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‘A menace to the economy’ — Akpabio seeks stronger laws to curb cybercrime

Senate President Godswill Akpabio Senate President Godswill Akpabio

Senate President Godswill Akpabio says cybercrime is a “grave menace to the society, economy and citizens’ security”.

Akpabio spoke on Wednesday in Abuja during the inauguration of a public hearing on the 2023 cybercrime (prohibition and prevention) act (amendment bill).

Represented by Opeyemi Bamidele, majority leader of the senate, Akpabio said there is a need for stronger laws to curb the crimes committed over the internet.

The senate president said some individuals have explored weaknesses in the laws to tarnish Nigeria’s image.

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“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,” he said.

“It is imperative to review and 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.

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“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.”

On his part, Shuaib Salisu, chairman of the senate committee on ICT and cybersecurity, said all hands must be on deck to tackle cybersecurity issues.

“It is a complex and multidimensional challenge that requires a collaborative effort among the government, industry, civil society and academia,” Salisu said.

Also speaking, Shehu Buba Umar, chairperson of the senate committee on national security and intelligence, said cybersecurity should be prioritised and treated as a matter of “urgency”.

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“If the national cybersecurity programme is not effectively funded, the gains of the digital economy will be defeated. There is an urgent need for the country to amend the country’s cybercrimes,” Umar said.

The senator added that the current laws do not empower the relevant agencies to adequately mitigate cybercrimes.

In 2022, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said cybercrime remained one of the dangers of digital transformation in Nigeria.

The commission added that the country has lost $500 million to cybercrime.

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