Law News
Senate, Reps to Begin Harmonisation of Cybercrime Bill


Following last month’s passage of the long awaited cybercrime bill by the Senate and the House of Representatives at separate occasions, the lawmakers have said they will soon begin harmonisation of the bill.
The essence of the harmonisation exercise, THISDAY gathered, is to enable members of the Senate and the House of Representatives take a closer look at the bill, fine-tune it to produce a fresh bill that will be forwarded to President Goodluck Jonathan for his assent, before it could be implemented as Nigeria’s Cyber Crime Bill.
Chairman, House Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, who gave an insight into the planned harmonisation, told THISDAY in Lagos recently that both chambers of the National Assembly are interested in the bill being signed into law for onward implementation, because of its importance in giving legal backing to the fight against insecurity in the cyberspace, which he said, has caused corporate organisations and individuals, several losses of valuable data and huge amount of money, through hacking of sites.
According to the Shehu-Gusau, a committee had already been created to work out the modalities for the planned implementation and that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the government agency responsible for the implementation of the country’s Information Technology (IT) policies, would serve as the secretariat in driving and implementing the cybercrime bill, pending when a new body is constituted to drive the implementation of cyber security in Nigeria.
The House of Representatives, he said, has a good understanding with the Ministry of Communications Technology in ensuring the unhindered growth of ICT development projects in the country.
Shehu-Gusau, who was given an honourary fellowship award at the National Information Technology Merit Award (NITMA), organised by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in Lagos recently, said he so much cherished the award, and promised to continue working for the growth of ICT in the country.
The cybercrime bill, which was sponsored by Senator Adegbenga Kaka, representing Ogun East Senatorial Zone, among other things, stipulates a seven-year jail term for all kinds of computer-related fraud, computer-related forgery, offences relating to pornography, cyber-stalking and cyber-squatting.
The bill also seeks to punish interception of data, system interference and misuse of devices, and to promote cyber security, protection of computer systems and networks, electronic communications, data and computer programmes, intellectual property and privacy rights.
The bill further explains that anyone who commits fraud, 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, would upon conviction, be sentenced to seven years jail term or a fine of N7 million or both.

Also, the bill spelt out a three-year jail term or N2 million fine for anyone who knew that a crime had been committed in his/her premises or cybercafe and failed to report to relevant authorities within seven days.

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