• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Senate moves to combat $500 million annual cybercrime losses

The Senate has expressed concern over the annual loss of $500 million caused by cybercrime in the country. The Senate fears that cybercrime could undermine the gains of the digital economy.

Consequently, the upper legislative chamber has started reviewing and amending the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act of 2015 to end the exploitation of Nigeria’s digital space by cybercriminals and individuals with misguided intentions.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio expressed his concerns during the inauguration of a public hearing on the amendment of the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023, at the Senate Complex in Abuja.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reported that Nigeria loses $500 million annually to cybercrime, including hacking, identity theft, cyber terrorism, harassment, and internet fraud.

The Senate president, represented by Opeyemi Bamidele, Leader of the Senate, lamented that certain individuals with misguided intentions are exploiting cybercrime laws and tarnishing the reputation of Nigeria.

He emphasized the need for a comprehensive legal framework to deter, investigate, pursue and prosecute cybercriminals.

“In this age of rapid technological advancement and widespread internet usage, cybercrime has emerged as a grave menace to our society, economy and personal security. It is imperative and strengthen the existing laws on cybercrime prohibition and prevention. In the past, individuals with misguided intentions exploited our weak cybercrime laws, tarnishing our country’s reputation”, Akpabio said.

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“They engage in a wide array of illegal activities, such as hacking, identity theft, fraud, harassment and cyber terrorism. These crimes not only inflicted significant financial losses upon our country, but also invaded our privacy, disrupted critical infrastructure, and eroded trust in our digital systems”, he added.

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

In his opening remarks, Salisu explained the national significance of amending the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023. He pointed out that cybersecurity is a complex and multidimensional challenge that requires a collaborative effort among the government, industry, civil society, and academia.

Umar expressed grave concerns over the alarming exploitation and growing widespread of cybersecurity across all sectors, noting that the high number of cybercrime cases had placed demand on the country to review its laws.

Umar emphasized that prioritization of funding cybersecurity should be a matter of national urgency. He noted that the current provisions had handicapped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigeria Police to do their work effectively.