Gov’t creates official employment for ‘Sakawa Boys’

The Deputy Minister for Communication, Vincent Odotei Sowah, has announced that the government would engage a section of the youth who are engaged in unethical hacking, otherwise known in the Ghanaian parlance as ‘sakawa’, for more productive cyber security ventures.

He announced this in Accra on Thursday at a stakeholder’s dialogue on cyber security issues in the country.

The forum, organised by the Media Foundation of West Africa (MFWA), was under the theme: ‘Ghana’s Cyber Security Environment: Challenges and the Way Forward’.

The Deputy Minister said the capabilities of the ‘sakawa’ youth in using the internet for dubious benefits at the expense of their victims, could be tapped by the state, as Ghana seeks to go more hi-tech.

He pointed that the use of the internet has become one of the factors of production, hence the move by the government to engage these unethical hackers.

According to Mr. Odotei Sowah, the government would fish out a number of these unethical hackers from some popular ‘sakawa’ hubs, including Swedru, Accra Newtown and Nima, to take part in a regional and national competition to identify the best hackers.

The objective of this move, he said, is to equip and empower the youth to clamp down on other cyber criminals, and to, a larger extent, curb unemployment and alleviate poverty.

He gave the assurance that his outfit, together with other stakeholders, would work closely in ensuring a safer cyber ecosystem.

“We have to put measures in place to protect data and sanitise our cyber space,” he said.

To curtail any form of cybercrime, he said that 50 percent of the responsibility depends on the individual who owns and uses the internet.

At the moment, he said his outfit was studying the National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy (NCSPS), which cabinet approved in 2016, for further additions for implementation.

Adding his voice, a Director at the Ministry of National Security, Adu-Boahen, reiterated that, “there is the need for a holistic government approach to help reduce the rate of cybercrime, especially, considering the fact that there are several computer geeks who have turned into bad nuts.”

He further stated that for the policy formulated to push for an end to cyber insecurity in the country to materialise, government institutions, civil society organisations, educational institutions, the private sector and other stakeholders must coordinate.

Taking his turn on the same issue, Mr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Executive Director of E-Crime Bureau and the new Cyber Security Advisor to the Ministry of National Security, noted that legislations guiding the use of the internet are rigid.

“Changing trends must be studied, and appropriate legislations modified to meet the dynamics of

technology,” he explained.

He mentioned that a strong governance structure involving the private sector ought to be instituted to strategise in the fight against cyber insecurity threats.

Mr. Antwi-Boasiako stressed on the essence of awareness in fighting the cyber insecurity menace, saying that it would be a key contributor to the achievement of a safer cyberspace.

Some other stakeholders took turns to highlight the forms of cyber insecurity threats, outlined policies, suggested solutions, and gave the assurance that cyber insecurity would come to an end.

However, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, Director of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Unit of the Ghana Police Service, cautioned against involving politics in the fight against cyber insecurity.

He explained that the perpetuators of cybercrime do not care about politics, and would attack anybody, irrespective of their political alignment.

On this note, he advocated a concerted effort by all stakeholders to come together to halt the menace.

Source: Suad Yakubu||The Chronicle

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