LAGOS – Some stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology sector on Saturday commended the Senate for passing the Cybercrimes Bill, describing it as a welcome development.
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on the bill passed by the senate on Thursday.
The bill is an Act to Provide for the Prohibition, Prevention, Detection, Response, Investigation and Prosecution of Cybercrimes and Other Related Matters, 2014.
NAN reports that the bill prescribes seven years jail term for all kinds of computer-related fraud, computer-related forgery, and offences relating to pornography, cyber-stalking and cyber-squatting.
The senate Deputy President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, said that the bill would boost the image of the country within and outside, and reduce cybercrimes.
In his reaction, Mr Bayo Banjo, the President, Nigerian Internet Group, said that the society was changing at a fast pace.
Banjo said that the delay in passing the bill would be counterproductive for the growth of the nation’s industry.
“When they wasted time in passing the bill, new developments have already come up. Well, it is a good development.
“We had hoped that the entire process of passing the bill would have been faster than now,” he said.
Banjo said the seven years jail term for any offender was adequate, adding that it also depend on the nature of the offence.
Also, Mr Wande Adalemo, the Chief Operating Officer, Oxygen Broadband, said that the passage of the bill was a good thing to the industry.
Adalemo said, “It is an all-encompassing bill; it is not just about advance fee fraud.
“It talks about the protection of data, it also talks about the content of the data vis-a-vis intellectual property right.
“I think it will also align with the local content policy of the Federal Ministry of Communication.
“Passing the bill is one thing, regulating and enforcing it is the most important part of it.
“The seven years jail term for someone that undermines a banks customer’s profile, seven years for someone that hacks into a government agency’s data base, seven years for someone that undermines the data integrity of blue chip companies, is enough to deter anyone.”
He said that enforcement and regulation was very important in achieving any meaningful progress.
“When people know that there is regulation and enforcement, this will serve as a deterrent to others,” Adalemo said.
Another stakeholder, Dr Phillip Ujomu, who is a security expert, said, “Nigeria has made frantic efforts to join the e- community.
“The passage of the bill is a very important step in strengthening our laws.
“We need to checkmate some of the activities that take place within that sector.’’
Ujomu said finance was one of the pillars of terrorism, adding that through online transactions, terrorists were able to sponsor crimes all over the world.
“We should not overlook an important point there, because one of the major pillars of terrorism is its financing, this has to do with cybercrimes.
“One of the important steps in fighting terrorism is to trace the root of their money through internet banking.
“Passage of the cybercrimes bill will help in the fight against terrorism.
“Cybercrime is an area of interest and Nigeria, having keyed into technology, surveillance and biometric technology, we need to do more in ensuring that its perpetrators are brought to book,’’ he said.
Ujomu said that the seven years imprisonment was a long time in anybody’s life.
According to him, it will deter others from falling into the crime.
“Seven years is still a lot of time because the person will be out of circulation, especially if we look at the connection of cybercrimes with terrorism,” he said. (NAN)