The National Information Technology Development Agency has commenced operations of the National Public Key Infrastructure to ensure safety of communication services online.
Hadiza Umar, the Head, Cooperate Affairs and External Relations of NITDA, said this on Wednesday in a statement in Abuja.
Umar said the commencement of the NPKI was unveiled by Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of the agency, in a Key Generation and Handover Ceremony for Root Certification Authority for Country Signing Certification Authority and Country Verification Certification Authority of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
She said the NPKI would be pivotal to the achievement of digital economy services in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria.
She said: “The national PKI will guarantee, secure communication for all online services, provide security against unauthorised access and disclosure of stored information by addressing the fundamentals of cyber security confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation.
“The deployment of the national PKI will empower e-Government and digital economy transformations through the provision of secure data exchange and authentication for electronic transactions protection which can be leveraged by the banking sector and its regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“It will ensure accreditation and authorisation of web applications which can be utilised by startups, Micro Small Medium Enterprise and corporate organisations.
“NPKI will accelerate local and cheaper digital certificates for Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), email signing and encryption for organisations.”
According to Umar, it will ensure trust, transparency, accountability, validation services in the issuance, authentication of digital identity, passports and travel documents, stamp duty, tax clearance certificates, health test results and vaccine certificates among others.
She recalled that in August 2017, the Federal Government issued presidential directives mandating NITDA to harmonise all Public Key Infrastructure related projects in Nigeria, in line with its mandate.
Umar added that the deployment of the national PKI would facilitate effective administration and regulation of the national PKI, ensuring full use and benefits of the associated PKI-as-a-Service.
She said: “Deploying the national PKI will facilitate the issuance of Document Signer Certificates, the management of the Public Key Directory (PKD) via the Country Signing Certificate Authority (CSCA) Master-list.
“It will further enhance the use of digital certificates to authenticate documents, in line with the NDEPS.”
The launch, she said, was performed by Veridos Germany, witnessed by NIMC, Galaxy Backbone Limited, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, among other stakeholders.