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NGO threatens to sue Nigeria over cyber security levy

By , Contributor
Nigeria , 08 May 2024
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

A civil society organisation has threatened legal action against the Nigerian government following the implementation of the cyber security tax. 

Since Monday of this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks and other financial institutions to implement a 0.5 percent cyber security levy on electronic transfers.

This is being conducted under the aegis of the Cybercrimes Act 2024, purportedly imposing "a levy of 0,005 equivalent to a half percent of all electronic transactions value by the business specified in the second schedule of the Act." 

The funds are to be transferred to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF), which will be managed by the Office of the National Security Adviser. Non-compliant banks face fines of at least 2% of their annual turnover. 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the levy and urged the CBN to drop the levy. 

The levy will go into effect on May 20th, two weeks after it was announced. 

SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare stated that the levy breached the provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as well as the country's international human rights obligations and commitments. 

The organisation has given President Bola Tinubu's government 48 hours, beginning Tuesday (yesterday), to rescind the cyber security charge. 

SERAP claimed that lawyer Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa was preparing the required court papers in case the government failed or neglected to act as recommended. 

"If the unlawful CBN directive is not withdrawn and appropriate steps are not taken to amend the repressive provisions of the Cybercrimes Act within 48 hours, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel the Tinubu administration to comply with our request in the public interest," said Oluwadare. 

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