Cybercrime Act prescribes punishment for vandals of critical infrastructure, others
THE Cybercrime Act, accented to by former President Goodluck Jonathan shortly before his exit, has prescribed serious punishment for any crime or injury on critical national information infrastructure, sale of pre-registered SIM cards, unlawful access to computer systems, cyber-terrorism, among others.
The bill, which went through the rigorous process at the National Assembly before it was passed into an Act, listed the offences as unlawful access to computers, unlawful operation of cybercafes, system interference, intercepting electronic messages, emails, e-money transfer, tampering with critical infrastructure, computer-related forgery.
The Act prescribed punishments, which included N10 million fine and imprisonment of between three to 15 years.
According to the Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Tony Ojobo yesterday, the objectives of this Act are to-provide an effective and unified legal, regulatory and institutional frame-work for prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes in Nigeria: ensure the protection of critical national information infrastructure and promote cyber security and the protection of computer systems and networks electronic communications, data and computer programmes intellectual property and privacy rights.
Accordingly, the provisions of this Act shall apply throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Act, which focused on Critical National Information Infrastructure stated, among others that:
• The President may, on the recommendation of the National Security Adviser, by Order published in the Federal Gazette, designate certain computer systems or networks, whether physical or virtual, the computer programs, computer data or traffic data vital to this country that incapacity or destruction of or interference with such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national or economic security, national public health and safety or any combination of those matters as constituting Critical National Information Infrastructure.
• The Presidential Order made under subsection (1) of this section may prescribe minimum standards, guidelines, rules or procedure in respect of- the protection or preservation of critical information infrastructure; the general management of critical information infrastructure; access to transfer and control of data in any critical information infrastructure; infrastructural or procedural rules and requirements for securing the integrity and authenticity of data or information contained in any designated critical national information infrastructure; the storage or archiving of data or information designated as critical national information infrastructure; recovery plans in the event if disaster, breach or loss of critical national information infrastructure or any part of it and any other matter required for the adequate protection, management and control of data and other resources in any critical national information infrastructure.
The Act also informed that where an offence is committed with the intent of obtaining computer data, securing access to any programme, commercial or industrial secrets or classified information, the punishment shall be imprisonment for a term of not more than seven years or a fine of not more than N7, 000,000.00 or both.
It states: “A person who with the intent to commit an offence under this section, uses any device to avoid detection or otherwise prevent identification or attribution with the act or omission, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than seven years or to a fine not more than N7,000,000.00 or both such.”
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