Nigeria Senate Pass Cyber Crime Bill into Law with Penalty (Update on Recent Bills Passed in Record Time)
After the 2001 licensing of GSM operators in Nigeria, the countries communication medium was greatly boosted. The communication gap between Nigeria and the rest of the world was significantly reduced.
As a virgin market, a lot of Information products flooded the market. Different types of computers, laptops and mobile phones also made their way to the Nigerian market prompting the availability of computer and GSM villages across major cities in Nigeria.
Nigeria is also one of the tech freak countries with craze for any new computer/mobile gadget available in the market.
Also, considering the population of Nigeria, it became very active in the cyberspace. A lot of emails transactions, website visits and other online activities like online games, electronic shopping emanated from the Nigeria space. Like every success story, it came with the ugly side.
Online fraudsters took advantage of the vulnerable cyberspace to carry out cyber-stealing/bullying/squatting/stalking/pornography and all manner of cyber crimes. The Police, ICPC and EFCC and other financial law enforcement agencies tried their best in containing the crimes; the major flaw to this fight was the non-existence of a law that neither captures specifically cyber-crime nor prescribes punishment on offenders/cyber criminals.
“Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price” – Wikipedia
Absence of this law and the resultant effect has really given Nigeria a bad name in the cyberspace. Many interest groups in the ICT industry from both government and non-governmental organizations have moved for a law to be established against cyber criminals.
October 24th 2014 marked a new dawn in the cyber environment in Nigeria when the upper chambers of the legislative arm of government passed into law the long awaited cyber crime bill.
For the past 10 years, several bills on cyber crime had been pushed to the National Assembly by the Nigerian IT experts, but none scaled through the final reading on the floor of the Senate.
Many of the bills did not even get a mention, until this cyber crime bill was approved by Senate, a development that has drawn commendations from ICT professionals in the country.
While presenting his report, the chairman of the senate committee on the bill, Sen. Umaru Dahiru, said “The introduction of the bill was timely and would protect and punish electronic fraud and other cyber related crimes in the cyberspace. The Bill when fully implemented would bring about a sustained strategic, tactical and operational approach to the fight against cyber crime”.
He added that the protection of critical national infrastructure in any jurisdiction was necessary as it was in line with the need for a broader coverage of cyber related crimes and the emerging global trends of cyber-terrorism.
Provisions of the law
- Seven years imprisonment for offenders of all kinds of computer related fraud, computer related forgery, cyber-pornography, cyber-stalking and cyber-squatting.
- Criminalize certain acts and omissions in the regional and international best practices and provision of procedural guidelines for the investigation of such offenses.
- Defines the liability of service providers and ensures that national interest is not compromised by the use of electronic communications.
- To provide a legal framework for the prohibition and punishment of electronic fraud and cyber crime whilst promoting e-government services, electronic communications and transactions between public and private bodies as well as institutions and individuals
Advantages of the Bill
Effective enforcement will:
- Deter and penalize cyber mischief.
- Stem the negative misconceptions about the Nigerian nation in the foreign media and community.
- Reduce the number of cyber criminal cases.
- Safer cyberspace.
- Confidence on e-commerce thereby boosting sales.
- Confidence during online transactions.
UPDATE ON RECENT BILL PASSED BY THE 7TH SENATE IN RECORD TIME.
In a fell swoop, the nation’s upper chamber, on Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, achieved a feat barely 24 hours to the end of the seventh Senate, passing a total of 46 Bills in just 10 minutes.
Before passage, a bill before the federal or state legislature holds public hearing before it goes for first, second and third readings, before being passed to the relevant committee to rephrase and impute necessary corrections. It is thereafter the Bill goes for assent by the President.
To pass the Bills, the Senate invoked Order 1(b) of its Standing Order 2011, as amended, to adopt a special Procedure on the Bill forwarded for concurrence.
It also suspended Order 79 (1) of the Senate Standing Order and such other Orders, and deems the entire Bill as having passed first, second and third readings on the floor of the Senate and concurred to same.
The Bills are:
- Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment etc) Act (Amendment) Bill;
- Office of the Nigerian Financial Ombudsman Bill;
- Institute of Chattered Trustees of Nigeria;
- National Convict and Criminal Records (Registry);
- Community Service; People’s Bank of Nigeria Act (Repeal);
- Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry Act (Repeal); and
- National Commission for Rehabilitation Act (Repeal).
- Maintenance Orders Act (Repeal);
- Federal Saving Bank Act (Repeal);
- Loan (State Development) Act (Repeal);
- Nigerians in Diaspora (Establishment) Commission;
- Electronic Transactions;
- Chattered Institute of Statisticians of Nigeria;
- Nigerian Metallurgical Industry;
- Federal Audit Commission;
- National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation Act (Amendment);
- Nigerian International Financial Centre (Establishment); and
- Investment and Securities (Amendment).
They also include:
- Nigerian Communication Satellite;
- Federal Capital Territory Education Resources Centre (Establishment etc);
- Labour Institutions (Establishment);
- Witness Protection Programme;
- Institute of Mediators and Conciliators;
- Legal Education Act (Amendment);
- National Health Insurance Commission;
- National Economic Intelligence Committee (Establishment) Act (Repeal);
- Federal College Dental Technology and Therapy;
- Federal Capital College of Nursing and Midwifery;
- Oaths Act (Amendment);
- Federal Capital Territory Health Management Board (establishment);
- Passport (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment);
- Chattered Institute of Management Accountants of Nigeria;
- Federal Capital Territory Water Board (Establishment etc);
- Institute of Local Government and Administration;
- Whistle-blower Protection; Family Economic Advancement Programme (Establishment, etc) Act (Repeal);
- Family Support Trust Fund Act (Repeal); and
- Nigeria Industrial Development Bank (Guarantee) Act (Repeal).
- Treasury Management;
- Legislative Powers and Privileges Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment);
- Lobbyist (Registration and Regulation;
- National Hospital for Women and Children, Abuja (Establishment etc) Act (Amendment);
- Nigerian Prison Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment);
- Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act (Amendment).
The legislators also resolved, that the Bills aforementioned, by this resolution are hereby read, and deemed read a Third time and passed, to be transmitted to the President for Assent in accordance with the Acts (Authentication) Act, and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
It was resolved that the votes and Proceedings containing all Bills be produced for adoption, as passed by the House.
The passage of the Bills presented by the chairman, Senate Committee on Rules And Business, Senate Ita Enang and eight others, followed the adoption a special procedure on Bills transmitted to the Senate from the House of Representatives for concurrence.
Presenting the Bills, Ita Enang explained that the legislative time available to the Senate between now and the end of legislative calendar was limited.
He observed that time and resources had already been expended in processing those Bills and that there is need to pass the Bills and forward them to the President for assent.
The lawmaker further noted that by mutual consent and legislative reciprocities, the House of Representatives were adopting same special procedure and passing such Bills passed by the Senate and transmitted to her for concurrence.
Votes and Proceedings of the plenary are to be adopted at today’s plenary and clean copies prepared for onward transmission to President Buhari for his assent.
Information on the update was gotten from Daily Independent