IT Experts Join Forces with NPC to Safeguard National Census Systems
By Alabidun Shuaib AbdulRahman
In anticipation of the rescheduled National Population and Housing Census, a group of Information Technology (IT) experts has expressed their commitment to safeguarding the systems that will be utilised by the National Population Commission (NPC) against external attacks and hacks.
This precautionary measure aims to prevent a recurrence of the issues encountered during the 2023 general elections.
During a recent press conference, Professor Adesina Sodiya, the National President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), addressed the media and highlighted the ongoing collaboration between the NCS and the NPC management to address areas of concern.
“Our relationship with NPC just commenced,” he said, adding that “We’ve identified areas they need to give attention to and they’re five areas. NPC has accepted that we’ll work together so we can review their work so far. INEC was open to external people.
“NPC is open and we’ll be able to learn more. The 2023 national population and housing census will be successful.”
Regarding the Society’s previous attempts to raise concerns with INEC, headed by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Professor Sodiya noted the following: “Our society wasn’t part of the last general elections. We were invited but rather was towards the end. They invited us about a week before the elections. We were asked to submit a proposal. We’d been writing to warn them of the need for a constant systems review and we wrote to INEC to always test their platforms. We told them to plan for cyber attacks. We wrote to them about 10 times.
“They told us they were independent. They later saw the reasons and invited us just a week before the elections. But they ignored us for many months. All the things we said may happen, came to pass. If you’re conducting an election on a communications platform, it means you have a lot to do.
“No systems driven by ICT is perfectly safe. INEC said they did trial elections. What did the trial do for them? When they were transmitting results, we discovered that they were transmitting dummy results.”
By adopting a proactive approach and engaging in collaborative efforts, the IT experts and NPC management aim to ensure the integrity and security of the forthcoming census, learning from the challenges faced during the previous elections.