The Senate has expressed concerns over an annual loss of $500 million to various forms of cybercrime across the country.
It warned that if the national cybersecurity programme was not effectively funded, the gains of the digital economy would be defeated.
Consequently, the upper chamber resolved to review and amend the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2015 to put an end to the exploitation of Nigeria’s digital space by cybercriminals and certain individuals with misguided intentions.
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, expressed the concerns on Wednesday at the inauguration of the public hearing on the 2023 Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 at the Senate Complex, Abuja.
The inauguration was at the instance of the Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Security, Senator Afolabi Salisu; Chairman, Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Shehu Umar, and all members of their committees.
In its report, the Nigerian Communications Commission had claimed that Nigeria “is losing $500 million annually to all forms of cybercrime including hacking, identity theft, cyber terrorism, harassment and Internet fraud.”
At the inauguration of the public hearing, Akpabio lamented that certain individuals with misguided intentions “are exploiting cybercrime laws by tarnishing the reputation of Nigeria.”
Akpabio, represented by Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, said it was important to establish a comprehensive legal framework to deter, investigate, pursue and prosecute cybercriminals.
He said, “In this age of rapid technological advancement and widespread internet usage, cybercrime has emerged as a grave menace to our society, economy and personal security.
“It is imperative to strengthen the existing laws on cybercrime prohibition and prevention. In the past, certain individuals with misguided intentions exploited our weak cybercrime laws, thereby tarnishing the reputation of our country.
“They engaged in a wide array of illegal activities, such as hacking, identity theft, fraud, harassment and cyber terrorism. These crimes not only inflicted significant financial losses upon our country, but also invaded our privacy, disrupted critical infrastructure, and eroded trust in our digital systems.”
Consequently, according to Akpabio, it is of utmost national and economic importance that the country establishes a comprehensive legal framework to deter, investigate, pursue and prosecute cybercriminals.