Issue #25   •   Quarter 3/4 Edition   •   December 2018


feat-002The concept of cybercrime is historical. With the advent of information and communication technology, massive digitalization and unprecedented interconnectivity provided by the internet has been a boon to students, doctors, teachers, lawyers, businessmen and criminals. Historical antecedent shows that unauthorized access, damage to property, theft and distribution of obscene and indecent materials are all considered as familiar cybercrimes.

The draft local legislation on electronic crimes, telecommunications and postal offences decree of 1995 define cybercrime as:

… Any person who, inter alia, engages in computer fraud or does anything to fake payments, whether or not the payment is credited to the account of an operator or the account of the subscriber, is guilty of an offence.

At the 10th U.N conference on the punishment of offenders, cybercrime was broken into two categories and thus defined as:

  1. In a narrow sense, as any illegal behavior directed by means of electronic operations that target the security of computer system and data processed by them; and
  2. In a broader sense, as any illegal behavior committed by means of or in relation to a computer system or network including such crimes as illegal possession and offering or distributing information by means of a computer system or network.

Computer crime, or cybercrime, is any crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. Net crime is criminal exploitation of the Internet, inherently a cybercrime. Cyber crime uses the unique features of the Net - sending of e-mail in seconds, speedy publication/ dissemination of information through the web to anyone on the planet. Computer attacks can be generated by criminals from anywhere in the world, and executed in other areas, irrespective of geographical location. Often, these criminal activities can be faster, easier and more damaging with the use of the Internet.

Cybercrimes in an Interconnected World have become pervasive and require immediate legislation. These include:

  • All crimes imaginable offline can be achieved with the use of computer networks as a tool
  • Threats to lives and properties
  • Disruption of critical services
  • Terrorism and economic sabotage
  • Propaganda
  • Theft of information (identity & credit card theft)

The Nigerian Situation in relation to cyber activities concentrate efforts and attention on E-government services, payment platform for e-Commerce, ATM Machines, Electronic Activities of the NSE, Cashless banking services and Nigerian Electronic Identification system which include among others, the INEC card reader system.


A bill which has passed through the various legislative steps required for it and which has become law.


Since the loss suffered by consumers and investors creates serious credibility and image problems, many countries develop strategies for preventing, detecting and containing the threats associated with cybercrime. While it is acknowledged that greed is a major factor motivating most victims, what about the image created for many who never respond?

How is the nation fighting cyber crime? It's interesting that there is quite a lot of talk about fighting cyber crime. But what are the efforts? And how effective are they? Since there is an awareness of the menace it poses to society, what have been the sincere and meaningful efforts to fight cybercrime?

The significance of cyber legislation cannot be overemphasized in our contemporary Nigerian society. As outlined below, the imperativeness of cyber legislation in Nigeria could be viewed from the following perspectives:

  • Establishment of Legal and Regulatory Framework
  • Establishment of Institutional Framework for coordination and implementation;
  • Standards and Regulations;
  • Capacity Building
  • Compliance & Enforcement;
  • Emergency Response & Readiness;
  • Public enlightenment
  • International Cooperation and Institutional Framework.


From the foregoing analysis, what is central to this paper is to outline the rudiments of the cyber-criminal offences and what obtains as regards to penalties and punishment which include among others:

  • Offences against critical national information infrastructure
  • Unlawful access to a computer
  • Registration of cybercafé
  • System interference
  • Intercepting electronic messages, emails, electronic money transfers
  • Willful misdirection of electronic messages
  • Unlawful interceptions
  • Computer related fraud
  • Theft of electronic devices
  • Unauthorized modification of computer system, network data and system interference
  • Electronic signature
  • Cyber terrorism
  • Fraudulent issuance of e-instruction
  • Reporting of cyber threats
  • Identity theft and impersonation
  • Child pornography and related offences
  • Cyber stalking
  • Cyber squatting
  • Racists and xenophobic offences
  • Attempt, conspiracy, aiding and abetting
  • Importation and fabrication of e-tools
  • Breach of confidence by service providers
  • Manipulation of ATM/POS Terminals
  • Employees responsibility
  • Phishing, spamming and spreading of computer virus
  • Electronic card related fraud
  • Use of fraudulent device or attached e-mails and websites

Please refer to appendix A for detailed explanation on the aforementioned offences and penalties.


There exists serious challenges against the efforts both at the National and International level to fight against Cybercrime. However, Nigeria is confronted with challenges such as:

  • The unending cyber battles (supremacy disagreements) among law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies;
  • Lack of integration between the public and private sector in fighting against cybercrime.
  • Inadequacy in the policy option that deals with the issues of surveillance.

  • Capacity building
  • Cooperation between actors (Private or Public)
  • Establishment of Institutional framework for coordinating cyber security efforts
  • Enactment of related Bills to strengthen the cyber security framework