Senate To Review Cybercrime Act 2015; Online Losses Exceed $500 Million


The Nigerian Senate has begun the process of reviewing and modifying the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act of 2015 with a view to taming cybercriminals and reducing the losses to online crimes estimated at over $500 million per year by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The Senate President Godswill Akpabio, during a recent public hearing on the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023, in Abuja, described cybercrime as a serious threat.

“In this day and age of rapid technological advancement and widespread internet use, cybercrime has emerged as a serious threat to our society, economy, and personal security.

“It is necessary to reinforce existing laws prohibiting and preventing cyber-crime.

“Individuals with ill intentions have already abused our lax cybercrime laws, harming our country’s name,” said the Senate president.

Nigeria’s cybersecurity status has not been impressive. In a Check Point Research Threat Intelligence Report for Nigeria, which benchmarks the country’s cybersecurity status against a global median, the magnitude of cybercrime is frightening.

Worldwide, the number of attacks experienced per business each week is 870 on average. Alarmingly, in Nigeria, this weekly figure is 2,308 across all industry sectors collectively. The more-granular per-industry analysis reveals this figure is higher still for businesses in the finance and banking sector.

The Nigerian Communications Commission lists major cybercrimes in Nigeria to include hacking, identity theft, cyber terrorism, harassment, and internet fraud.

Another recent report paints an alarming increase of cybercrimes against financial institutions, including fintech companies.

The Senate wants the fangs of existing law expanded to tame online criminals, thus an urgent need for a comprehensive legal framework to deter, investigate, prosecute, and jail cybercriminals.

Senator Akpabio who was represented at the event by leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele, explained that these crimes not only made the country suffer substantial financial losses, but eroded trust in Nigeria’s digital systems.

“These cybercriminals are involved in a wide range of illegal activities, including hacking, identity theft, fraud, harassment, and cyber terrorism.

“These crimes not only caused our country substantial financial losses, but they also invaded our privacy, crippled essential infrastructure, and eroded trust in our digital systems,” he noted.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Security, Senator Shuaib Salisu, and chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Shehu Buba Umar, initiated the public hearing.

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