TOYIN OGUNSEINDE, Nigeria technology industry analyst attended the Technology Times Outlook Review of Nigeria Cybercrimes Act 2015, and recaps the salient issues across stakeholders at the technology thought leadership series.
What exactly constitute a cybercrime? Who manages the “alternate taxation” running into millions of naira aggregated by the Cybercrime Security Fund established under the Nigeria Cybercrimes Act 2015?
Who do you call when a cybercrime occurs? Who enforces this Act – the Police or a special force? Most importantly and somewhat disturbing is the issue of how e-prepared the enforcers are.
These and many more are the issues raised at the thought leadership keynote presentation at the Technology Times Outlook Review of the Nigeria Cybercrimes Act 2015 delivered by Mr Basil Udotai, Managing Partner of Technology Advisors, a law firm specialising in ICT.
“Who do you call when a cybercrime occurs? Who enforces this Act – the Police or a special force? Most importantly and somewhat disturbing is the issue of how e-prepared the enforcers are.”
The Technology Times Outlook Panelists included Sola Salako, President of Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON); Emmanuel Edet, Head Legal Services & Board Matter Unit, National Information Technology Development Agent (NITDA) and Alex Muoka, the immediate past Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch.
Others include Olufemi Awoyemi, CEO, Proshare Nigeria and Tobe Okigbo, Chief Corporate Service Officer of Smile Communications Nigeria Limited.
Shina Badaru, the Founder of Technology Times, said the thought leadership presentation is organized to reshape, review and revisit the national orientation on cybercrimes.
According to him, “we have always fought wars on the land, air, sea domains but we now have a new domain in which warfare is fought – the cyberspace domain. Therefore, it becomes imperative that we have (and understand) this legislation that protects us as we live, work and play in this connected world.”
Sola Salako, President of the Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON) raised the issue of protection by the law for online marketing.
According to her, “we are fast becoming an online marketplace with a lot more Nigerians buying and selling online. I then wonder why every transaction is being charged to fund the Cybersecurity Fund, information that is really not known to the average Nigerian online and which can effectively discourage ecommerce in Nigeria.
Salako is also concerned that, “there is the twin issue of who to report to and who enforces this law. Everything is all about consumer protection; unfortunately, there is no commission to manage this law (the Cybercrimes Act) and deter the infractions by nefarious people”
Emmanuel Edet of the NITDA raised the issue of the Cybersecurity Fund noting that the Act just said that 0.005 per cent should be set aside for the Fund.
Is this a percentage of every transaction or what? And of what use is the fund going to be put to? According to Edet, “there is need for the government to fully articulate all these issues and collaborate with the citizens to have a proper framework as to the workings of the Act.
Alex Muoka, the immediate past Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch in his own submission said the Act is a radical piece of legislation that is “structurally deficient.”
Mukoa said that there is no structure in place to give life to the law (Act) as “it is surprising that the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) responsible for the Act through an Advisory Council is not itself a member of that Advisory Council. This is real funny. I also wonder who administers the alternative taxation foistered on Nigerians by the creation of the Cybersecurity Fund under this Act.
Muoka also brought to fore the issue of the expertise of the Local Enforcement Agents (LEA) in prosecuting cybercrime and related cases, which he believes is also suspect.
The lawyer also foresees that according to Section 7 of the Act, the Federal High Courts will be overburdened as they have been made the exclusive court to handle issues arising from cybercrime offences.
On his own part, Tobe Okigbo, Chief Corporate Service Officer of Smile Communications Nigeria Limited harped on the need for stakeholder engagement and collaboration.
According to him, “the law is not widely-known and as such, nefarious people can take advantage of the lacuna. There is therefore the need for collaboration and engagement to educate the citizenry.
Olufemi Awoyemi, CEO, Proshare Nigeria argued that the Act must have been drafted by the “old school” because a lot of things are missing citing the case as to whether the law covers issues of online publishing frauds.
According to him, “it is not only financial issues that constitute cybercrimes; the Act should be all encompassing that covers and defines how one lives, exist and interact”
Participants at the Technology Times Outlook review of the Cybersecurity Act also voiced their concerns in consonance with the panelists.
Sunday Folayan, the President of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), was of the opinion that people do not understand what the Act is all about.
“Cybercrime should not be punished after the crime; it should rather be discouraged from the onset.”
“Cybercrime should not be punished after the crime; it should rather be discouraged from the onset”, the President of NIRA said.
Chima Akwaja, an Editor with Leadership Newspapers contributed the fact that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), NITDA, majority of the telcos and other stakeholders were not part of the drafting of the Act and as such, there is need for massive enlightenment to carry along Nigerians.
Technology industry analyst and TV personality, Chukwuemeka Agbata also agreed that probably because stakeholders were not fully included in the drafting, the Act is not fully comprehensive.
“It should not just be a cybercrime act; it should be a comprehensive Cybersecurity Services Act”, Agbata said.