is especially true as a guarantee that new 5G technology and infrastructure will not introduce risks that threaten national security, personal privacy, or human rights.


“This is a particularly timely issue for Nigeria, as Nigeria prepares for next week’s 5G spectrum auction and looks to roll out Nigeria’s 5G networks after the New Year. We believe it is essential that governments, telecom operators, and network users prioritize security when building out their 5G networks.


“National measures must be crafted to mitigate significant security risks from high-risk suppliers regardless of national origin by precluding such suppliers from providing equipment software and services to 5G network infrastructure.


“Allowing untrusted telecommunications suppliers to participate in or control any part of a 5G network creates unacceptable risks to national security, critical infrastructure, privacy and respect for human rights.”


She also noted that freedom of expression, including through the internet, was an important component of an efficient democratic society.


Kashifu Inuwa, director-general, NITDA, said that Nigerian is ranked 35th in the world for online business.


He also emphasized the need for safeguarding cyberspace as more people and businesses move to the Internet.


At the event, the DG was represented by Emmanuel Edet the agency’s head of Legal Unit.


He said, “Nigeria ranks 35 in doing e-business globally and while we are at it, we need safe cyberspace.


“NITDA is ensuring that we use IT to develop the economy in Nigeria and while doing that, we cannot ignore the dangers which include cybercrime and insecurity.”


Also speaking, Ahmed Lawan, Senate President, who was represented by Hassan Hadejia, raised concerns over the growing spate of insecurity in cyberspace, stating that there was an urgent need to protect the nation from the dangers it portended.

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