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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

NigeriaAir: Cybersquatters to face 2-yr jail term, N5m fine - ITREALMSOnline

The last may not have been heard on the possible violation of the Nigeria’s Cyber Crime Act 2015, as the four who registered the NigeriaAir.ng et al and FlyNigeriaAir.ng et al, may soon be in the net of law enforcement agencies, reports ITRealms.

If found guilty according to the Section 25 of the Nigeria’s Cyber Crime Act 2015, violators who are likely the registrants including Messrs Olumayowa Elegbede, Omo Naija Daada, Peter Nwagbogu, and Philip Obin, may face 2-year jail term, N5m fine or both each.

As at press time, Nigeriaair.ng et al were registered by Olumayowa Elegbede; Flynigeriaair.ng was registered by Omo Naija Daada on July 19, 2018; Flynigeriaair.com.ng was registered by Peter Nwagbogu on July 20, 2018 and Flynigeriaair.com was registered by Philip Obin on July 18, 2018.
Cybersquatting, ITRealms gathered, is the practice of registering names, especially well-known company or brand names, as Internet domains, in the hope of reselling them at a profit.

According to the reports by Techpoint, “As of July 18, 2018, the day of the unveiling, NigeriaAir.ng and NigeriaAir.com.ng” were still available until Olumayowa Elegbede bought them and immediately place both domains up for sale at $66,489 (about ₦24 million) each.

Investigations also by ITRealms had revealed that the flynigeriaair.ng and flynigeriaair.com.ng and flynigeriaair.com were all sold out, none has known relationship with NigeriaAir or its operators, the Ethiopian Airline as at the time of filing this report.

Further, ITRealms gathered that the Nigeria’s 2015 Cyber Crime Act, stipulates on Section 25 tagged Cybersquatting that “Any person who, intentionally takes or makes use of a name, business name, trademark, domain name or other word or phrase registered, owned or in use by any individual, body corporate or belonging to either the Federal, State or Local Governments in Nigeria, on the internet or any other computer network, without authority or right, and for the purpose of interfering with their use by the owner, registrant or legitimate prior user, commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than N5,000,000.00 or to both fine and imprisonment.
(2)    In awarding any penalty against an offender under this section, a court shall have regard to the following --‐
(a)    a refusal by the offender to relinquish, upon formal request by the rightful owner of the name, business name, trademark, domain name, or other word or phrase registered, owned or in use by any individual, body corporate or belonging to either the Federal, State or Local Governments in Nigeria; or
(b)    an attempt by the offender to obtain compensation in any form for the release to the rightful owner for use of the name, business name, trademark, domain name or other word or phrase registered, owned or in use by any individual, body corporate or belonging to either the Federal, State or Local Government of Nigeria.
(3)    In addition to the penalty specified under this section, the court may make an order directing the offender to relinquish such registered name, mark, trademark, domain name, or other word or phrase to the rightful owner.
What is not yet clear is the punitive measure put in place by the Nigeria’s domain name managers, the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) against any accredited registrar in event of cyber-squatting.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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