Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde
Onwuka Nzeshiin Abujaâ€¨
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) yesterday endorsed the proposed amendment to the Criminal and Penal Codes Act, 2004 to curb cyber crime in the country.
Stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector have also expressed optimism about the bill which seeks to provide for offences and penalties relating specifically to cyber crimes and general computer misuse.
The endorsements came at the public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Justice on the proposed legislation.
In a memorandum presented at the hearing, the NBA observed that cyber crime required a regime of strict penalties to discourage criminals from taking undue advantage of modern ICT.
The NBA recommended that the option of fine should be increased to N20 million or 20 year jail term for anyone convicted of cyber crime.
Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, commended the authors of the bill for drafting such a legislation at a time cyber crime was relatively a new phenomenon in many developing countries.
Lamorde, however, tasked the drafters of the bill to review some of its provisions and use of language to avoid ambiguity in the final law.
Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Aisha Ahmed (PDP/Adamawa), said she undertook to draft the proposed law because the absence of cyber crime laws in Nigeria have left a vacuum that has been exploited by criminals.
According to Ahmed, the absenceof a cyber crime legislation has left sensitive economic and security information at the mercy of internet hackers and cyber crime syndicates.
In his opening remarks, Chairman House Committee on Justice, Hon. Ali Ahmad (PDP Kwara), said the bill when passed into law, would curb the activities of website hackers and internet fraudsters, commonly known as the “yahoo boys” in Nigeria.
Other institutions such as the Nigeria Law Reform Commission, Cyber Security Africa, Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as well as the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) also threw their weights behind the bill.