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For a long time, pundits have heckled the Nigerian government over cyber security laws. Attempts to set up laws to regulate cyber activities in the country have been going on since 2004 when the Nigerian government (during Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration) set up the National Cybercrime Working group, but progress on the bill didn’t begin to materialize till May this year when the Nigerian National Assembly passed the bill on to the Nigerian President (Goodluck Jonathan at the time) for executive assent which was granted 10 days later on May 15.

The regulation is the Cybercrime Act 2015 and its goal is to provide a legal framework for detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes in Nigeria. However, the final draft as we have come to discover has some gaping holes that could be exploited to repress freedom over the Nigerian cyberspace and civil liberties. Some of the provisions also make for a belly full of laughter.

As shared by Gbenga Sesan, the Executive director at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, a digital rights group and one of the vanguards in the call for the legislation, the following are some of the hang ups in the law and why revisions should be in order:

1: Limitless powers to the President

 

2: Redundant registrations

3: Technical and fuzzy grammar

 

4: No explicit explanation what “threat” really entails

5: Blackmail enablers

6: We can’t tell dead people they messed up?

7: Interesting cybersquatting provisions, finally. But what about similar brands and identities?

8: Putting a knife to a free discourse

9: We need clarity on how far does the enforcement goes

10: Where is the Ministry of Communication Technology?

11: No one is talking about privacy

12: We are still paying for the National Cybersecurity Fund

The final regulation, of course, has come a long way from the initial draft in terms of “dangerous provisions” that slipped through, but obviously, there are still more holes and Orwellian double-speaks to be plugged.

Check out the full copy of the Act here.

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