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Monday, October 27, 2014

Senate passes Cyber-crime bill: 7-year jail term awaits offenders



The Nigerian Senate last Thursday passed into law, a seven-year jail term for all kinds of cyber-related crimes including fraud, forgery, pornography offences, cyber-stalking and cyber-squatting within the nation’s territory, reports ITRealms.

Also, ITRealms gathered that the seven-year jail term was contained in a bill for an Act to Provide for the Prohibition, Prevention, Detection, Response, Investigation and Prosecution of Cybercrimes and for Other Related Matters 2014.

ITRealms learnt that the bill when signed into law seeks to punish interception of data, system interference and misuse of devices, with other objectives including promoting cyber security, protection of computer systems and networks, electronic communications; data and computer programmes, intellectual property and privacy rights.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, told ITRealms that anyone who commits fraud, using a computer system or network with the intention of obtaining computer data, securing access to any programme, commercial or industrial secrets or classified information would upon conviction be sentenced to seven years jail term or a fine of N7 million or both.

He also noted that anyone found guilty of possessing a manipulative device, unauthorised automatic teller machine (ATM) card, damaging a computer with the intention to defraud, trafficking in any password to defraud customers or financial institutions would be sentenced to seven years imprisonment or a N7 million fine.

Likewise, any person or organisation who intentionally trafficked in any password or similar information through a computer unlawfully with the intention to defraud public and private interests within or outside Nigeria would be liable upon conviction to a fine of N7 million or three years imprisonment.

ITRealms further gathered that the bill also spelt out a three-year jail term or N2 million fine for anyone who knew that a crime had been committed in his premises or cybercafe and failed to report to relevant authorities within seven days.

While the bill provided for compulsory registration of all cybercafes as business concerns with Computer Professionals’ Registration Council (CPN) in addition to business name registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it also spelt out three years’ jail term or a fine of N1 million for anyone who perpetrated electronic fraud through a cybercafe.

Accordingly, where the fraud was perpetrated in connivance with owner(s) of the cybercafe, such owners would be liable to a fine of N2 million or three years jail term.

In addition, ITRealms reports that the bill also provided for punishment of 10 years imprisonment without an option of fine against anyone who committed any offence in relation to critical national information infrastructure and 15 years imprisonment for any person who committed such a crime resulting in bodily harm and life imprisonment for such crime if it resulted in death of another person.

Speaking, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said enacting anti-cyber-crime law became imperative because there was no computer at the time the penal and criminal code came into force.
He stressed that passing the bill was a loud statement to perpetrators of cyber crimes that it would no longer be business as usual for them.

+Remmy Nweke +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) @CPN @SenateNG @DigitalSENSEng @NaijaAgroNet @Nkemdilim Nweke @NGRCommTech @NgComCommission @ITU #Nigeria

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Pix: Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President.

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