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Published On: Fri, Oct 24th, 2014

Internet fraudsters risk seven-year jail term

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cyber-criminalBy Ali Abubakar Abare and Ikechukwu Okaforadi

Seven-year jail term awaits those who use the internet to perpetuate crimes, as the Senate yesterday passed for third reading, the Bill seeking to control internet crimes in the country and recommended stiffer penalty for such offences.

According to the Bill, anyone who commits cyber-crime using a computer system or network with the intention of obtaining computer data, securing access to any programme, commercial or industrial secrets or classified information, will upon conviction; be sentenced to seven years jail term or a fine of N7million or both.

In the same vein, anyone found guilty of possessing a manipulative device, unauthorised automatic teller machine (ATM) card, damaging a computer with the intention to defraud, trafficking in any password to defraud customers or financial institutions will be sentenced to seven years imprisonment or a N7 million fine.

The Bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Prohibition, Prevention, Detection, Response, Investigation and Prosecution of Cybercrimes and for Other Related Matters 2014”, seeks to punish all kinds of computer-related fraud, computer-related forgery, and offences relating to pornography, cyber-stalking and cyber-squatting.

Among other objectives, the Bill seeks to promote cyber security, protection of computer systems and networks, electronic communications; data and computer programmes, intellectual property and privacy rights.

Sponsored by Senator Adegbenga Kaka (Ogun-East), the Bill also provided that persons or organisations who intentionally traffics in any password or similar information through a computer unlawfully with the intention to defraud public and private interests within or outside Nigeria will be liable upon conviction to a fine of N7 million or three years’ imprisonment.

The Bill also provided for a three-year jail term or N2 million fines for anyone who knows that a crime has been committed in his premises or cybercafé and fails to report to relevant authorities within one week.

It also provided for compulsory registration of all cybercafés as business concerns with Computer Professionals’ Registration Council in addition to business name registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it also spells out three years’ jail term or a fine of N1 million for anyone who perpetrates electronic fraud through a cybercafé.

In the situation where the fraud is found to have been perpetrated in connivance with the owner(s) of the cybercafé, such owners shall be liable to a fine of N2 million or three years’ jail term.

After the passage, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said enacting anti-cyber-crime law was made necessary, given that there was no computer in Nigeria at the time penal and criminal code came into force.

According to him, the Bill, when passed into law, will fill the vacuum created by the development, adding that the bill was also a statement to convince the international community that Nigeria was committed to curbing cyber-crimes in the country.

He also said passing the Bill will make perpetrators of cyber-crimes to understand that it will no longer be business as usual.


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