Legal Alert – December 2013 – Cyber Security, Risks and Crimes


In this Issue:-

1. Legal Alert – December 2013 – Cyber Security, Risks and Crimes

2. Disclaimer Notice

3. Copyright Notice


Associated with the enormous benefits that the internet continues to bring to mankind, are numerous Risks which global governments are using legislation to ensure that public confidence in modern Commerce and Governance, over the internet, does not diminish, and or become ultimately eclipsed by criminal activities undertaken using the internet.

Escalating increments in economic crimes, some of which economic crimes are associated with terrorism, have brought about more urgency for cyber-security legislations and enforcement in Nigeria, as in other parts of the world.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security, which is more commonly referred to as cybercrime, has been described as the use of the internet to perpetuate, in time and space, the commission of criminal offences.

Some of the common cybercrimes, which are enumerated in the Nigerian Cybercrime Bill 2013, include:-

i. The unlawful access to a person’s computer;

ii. The unlawful interference or interception with a computer system or network of systems, or with other electronic devices;

iii. The use of a computer or computer systems or networks to unlawfully produce, procure, distribute and promote child pornographic materials;

iv. The use of a computer, computer systems or networks to unlawfully impersonate and steal another person’s identity;

v. Cyber-stalking – which is the unlawful, gross, offensive, menacing, indecent and or obscene use of a computer, computer systems or networks to annoy and inconvenience another person;

vi. Cyber-squatting – which is the intentional and unlawful acquisition and or use of another person’s name, trademark, domain name or other word or phrase without that person’s consent or authority;

vii. Cyber-terrorism – which is the unlawful use of a computer, computer systems or networks to promote any form of terrorism;

viii. Racist and xenophobic crimes – which entails the unlawful distribution of racist and xenophobic material using a computer, computer systems or networks.

Cyber Security Laws in Nigeria?

There is not presently in Nigeria, any Act of Parliament regulating cyber security or cybercrimes. This is despite several Bills on the subject, before the Nigerian National Assembly, awaiting enactment into Law.

It is therefore recommended that we consider the existing Laws that relate to cyber security or cybercrimes before considering at least one of the numerous Bills before the Nigerian National Assembly on the subject – i.e. the Cyber Security Bill, 2013, which is the most recent Executive Bill on the subject.

Criminal Code Act – Obtaining By False Pretences

Presently, the most common legislation for prosecuting cybercrimes in many of the Southern States of Nigeria are as stated in Sections 419, 419A, 419B, 420, 421, 422, and 423 of the Criminal Code Act.

The above-mentioned Sections of the Criminal Code Act provide in summary that where any person, by false pretence, and with the intent to defraud another person, obtains from that other person anything capable of being stolen, or advises any other person to deliver to any other person anything capable of being stolen, or obtains credit by false pretences or by some other kind of fraud, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of three (3) years. Where the item concerned is of a value of N1000 (One Thousand Naira) or upwards, the term of imprisonment on conviction is seven (7) years.

The above statutory provisions and punishments also apply to cases of obtaining the execution of a security document by false pretences; cheating and conspiracy to defraud another person by deceit or other fraudulent means, etc are also criminal offences which carry fines and terms of imprisonment.

Advance Fee Fraud & Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

The Advance Fee Fraud & Other Fraud Related Offences Act, CAP A6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria literally extended the felonious provisions of the Criminal Code Act, on false pretences, to now include any person who by false pretence, and with the intent to defraud, obtains from any other person, whether in Nigeria or in any other country; or induces any other person in Nigeria or in any other country, to deliver to any person, any property, whether or not the property or its delivery is induced through the medium of a contract, which contract was itself induced by false pretence.

The penalty on conviction for committing any of the above false pretences offences is imprisonment for a term of not less than seven (7) years without the option of a fine, or imprisonment for a term of not more than twenty (20) years.

Other fraud related offences under this Law include:-

(a) Representing oneself as possessing the power of doubling or otherwise increasing any sum of money through any unorthodox method or methods, like currency colouration.

(b) Fraudu

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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