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Cybercrime Legislation for Nigeria

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Nigeria hasn't always been in the news for the reasons her stakeholders desire but recent events have even made the bash-Nigeria-at-the-earliest-opportunity situation worse. Unfortunately, the Internet Crime Complaint Centre's popular 2010 Internet Crime Report had Nigeria retaining its #3 position (after only the US and the UK) again. At Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, we have answered tons of questions about why we should bother about Nigeria's position on the list since "the nations that should know better are even ahead of us in this crime", and here's some data to support our fears: Nigeria has 44 million internet users compared to the UK's 51.4 million and the US' 245 million. If we look at the global picture, 2.1% of global internet users reside in Nigeria, compared to 2.5% in the UK and 11.69% in the US. Throw in the bandwidth (plug-and-pray), power, customer service and socio-economic limitations that Nigerian internet users face and you would expect Nigeria to be very far away from that unexalted position on the list. That gives everyone a reason to worry - and that includes those who are acting to curb the problem and those who have become experts at playing the blame game. In partnership with Microsoft, Economic & Financial Crimes Commission and the World Bank Civil Society Program, we are implementing a social campaign that seeks to redirect the energy of young Nigerians who are involved in the shameful vice towards virtuous ideals. The project website (www.pinigeria.org/isspin) has some updates that you should see, and two other key elements of the campaign are the rehabilitation program and policy advocacy. It is a shame that Nigeria does not have any legislation that addresses the issue of cybercrime head-on. We have followed the ongoing discussions since the establishment of the Nigerian Cybercrime Working Group and got a little excited when stakeholders gathered to discuss one of the bills at the National Assembly in 2009 but discussions don't empower any institution (where relevant ones exist, that is) to tackle challenges properly. The Cyber Security and Data Protection Agency (Establishment, etc) Bill, sponsored by Hon. Etim Bassey, and listed as HB. 154 in the House of Assembly, and the Electronic Fraud Prohibition Bill, 2008 (SB. 185) sponsored by Senator Ayo Arise in the Senate (which missed a 3rd reading opportunity, just after committee report) already provide a foundation for what we will need. More than at any other time in the history of Nigeria, now is the time for all stakeholders - youth, government, private sector, civil society, media, academia, etc - to ask for accelerated passage of an acceptable (firm but fair) piece of legislation. As part of the MISSPIN campaign, we are asking Nigerians (regardless of location) to call on the leadership of the National Assembly to accelerate the passage of a much-needed bill. We hope to get at least 10,000 signatures that will then be delivered to the relevant institutions in November 2011. Please spread the word, and let's get ourselves out of this cybercrime mess! Let's make the demand very clear: Dear honourable and distinguished members of the National Assembly, please give Nigeria cybercrime legislation NOW!


Paradigm Initiative Nigeria


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