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Nigeria tightens laws to tackle yearly cyber-crime losses of $500m

By , Nigeria correspondent
Nigeria , 23 Nov 2023
Nigerian Senate has begun reviewing and modifying the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act of 2015.
Nigerian Senate has begun reviewing and modifying the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act of 2015.

The Nigerian Senate has raised alarm over the country's annual loss of $500 million due to cybercrime.

The Senate voiced concern that cyber-crime could erode the digital economy gains.

As a result, in order to prevent cybercriminals and anyone with malicious intent from exploiting Nigeria's digital space, the upper legislative house has begun reviewing and modifying the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act of 2015.

Godswill Akpabio, Senate president, expressed his concerns at the start of a public hearing on the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023, at the Senate Complex in Abuja.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, cyber-crime costs the country $500 million per year, and includes hacking, identity theft, cyber terrorism, harassment, and internet fraud.

The Senate president, represented by Opeyemi Bamidele, Leader of the Senate, expressed regret that certain individuals with ill-intentions are abusing cyber-crime laws and degrading Nigeria's name.

He emphasised the importance of a comprehensive legal framework for deterring, investigating, prosecuting, and pursuing cyber criminals.

"In this day and age of rapid technological advancement and widespread internet use, cyber-crime has emerged as a serious threat to our society, economy, and personal security. It is necessary to reinforce existing laws prohibiting and preventing cyber-crime. Individuals with ill-intentions have already abused our lax cybercrime laws, harming our country's name," Akpabio said.

"They are involved in a wide range of illegal activities, including hacking, identity theft, fraud, harassment, and cyber terrorism. These crimes not only caused our country substantial financial losses, but they also invaded our privacy, crippled essential infrastructure, and eroded trust in our digital systems," he continued.

The public hearing was initiated by Shuaib Salisu, chairman of the Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Security, and Shehu Buba Umar, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence.

Salisu underlined the national significance of revising the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in his opening remarks. 

He stated that cyber security is a complicated and multifaceted challenge that necessitates collaboration among the government, industry, civil society, and academics.

Umar voiced great concern over the worrisome exploitation and growing prevalence of cyber security across all sectors, stating that the huge number of cybercrime cases has compelled the country to revise its laws.

Umar emphasised the importance of prioritising cyber security funding on a national scale. 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practises Commission , the National Information Technology Development Agency, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Police were all handicapped in carrying out their jobs, he added.

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