The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) have appointed the First Lady of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Dame (Dr.) Patience Goodluck Jonathan as ITU’s Global Child Online Protection (COP) Champion.
She received her letter of appointment at the State House, Abuja, on Friday, May 10, from the Director of ITU’s Telecommunications Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou and the Chairman of IMPACT, Datuk Mohd Noor Amin, who met with Dame Jonathan to discuss issues on cyber threats and cyber-security in the African region.
In her acceptance speech, the First Lady expressed her willingness to partner with ITU-IMPACT, to address the safety and security of children and youth around the world who, she noted, are among the top users of the internet globally.
She described as commendable, the determination of ITU-IMPACT to protect innocent children and youths around the world from exposure to various forms of online abuses, such as pornography, radicalization, trafficking and bully.
Dame Jonathan lamented that despite the unique advantages of ICT advancements, unscrupulous elements still exploit it towards compromising the safety and security of our children and youths, often for pecuniary benefits.
A statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the First Lady, Mr Ayo Osinlu, said Dame Patience Jonathan expressed her pleasure at the plans of ITU-IMPACT to build a partnership of various sectors of the global community, particularly among the 193 member countries of ITU, for the purpose of developing strategies for the control of access to and use of the World Wide Web (www), to ward off cyber insecurity for children and youths.
She appealed to parents and guardians, especially mothers, to make it a duty to show greater interest in monitoring and controlling the engagements of their children and wards on the internet.
Dame Jonathan thanked ITU and IMPACT for the honour, and promised to accord the task of protecting the world’s youths and children from cyber threats.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Chairman of IMPACT, Datuk Mohd Noor Amin said Dame Jonathan, who has won numerous accolades for her charitable works involving women and children, will be the perfect advocate for ITU’s Child Online Protection (or COP) initiative.
According to him, “Her Excellency, who is both a progressive leader and renowned humanitarian, is the ideal candidate to help ITU-IMPACT in its mission to push for COP awareness and the need for national online protection framework to protect the young and innocent.”
Also speaking, the Director of ITU’s Telecom Development Bureau, Mr. Brahima Sanou stated that the “COP framework has become a crucial necessity to create a safe environment for our children while they are on the net. Both ITU and IMPACT have faith in Her Excellency’s ability to spread this message and push for reforms not only in the African region but across the globe.”
Apart from the COP initiative, ITU and IMPACT are looking at the possibility of setting up a Cyber-security Regional Centre in Nigeria which will play an essential role in supporting the expansion of ITU-IMPACT’s network globally by localizing cyber-security services to meet the unique needs of the region. Nigeria has indicated their interest and intent to host the Regional Centre under the ITU-IMPACT framework.
-From the State House Abuja