Paradigm Initiative Nigeria Advocates Fair Cybercrime Legislation

By December 4, 2014ICT Policy

PRADIGM INITIATIVE NIGERIA

info@pinigeria.org | 234-1-342 62 45                                                                             26th November, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, you are welcome.

The focus of this Press Briefing is to drum support for a much-needed Cybercrime Bill for Nigeria. Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) has worked on this need since 2008, and with our eyes set on the need for a firm but fair legislation that does not hurt Internet Freedom.

The offence known as cybercrime involves using electronic devices by individuals to commit crimes ranging from cyber-terrorism, identity theft, to spam, among many others. There is no gainsaying the fact that cybercrime has assumed alarming dimensions in the country, constituting a menace to economic development.

Nigeria as a country is susceptible to all sorts of online attacks due to the absence of appropriate legal framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, response, investigation and prosecution of offences in the cyberspace. In 2003, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s “Economic Cost of Cybercrime in Nigeria” report revealed an annual loss of N2.15 trillion due to cybercrime.

Perpetrators of this offence often get away with the crime because there are no laws in place to prosecute offenders. Hence, the need for a fair, comprehensive and proactive legal regime to curb the menace.

In response to this missing link in the law on cybercrime, the office of the National Security Advisor and the Ministry of Justice completed work on a Cybercrime Bill 2014. This came from a revise of the earlier Cyber Security and Information Protection Agency Bill, which had provisions that had potential to restrict users’ rights to free expression and privacy, by allowing security officials apprehend and prosecute users based on suspicion and without Court Order.

The Senate has passed the cybercrime bill. The next urgent step is for the lower Legislative Chamber, the House of Representatives, to concur to its passage, before President Goodluck Jonathan will eventually sign it into law for proper implementation.

As the polity switches into election mood for February 2015, there is urgent need to make hay. Over the next eight weeks, PIN plans a range of activities to improve awareness across the public, political and business spaces to mobilize pressure on the legislature and executive to fast-track the passage of the ‘Cybercrime Bill, 2014’ before Parliament is dissolved in May 2015. Failure to achieve this will bring to waste the huge work and resources that have gone in the bill.

Specifically, we plan the following activities:

  1. Advocacy visits to lobby key stakeholders at Parliament to fast-track debate on the Cybercrime Bill 2014
  2. Roundtable workshop for opinion leaders on cyber crime
  3. Advocacy visit to political parties and key candidates to lobby them to make commitments to actions and policies to address cybercrime if they won the election as a way to make cyber security a campaign issue
  4. Capacity building for bloggers to help pressure political parties and candidates to make public commitments to address challenges of cybercrime if elected to office
  5. Information share to local journalists to aid publications highlighting the adverse effects of lack of cyber crime act on the Nigeria polity, as a way to keep the momentum on and pressure Nigerian authorities to expedite action on the bill passage
  6. Advocacy visit to media outlets to drum up support for the Cybercrime Bill 2014.

PIN, therefore, calls on all – citizens, media, businesses and governments – who value our rights to use the Internet without fear and risk, to join in partnership in this endeavor.

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If you would like more information about this topic or further project description on PIN’s ICT Policy Office, please visit www.pinigeria.org. For more information please contact: King James, Project Manager, ICT Policy on +234 9 291 63 01, or e-mail info@pinigeria.org

 

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