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Concern over Nigeria's new cyber law

Nigeria , 01 Sep 2015

Concern over Nigeria's new cyber law

Barrister Charles Okoli has warned tech stakeholders in Nigeria to avoid placing too much faith in the Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015, the country's new law promulgated to curtail criminal activity online.

In an interview with ITWeb Africa on Monday, Okoli, who also attended the latest Technology Outlook Series held in Lagos, said major players in Nigeria's ICT industry, especially tech lawyers, know that the law may not be able to totally provide the legal framework that the industry needs to achieve the desired goals.

Signed into law on May 15, the Cybercrime Act of 2015 aims to stop cybercrime and has been lauded as a milestone because it is the first to be introduced to regulate cyberspace in the West African country.

Okoli said: "What we have now isn't something we can proudly boast of and say we have the right legal backing to satisfactorily combat cybercrime, secure the internet space and achieve the ideal tech space in Nigeria. This is because many aspects of the law are contradicting existing laws, are vague and are not really implementable. This is why I will like to enjoin the incumbent government, including President Buhari and the National Assembly, to review the law."

Okoli's view is that the Cybercrime Act of 2015 seems to have been passed without involving real stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Barrister Basil Udotai also shared similar opinion while speaking at the recently held Technology Outlook Series where he noted that one of the legal shortcomings in the law is its decentralised and distributed enforcement framework.

He also raised concern over compliance, how the law affects the National Security Adviser (NSA) act, and the doubtful impact of the cyber security fund.

Udotai, is quoted by regional media as saying the law also has several "unnecessarily transactional in certain areas and special provisions on the financial sector and dangerous tendency for shifting focus."

The legislation defines any crime or injury on critical national information infrastructure, sales of pre-registered SIM cards, unlawful access to computer systems, cyber terrorism, among others, as punishable offences.

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