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SS-ICT4D Week 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

NigeriaAir cybersquatting rage: Good test case for Nigeria’s cybercrime law-CSEAN - ITREALMS Online

The Cyber Security Expert Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) has condemned the ongoing cybersquatting over the emergence of NigeriaAir, but described the entire episode as a good test case for the Nigeria’s cyber crime law, reports ITRealms.

CSEAN made this known to ITRealms through its president, Mr. Remi Afon during a chat over the seemingly war among some Nigerian cybersquatters.

“I believe it’s a good test for the cybercrime law in Nigeria,” he declared.

On the surface of it, Afon said it is perceived that a cybercrime has been committed with the travails of the cyber squatters, insisting that its only allegation until a court of competent jurisdiction determines the case in line with the Cybercrime Act of 2015.

“This is just a mere allegation until the suspected individual is brought before a court of law and charged with cybersquatting offence,” he said.

According to him, the trail would be an interesting one as the first time someone will be charged to court with such offence.

“And whatever outcome we get from the court will send a strong signal to the society at large,” he pointed out.

Afon also stressed that in summary the cybercrime law is subject to interpretation in terms of cybersquatting and it is up to the court to give proper interpretation regarding this specific case.

ITRealms recalled that some domain name registrants including Messrs Olumayowa Elegbede, Omo Naija Daada, Peter Nwagbogu, and Philip Obin, may face 2-year jail term, N5m fine or both each for suspected cybersquatting.

Noteworthy is that ITRealms reported 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.
Investigations also by ITRealms 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.
Chuks Egbune/GEE

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