Despite fears expressed by Nigerians that the cybercrime bill, which had been passed by both chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), may not be signed into law before the present dispensation of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration winds up, Chairman, House Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Dr. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau has emphatically stated that the bill would be signed into law before a new government comes in on May 29.
Gusau disclosed in a telephone conversation with THISDAY that members of the Senate and the House of Representatives would soon meet to harmonise the cybercrime bill with a view to signing it into law before the end of the present administration.
“I am assuring Nigerians that before the end of this administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, both the Senate and House of Representatives must have harmonised the bill and ensure it is signed into law. The cybercrime bill is the fastest bill handled by the lawmakers because of its importance to national development, and we are optimistic that the bill would be signed into law without further delay,” Gusau said.
According to him, the lawmakers carried out a research on the validity of the bill and discovered that there was need to create Cyber Security Commission and Cyber Security Council that would oversee the implementation of the bill after it is passed into law.
Nigerians, especially stakeholders in the ICT sector, have been clamouring for the signing of the bill, insisting it will enable the judiciary have the legal backing to prosecute electronic fraudsters and all those involved in online related fraud.
They urged the National Assembly to ensure the bill becomes law without further delay in view of the increasing rate of cybercrime in Nigeria.
Although they commended the lawmakers for passing the bill, they had expressed worries that the bill might not be signed into law before the end of this present administration.
Stakeholders had also expressed concerns that if the bill is not signed into law during this present dispensation, the implication is that the entire process would start afresh by the time a new government is sworn in by May 29, 2015.
The cybercrime bill was passed late last year by both the upper and lower legislative houses.
The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Adegbenga Kaka, representing Ogun East Senatorial Zone, among other things, stipulates a seven-year jail term for all kinds of computer-related fraud, computer-related forgery, offences relating to pornography, cyber-stalking and cyber-squatting.
It also seeks to punish interception of data, system interference and misuse of devices, and to promote cyber security, protection of computer systems and networks, electronic communications, data and computer programmes, intellectual property and privacy rights.
The bill further proposes that anyone who commits fraud, using a computer system or network with the intention of obtaining computer data, securing access to any programme, commercial or industrial secrets or classified information, would upon conviction, be sentenced to seven years jail term or a fine of N7 million or both.
It also spelt out a three-year jail term or N2 million fine for anyone who knew that a crime had been committed in his/her premises or cybercafe and failed to report to relevant authorities within seven days.
Source: This Day