National Assembly Complex
Stakeholders in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry have decried the Federal Government’s lack of attention to passing an enabling legislature on Nigerians cyber space.
One of them, a member of the Nigerian Cybercrime Working Group (NCWG) constituted to draft the first bill on Nigerian Cybercrime Act, in 2004, Mr. David Isiavwe, lamented the non-existent of a cyber-law eight years after.
While calling on the federal government to speed up the process as it seeks to harmonise the bills that had been drafted, Isiavwe said everyone who uses the internet is a stakeholder, and must look towards having a legislature to protect him.
He said: “Everyone, including the students, employers of labour as well as employees in public and private sectors, financial institutions, telecoms operators and other organisations in the country must know that cybercrime is real, and seek to be protected.”
On his part, the Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, who spoke to THISDAY, noted that the absence of an enabling law left vacuums and chaos in any given society and much to be desired.
According to Sesan, “The fact that there is no cybercrime legislation existing in Nigeria means that cybercrime is not exactly considered as a crime in this country.
He said: “Except the prosecutor is able to use an amalgamation of laws to prove that a crime has being committed, there is no crime. For a country that has an unfair reputation in relation to cybercrime, the fact that the National Assembly has not been able to pass any of the cybercrime bills since 2004 (when the Nigerian Cybercrime Working Group was established) makes Nigeria look unserious.
Sesan, who stated that legislation never corrected in isolation, said a law would help provide an atmosphere for fair punishment as well as discourage intending cybercriminals from carrying on with their plans.
The executive director stated that the law would work best if the socio-economic issues that had probably put some young people at risk towards cybercrime were taken care of.
He said: “If a young person is willing to use their now-negative skills positively, will they find a place of expression? People who search for credit card information for scam are misapplying research skills just as anyone who clones a website with the intention of defrauding a legitimate website designer.
“If a young person can hack to harm, then they can work with any institution to protect such against cyber-attacks in Nigeria and beyond.”
Sesan called for a legislation that would be supported by enabling an environment that allowed for positive use of skills that could be deployed for internet users.
He called for a harmonisation of the several bills that had been drafted over the years, urged financial institutions to stop burying their heads in the sand and attack the beast called cybercrime, because it hurts and affects them daily.
“With various stakeholders making input, supported by an enabling environment that encourages positive use of technology skills a better environment will be easier to achieve,” he said.