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Don’t be a victim: Beware of cybercrimes (prohibition, prevention) Act 2015

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…Jude Johnson 

 

The security agencies had in recent times arrested some Nigerians, especially journalists and bloggers under the guise of Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act signed to law in 2015.

 

This has attracted wide condemnation from Nigerians who sees this as an affront against foundation of democracy, freedom of speech and expressed.

 

However, the fact remains that this is the law but still subject to the overall provision of the Nigerian Constitution on the fundemental human rights as the groundnorm.  But this Act came into being in the face of growing threat to national security ocassioned by the subversive activities of extremist groups and individuals.

 

Unfortunately, most members of the public including those from the fourth estate of the realm are ignorant of this Act.

 

Here are some of the provisions to keep in mind:

 

  1. Section (24) Any  person  who  knowingly  or  intentionally  sends  a  message  or  other  matter  by means of computer systems or network that –

 

(a)  is  grossly  offensive,  pornographic  or  of  an  indecent,  obscene  or  menacing  character or causes any such message or matter to be so sent; or

 

(b)  he  knows  to  be  false,  for  the  purpose  of  causing  annoyance, inconvenience danger,  obstruction,  insult,  injury,  criminal  intimidation,  enmity,  hatred,  ill  will    or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent:

commits an offence under  this Act and shall be liable on conviction  to  a  fine of not more than N7,000,000.00 or imprisonment  for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 

  1. (25) Any person who knowingly or intentionally transmits or causes the transmission of any communication through a computer system or network –

 

(a)  to  bully,  threaten  or  harass  another  person,  where  such  communication  places  another person in fear of death, violence or bodily harm or to another person containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to harm the person  of another,  any  demand  or  request  for  a  ransom  for  the  release  of  any  kidnapped person,  to  extort  from  any  person,  firm,  association  or  corporation,  any  money  or other thing of value; or

 

(c) containing any threat to harm the property or reputation of the addressee or of  another  or  the  reputation  of  a  deceased person  or  any  threat  to  accuse  the  addressee  or  any  other  person  of  a  crime,  to  extort  from  any  person,  firm,  association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value: commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction-

 

(i) in the case of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection to imprisonment for a term of 10 years and/or a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00; and

(ii) In the case of paragraph (c) and (d) of this subsection, to imprisonment for a term

of 5 years and/or a minimum fine of N15,000,000.00.

 

  1. Section 26. (1) Any person who with intent –

(a) Distributes or otherwise makes available, any racist or xenophobic material to the public through a computer system or network;

 

(b) threatens through a computer system or network –

(i) persons for the reason that they belong to a group distinguished by race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, as well as, religion, if  used as a pretext  for any of these  factors; or

(ii) A group of persons which is distinguished by any of these characteristics;

 

(c) Insults publicly through a computer system or network–

(i) persons for the reason that they belong to a group distinguished by race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion, if  used as a pretext  for any of these  factors; or

(ii) A group of persons which is distinguished by any of these characteristics; or

 

(d) distributes or otherwise makes available, through a computer system or network, to  the  public,  material  which  denies  or  approves  or  justifies  acts  constituting  genocide  or  crimes  against  humanity,  Commits  an  offence  and  shall  be  liable  on conviction  to imprisonment  for a  term of not more  than 5 years or  to a  fine of not more than N10,000,000.00 or both such fine and imprisonment.

2)  For  the  purpose  of  subsection  (1)  of  this  section,  the  term “Genocide”  means  any  of  the  following  acts  committed  with  intent  to  destroy  in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such: killing members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about  its  physical  destruction  in  whole  or  in  part;  imposing  measures  intended  to

prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. “racist or xenophobic material” means any written or printed material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual group of individuals, based on  race,  color,  descent  or  national  or  ethnic  origin,  as  well  as  religion  if  used  as  a pretext  for any of these  factors.


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