The Senate on Thursday prescribed a penalty of seven years imprisonment was for cyber crimes and online fraud perpetrators a.k.a ‘Yahoo Boys’ in Nigeria as recommended.
The decision of the Senate on cyber crimes bill was sequel to the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights.
It could be recalled that the bill on cyber crimes was sponsored by Senator Adegbenga Kaka.
The bill, tagged: “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Prohibition, Prevention, Detection, Response, Investigation and Prosecution of Cybercrimes and for Other Related Matters 2014,” seeks among other objectives to punish the interception of data, system interference and misuse of devices.
In addition, the bill is seeking to punish all kinds of computer-related fraud, computer-related forgery, offences relating to P0rnography, cyber-stalking and cyber-squatting, just as it seeks to promote cyber security, protection of computer systems and networks, electronic communications, data and computer programmes, intellectual property and privacy rights.
Specifically, it is stated in the bill 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 will upon conviction be sentenced to seven years jail term or a fine of N7 million or both.
Furthermore, in the report considered by Upper Chamber, anyone found guilty of possessing a manipulative device, unauthorised automatic teller machine card, damaging a computer with the intention to defraud, trafficking in any password to defraud customers or financial institutions will be sentenced to seven years imprisonment or a N7 million fine.
Similarly, any person or organisation who intentionally traffics in any password or similar information through a computer unlawfully with the intention to defraud public and private interests within or outside Nigeria will be liable upon conviction to a fine of N7 million or three years imprisonment.
The bill also spells out a three-year jail term or N2 million fine for anyone who knows that a crime has been committed in his premises or cybercafe and fails to report to relevant authorities within seven days.
While the bill provides for compulsory registration of all cybercafes as business concerns with Computer Professionals’ Registration Council in addition to business name registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission, it also spells out three years jail term or a fine of N1 million for anyone who perpetrates electronic fraud through a cybercafe.
In the situation where the fraud is found to have been perpetrated in connivance with the owner(s) of the cybercafe, such owners shall be liable to a fine of N2 million or three years jail term.
A stiffer punishment of 10 years imprisonment without an option of fine against anyone who commits any offences in relation to critical national information infrastructure and 15 years imprisonment for any person who commits such a crime resulting in bodily harm and life imprisonment for such crime if it results in death of another person is also prescribed for offenders in the bill.
In his remarks after the passage of the bill, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, explained that enacting anti-cyber crime law became important because there was no computer at the time penal and criminal code came into force.
Ekweremadu added that Nigeria, which is seen as a cyber crime nation, would get the wrong perception removed with the passage of the bill and application of its prescribed penalties to internet fraudsters .
He said: “With the passage of this bill today and appropriate application of its prescribed laws against cyber crimes and other related matters, Nigeria will henceforth be seen as a country seriously stamping out cyber crimes, which to us here at the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly, is a major milestone in our lawmaking enterprise.”