The Federal Government will continue to monitor the activities of terrorists online to control radicalisation of Nigerians by terrorist groups and other violent cells, the President has said.
President Muhammadu Buhari explained that this was important following the huge traffic online and growing constraints on physical contacts and movements due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He made the remarks on Wednesday in Abuja, while participating at the AQABA Process virtual meeting in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
“It is important to state that the spread of COVID-19 has led to the movement of activities to cyberspace,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
He added, “Furthermore, lockdown policies and restrictions of movement in affected areas means that people would move their day to day social and business activities to cyberspace.
“This, however, comes with an increase in the risk of individuals being radicalised online.”
Sustaining Human Security
President Buhari said the Federal Government would sustain efforts to make adjustments to new lifestyles and be sensitive to the security underpinnings, as experts try to find vaccines for COVID-19 and a possible acceptable cure.
He noted that Nigeria developed a robust framework led by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to coordinate and oversee the country’s multi-sectoral inter-governmental efforts at containing the spread and mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
“This was done while currently monitoring the effects of the measures and taking steps to mitigate these effects as quickly as possible. This was in a bid to ensure sustained human security across the population.
“Earlier, we had established the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee with the responsibility of providing among others, a national vision for humanitarian actors and settling disputes that may arise from interactions between security services and the humanitarian community.
“This committee was timely as a stop-gap measure in coping with the effects of COVID-19,” the President told the meeting.
An Economic Crisis
He disclosed that the government had also taken measures to tackle the devastation of social and economic dimensions of the pandemic, with a focus on the most vulnerable citizens in the society through the provision of palliatives and other economic stimulus packages.
President Buhari explained that the measures came at a cost, but would be sustained while citing Mali as an example where social and economic challenges took a toll on the government and pushed democracy to a “breaking point.”
“Such a situation could create a vacuum that can be exploited by terrorists and violent extremists,” he said.
The President also informed the gathering of Heads of Governments at the meeting that the security landscape in Nigeria and across West Africa has continued to evolve with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that various systems in society came grinding to a halt as a result of the urgent measures taken to slow down the spread of the disease.
According to him, the measures were taken while being mindful of the toll that the virus has had in the various epicentres across the world where medical structures were strained up to breaking point while dealing with mass casualties as a result of infections from the disease.
“These measures are not without their challenges as livelihood were drastically affected and civic lifestyle is being tested to its limits.
“The whole instruments of government are now mobilised to confront what has now turned both a health emergency and an economic crisis,” President Buhari said.