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Nigerian team finishes second in ‘HACKERlab 2022’ competition in Benin Republic

Nigerian team finishes second in ‘HACKERlab 2022’ competition in Benin Republic

The Nigerian youthful team of Chuma Ikeh, Paul Ige, Ezekiel Victor and Mark Uchechukwu David came second in the ECOWAS Commission-organised ‘HACKERlab 2022’ competition through the OCWAR-C project funded by the European Union in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

The host team from Benin Republic emerged winners after 48 hours of non-stop competition in the final of the competition held on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, in Cotonou, Benin, with the theme “ECOWAS Youth Engaged Against Cyber Threats”, and organized in collaboration with the Computer Security Incident Response Team in Benin (bjCSIRT) of the Information Systems Agency (ASIN).

The team from Mauritania came third in the regional competition, which brought together 11 ECOWAS Member States for the competition.

According to the statement by the ECOWAS Commission, the three teams and the best female participant of the competition received monetary gifts plus cybersecurity training and certifications kits to pursue their passion in the field.

It added that the closing ceremony was marked by three speeches, including that of Ouanilo Medegan Fagla, Director of the Digital Security of the Benin Information and Digital Systems Agency, who, after congratulating the presence of women in this competition, encouraged the practice of ‘ethical hackers’, and indicated that the HACKERlab shows that there are local skills in the fight against cyberthreats.

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In his speech, Sédiko DOUKA, the ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation indicated that: “The availability of sufficient and qualified human resource in the different areas of cybersecurity is a major concern for ECOWAS.

“It is with this in mind that the Commission adopted the regional strategy for cybersecurity and cybercrime, with one of the important pillars being how to sustain the development of cybersecurity skills.”

He also stated the ECOWAS HACKERlab “is an indisputable contribution to increasing the cybernetic workforce in our community space.”

He then warmly congratulated the winners and all those who participated in this first edition of ECOWAS HACKERlab.

After having congratulated the participants, the winners and the organizers of this event, DATONDJI Gaspard, Secretary General, representing the Minister of Minister of Digital Economy and Communications of Benin, indicated in his speech that the participants constitute sub-regional talents and called on them to be leaders in digital security in the West African sub-region.

Meanwhile, the HACKERlab competition preceded the two-day 2022 ECOWAS Symposium on Cybersecurity, which was held on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, in Cotonou, Benin.

During the symposium, the actors in the field of cybersecurity from various countries conducted in-depth reflection on the actions needed to increase the cyber workforce of ECOWAS and the roadmap and appropriate recommendations to be adopted.