Nigeria comes 3rd in global cybercrimes survey

This annoucement was made at the launch of the 1st West African cybercrime summit which kicked off in Abuja this week.

Cybercrime is increasingly a global menace and in Nigeria particularly, the government should fast track appropriate legislation to address this growing menace.

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By Elor Nkereuwem

December 1, 2010 01:31AM

Nigeria currently occupies the number three position in the worldwide cybercrime trends index, Nigeria’s anti-graft boss said yesterday.

Speaking on the first day of the 1st West African cybercrime summit in Abuja, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Farida Waziri, said that Nigeria comes third behind US and UK.

At the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, where an elite group of anti-graft agencies, diplomats, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies gathered, the central theme was how to fight the rising cybercrime rate in Nigeria and West Africa.

As pointed out by the EFCC boss, cybercrime is spreading from Nigeria into the surrounding West African countries.

“We have noticed a gradual movement of cyber criminals from Nigeria to neighbouring West African States,” she said, adding that four African countries - two in West Africa, fall into the top 10 cybercrime trends index.

“What should be frightening for us is that only about 20% of the West African population has access to Internet connectivity, and it may well mean that if we have the level of connectivity of Europe and North America, we will perpetually remain in the top 10,” she said.

Archaic Laws

The Chair, Senate committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes, and Anti-Corruption, Sola Akinyede, further expressed fears that Nigerian laws are not adaptable to current trends in crime fighting, adding that this has negatively affected the performance of the EFCC.

“The Nigerian Evidence Act is both archaic and out of sync. The Nigerian Evidence Act does not recognise the existence of computers. The credit cards, I understand, operate by magnetic impulse. The data on the credit card are not recognised under the Nigerian evidence law.

“I was trying to remember how to tender evidence with respect to photographs in court. There was one word I was trying to remember. That word is negatives. It’s a long time since I used that word, but under the Nigerian law today, if you want to tender a photograph, you have to tender the negatives. In the world of digital photography, there is nothing like negatives,” Mr. Akinyede said.

He, however, said that he had sponsored a bill at the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Evidence Act, which has gone through the second reading.

“Unfortunately, because of the imminent elections and the consequent constitution amendments that are required, most ammendments with the National Assembly have been kept in the back burner.

“The primary focus and interest of the National Assembly is the electoral act and the constitution amendment. I, therefore, hope that as soon as we finish the constitution ammendments, the National Assembly will pass the law,” he said.

Working with Microsoft

Emmanuel Onyeje, the general manager of Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, reiterated the commitment of the American ICT company to network with the EFCC and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to fight the cybercrime menace in Nigeria and West Africa.

“Cybercrime is not about me or anyone in Nigeria. Everyone is affected. Everyone is vulnerable. Fighting cybercrime is one of the few things that I believe can unite mankind. So, it is something that we must all come together to solve,” he said.

Mr. Onyeje also said that Microsoft will lead the fight against cybercrime, especially by creating awareness of the menace.