‘25% of cybercrime cases unresolved’

CybercrimeISSAN, others seek faster enforcement of law 

AT the Information Security Society of Africa- Nigeria (ISSAN) organized stakeholders forum to discuss the new Cybercrime Law in the country, it has been revealed that about 25 per cent of cybercrime cases in Nigeria are unresolved.

According to the stakeholders, who believed that the newly promulgated Cybercrime law could help reduce, to a large extent, the growing trend of cyber crime for which the country has been ranked third in global Internet crime after the United States of America and United Kingdom respectively, also informed that that 7.5 per cent of the world’s hackers are Nigerians.

Speaking at the forum, a General Manager at Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and also ISSAN President, Dr. David Isiavwe, described the promulgation of the cybercrime law as a great milestone by the country in view of the colossal damage that cyber crime is causing the nation and the world at large.

He drew attention to a CBN report which showed that 70 per cent of attempted or successful fraud/forgery cases in the Nigerian banking system were perpetrated via the electronic channels.

Making reference to another report, Isiavwe said that “7.5 per cent of the world’s hackers are Nigerians while 25 per cent cyber crimes in the country remain unresolved.”

Banks in Nigeria have lost approximately N159 billion to electronic frauds and cyber crime between 2000 and 2013 and the impact on the nation’s cash-less policy is significant.

In Nigeria, customers lost about N6 billion in the year 2014 whilst South Africa lost about R453 million (approximately N8 billion) in the same year to cyber criminals.

More worrisome perhaps was the recent report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that the global economy suffers a loss of about $445 billion annually due to all sorts of cyber crimes on the Internet.  The damage to business from the theft of intellectual property alone exceeds the $160 billion loss to individuals from hacking yearly.”

In the main presentation, a senior Research Fellow and Head of International Law Department, Nigerian Institute of Advance Legal Studies (NIALS), Lagos, Dr. Emmanuel Okon, described the cyber crime Act as an excellent and appropriate law to deal with the current challenges of cybercrime in Nigeria.   “This is however not the first time we will have an excellent law in Nigeria.

We have laws for cyber security in the country but the question is: are we aware that those laws are in existence? To what extent can they be enforced?”

According to him, the cybercrime law is a verbatim copy of the EFCC law and it has been crafted to address the very serious problem of cybercrime in the country. The Act, he disclosed, covered every area of cybercrime.   “It covers every area of what the ‘Yahoo boys’ are doing. Every aspect of the law also has serious sanctions attached.

The whole essence of the Cybercrime Act is just about crime and punishment. Every section is a crime and every section is punishment and sanctions.

The judge has the discretion to sentence to both fine and imprisonment.    “The criminal can also forfeit the proceeds. The law goes beyond tne traditional way of punishing criminals. There’s the concept of restitution as the law takes care of those vulnerable in the system to be restored to where they ought to have been without the crime.”

Okon also submitted that while the law makes provision for speedy process, the likelihood of prosecution and likelihood of conviction would be very crucial so as to avoid the “EFCC s scenario” where lack of political will and lack of funds made it difficult for some people to be touched.

According to him, unless the likelihood of conviction and prosecution are well ensured, the law may also face the challenges faced by other laws.   “We have taken the right step by promulgating the law but we should now take the next step towards enforcement,” he further said.

In another presentation, Chief Risk Officer of the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Osioke Ojior, said while it is exciting to go after the cyber criminals, using the instrument of the cybercrime law, the nation must not forget the fact that cybercrime  was made possible  because of negligence or failure to protect infrastructure.

We are forgetting there’s a responsibility to protect our system,” he said, adding that the fight against cybercrime should go beyond the law to bring criminals to justice but also to ensure the protection and safety of the nation’s cyber space.

Isiavwe however suggested ways to ensure that the new law achieves the objectives for which it was enacted saying the law would go a long way in ensuring that there is some level of sanity in the nation’s cyberspace “as those who engage in bad behaviour will know that their actions will not go unpunished.”

He added: “it is instructive to note that the law alone will not clean up the cyberspace.  Concerted efforts must be made by key stakeholders to ensure that customers and the general banking public are duly protected.

These efforts should encompass continuing education and sensitisation of customers and the general banking public, capacity building across all levels in private and public domains including investment in training of lawyers, judges, bank employees and the general banking p ublic.”

Isiavwe further emphasised the importance of regulatory support and collaboration and advocated careful implementation of the Cybercrime law by all stakeholders.

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1 Comment
  • Dr. Jegede, Ajibade Ebenezer

    It is not enough for one to identify a problem but we must proceed to get to the locus of the problem. We are to fashion out the best way to arrest the tide. Our law and enforcement is quite central in this regard.