As part of measures towards enhancing cyber security within the institution, the Centre for Research Development and In-House Training (CREDIT), University of Ilorin, has organised a Workshop on Security Intelligence for staff members of the Computer Services and Information Technology (COMSIT) Directorate as well as other experts and relevant stakeholders in the information technology sector of the University.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the five-day Workshop, organised in collaboration with IBM West Africa Limited last Thursday (July 6, 2016), the IBM University Relations Leader for West Africa, Mr Chinedu Onuoha, stressed the need for strong and resilient cyber security for data protection of the University’s broadband network.

Mr Onuoha observed that cyber threat posed a global challenge to all organisations, adding that with the proliferation of virtual threats such as the ransom-ware attacks, there was need to strengthen the network security infrastructure.

While noting that the issue of security cuts across all areas, the IBM official said, “The IBM system has never been hacked by anybody because of the system we have put in place.”

On application security, Mr. Onuoha explained that it is a tool for testing all applications and is capable of revealing areas of vulnerable loopholes where attacks could be launched to gain access to data or the website.

The IBM official said, “…if you know all these loopholes, the possibility of your system being hacked will be ruled out. We can boast that nobody has hacked IBM system because we have in place tools like this, by the time this is put into practice, the University of Ilorin can sit back and say nobody can hack their system because all loopholes have been revealed, all the patches need to be put in place and the entire applications in the University of Ilorin will be secured.”

He said, “This is a growing community and we have some exuberant youths who would want to try something funny, who would want to possibly amend their results, change their information but with tools like this, the network will secure that, people would hack but will not be able to break in because all the loopholes have been revealed and covered”.

Noting that Africa, which has a substantial youthful population, will have the highest workforce in the world by 2050, Mr. Onuoha pointed out that it is a massive potential work force that could drive Africa's development just as China and India. He, however, argued that unless the youths are properly imbued with the relevant skills and training, the population could pose a major challenge.

Earlier during a courtesy visit to the Vice-Chancellor, the IBM representative stated that “the University of Ilorin has a very big network that goes outside the campus and there are bound to be security issues; so this course is to show us variability, loopholes and …apart from the knowledge gained, the aspect of hands-on experience in the industry is very key.”

He said, “In addition to getting the knowledge, I also want the University to use the software, apply it, know the vulnerabilities, look for how to block it. I am happy we are dealing with educated people so there is no danger of somebody going to do yahoo-yahoo based on the knowledge gained. The knowledge gained is not for us to go and start hacking people's software, it's to protect our own software, protect our network and I believe it is going to go a long way to help us.”

Declari ng the event opened, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. (Mrs) N.Y.S. Ijaiya, maintained that training is the “back-bone of the success of any organisation whether social or business organisations.”

In the address, entitled “Training and Retraining: Key to Organisational Success”, Prof. Ijaiya, who is also the Chairperson of the COMSIT Management Board, said “it is for these reasons and more that this present administration of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali makes training  and re-training of staff a cornerstone of its policy and has been meritoriously implementing that part of its mission.”

“Today's programme is one of such efforts. Most staff, if not all, have benefitted from the training and re-training programme of this administration. It has helped to correct some deficiencies and promote efficiency and effectiveness in the system”, she stated, adding that “when this idea of IBM training was proposed by the COMSIT Management Board, the Vice-Chancellor immediately approved it as usual.”

Prof. Ijaiya enjoined participants to take advantage of the “rare opportunity” and “make sure it enhances their contributions to the development of ICT and its services in the University.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Director of CREDIT, Prof. B.S. Alabi, said that training within the University has been well supported over the years particularly under the administration of Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali.

He disclosed that IBM has rendered a service to the University as the organisation did not charge a kobo for the training. He appreciated the University management for the support towards the success of the event.

Also in his remarks, the Facilitator of the Workshop, Dr R.G. Jimoh, appreciated the University management “for believing in the development of resources that can deliver in the 21st century working environment.”

Dr. Jimoh added that “…if the management of the University  of Ilorin does not believe that there should be a paradigm shift in terms of resources, in terms of manpower and technology-driven society, of course we won't be here today.”

He explained that the University management wants the IBM to do more in certain areas and support the building of expertise in COMSIT. Dr Jimoh, who also appreciated the Director of COMSIT for his efforts towards the success of the Workshop, called on participants to acquire skills “…so that at the end of the day the investment of IBM, the investment of the University of Ilorin will not be in vain.”

In his own remarks, the Ag Director of COMSIT, Mr. A. Akingbade, said that the Workshop is important to the COMSIT Directorate, noting that the IBM is a well established organisation, which pioneered ICT development in Nigeria.

Mr. Akingabde added that the training from IBM is a welcome development, which will assist in the network services of the University.

 A highlight of the event was the presentation of souvenirs to the IBM team, Mr Onuoha and Mr Haliru Yusuf by the representative of the Registrar, Mrs. R.A Okojie.