Nigeria is set to clamp down hard on cybercrime with a new law that will punish cyber criminals with seven years in prison. The bill was passed into law on October 24.
Senator Adegbenga Kaka sponsored the bill, which seeks to curb identity fraud and bolster the country’s online security. The bill with its full title stated: “Bill for an Act to Provide for the Prohibition, Prevention, Detection, Response, Investigation and Prosecution of Cybercrimes and Other Related Matters 2014”.
The new law punishes a number of cybercrime acts from interception of data to tampering with devices or possession of fraudulent ATM cards. Offenses like cyber stalking fall within its remit too and would be punishable with seven years in prison or a fine of seven million Nigerian Naira (roughly $350,000).
A 15 year jail term has also been proposed if the cybercrime leads to physical harm, says the Nigerian Tribune.
The site of Nigeria’s Senate says that while the law provides a legal framework for prohibiting and punishing, it will promote safer e-governance and electronic communications.
“The bill seeks to criminalize certain acts and omissions in line with regional and international best practices and provide procedural guidelines for the investigation of such offences. The legislation also intends to define the liability of service providers and ensure that national interest of this country is not compromised by the use of electronic communications.”
Senators called the passing of the law a “major landmark” for Nigeria.