December 3, 2021
By Ishmeal Nyakeh Brima
The Political Science Department Fourah Bay College, has on the 1st December 2021, lunched its Centre for Cyber Crime and Cyber Security studies. The event which took place at the University Committee Room Fourah Bay College was witnessed by high personalities and other state-concerned bodies. Since last year 2020, the Government of Sierra Leone realizes the dangers which by abusers from the internet, within the courts of our borders, deliberated on the enactment of a cyber-law to address the culture of cyber impunity and to prevent the abusive use of computer systems.
In his opening remarks, the HOD of the Political Science Department, Dr. Leonard Bangura said, there has not being any tertiary institution in Sierra Leone that has embarked on a proper strategy to combat the act of cyber criminality. Dr. Bangura said this is why the department of Political Science is taking the responsibility to introduce a skill of specialization, which will be of help not only to job seekers, but also the institutions that provide the opportunities. He also disclosed that the Centre will operate on the three tracks of every tertiary institution; teaching, research, and community service. Among other things, he also disclosed that the Centre will also offer industrial courses that will be of great importance to business enterprises, establishments, institutions that are all prone to cyber criminality.
Speaking on behalf of the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police, Commissioner Joseph Lahai stated that the Sierra Leone Police Force joined the fight against cyber criminality way back in the year 2000. He also noted that in 2000, 120 police personnel were trained for cybercrime investigation matters by the Chines Embassy. Commissioner Lahai also said one of the main challenges that the Sierra Police Force has been facing in the fight against cyber criminality is the inadequate training of police personnel on how to deal with cyber-criminal cases. Lahai said despite the knowledge that they have gained from some of these trainings, he said the Centre will now add to the skills of the Sierra Leone police in dealing with cyber criminality. According to Lahai, with the limited trainings and resources, the police force has made some positive results relating to cybercrime cases. He also pointed out that the absence of cybercrime laws back then, hindered the work of the police to deal with cybercrime matters. Commissioner Lahai said the enactment of the Cybercrime Act of 2020 has been of grate help to the police force in investigating cyber criminality. Lahai said the Sierra Police will be the first institution to benefit from this laudable initiative.
National Telecommunications is the body responsible to regulate the activities of mobile companies in Sierra Leone. Making his statement, the Director General of the National Telecommunications (NATCOM), Daniel Kaitibie commended the Political Science department for creating this center. He noted that nobody is immune to cyber bullying, and that the fight against cybercrime is a national concern. He said even as Director General of NATCOM, he has been tried several times by cybercrime perpetrators and cyber frauds. He also confirmed that he has been victim of cyber-attack on various social media platforms, more specifically facebook. Kaitibie assured the department of political science of their full support and cooperation.
As law enforcement and security body in the nation, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Force (RSLAF) welcomed the venture by the department, and assured that the center will received more applications from the Armed Force (RSLAF). Making a statement on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier General Rodney Huston said the national approach towards curbing cybercrime and cyber security has been relatively slow. Huston said a threat to our cyber security is very close, and it is even around us. He pointed out that there is intelligence that cybercrime professionals will very soon begin to release Armed Drones into the cyber space of countries. Brigadier Huston assured that the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Force will cooperate heavily with the center to fight cybercrime matters.
The Director of the Center for Cybercrime and Cyber Security Studies Dr. Abdul Kamara stated that according to the internet statistic data, hackers attack people globally every half minute. He pointed out that cybercrimes being committed on average per day is 2,244,000 times, from the internet security statistics, he noted. Kamara confirmed that there is a web known as “the Dark Web” where hackers do meet to carry out various cybercrimes.
He further that the center will work according to its core values that will enhance the effective running of the center. He told Concord that Integrity, commitment, and result oriented is the bedrock of the center. Kamara outlined the some of the courses which among other few are: Cyber Security and Cybercrime Awareness, Internet Governance, Combating Cyber Terrorism, Economic Growth and Innovation in Cyber Space, Internet Safety and Protection of Vulnerable people online, Building a Cyber and Security Culture, international Cooperation, Cyber Threat Intelligence and Defense, for law enforcement, Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence for legal practioners, Cybercrime Security Intelligence for security operations, Anti Money Laundry and Compliance Training, Forgery Detection and Counterfeit, Remittance and Financial Frauds, Certificates in Cyber Law and Internet Governance, Data Protection and Privacy, etc.
In his closing remarks, the HOD of the Political Science department admonished that the fight of Cybercrime is a war that is fought without physical weapons, and that the cooperative effort of all sectors in society is needed.