The Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) (Amendment) Act 2024 – A Primer on Key Amendments

Nigeria stands at the forefront of a digital revolution, characterized by its swift adoption of digital technologies across diverse sectors. However, amidst this technological advancement, the digital age has ushered in new avenues and tools for perpetrating both traditional and emerging forms of crime. In Nigeria, there has been a notable increase in internet-based advance fee fraud hacking and infringements on the privacy rights of individuals and institutions. These challenges demand urgent solutions. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a staggering 70% of attempted or successful fraud/forgery cases in the Nigerian banking system stem from electronic channels. Perpetrators increasingly exploit the proliferation of online transactions, e-commerce platforms, and electronic messaging systems to engage in illicit activities.

In a bid to address these complexities associated with cybercrimes, Nigeria enacted the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015 (the “Principal Act“). The primary objectives of the Act are to establish a comprehensive legal, regulatory, and institutional framework for combating cybercrimes effectively as well as safeguarding Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII), enhance cybersecurity measures, and protect various aspects of digital assets such as computer systems, networks, electronic communications, data, intellectual property, and privacy rights.

Despite the enactment of the Principal Act and the sustained efforts to eliminate cybercrimes, cybercrimes continue to be on the increase taking innovative forms. Responding to this urgent need, legislators have undertaken a review of the Principal Act to amend ambiguous provisions; address insufficiency of the Principal Act; address factors that have impeded the effective implementation of the Principal Act; bolster Nigeria’s cybersecurity framework; safeguard Nigeria’s CNII; combat terrorism and violent extremism; enhance national security; and protect Nigeria’s economic interests.

The legislative review led to the enactment of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Amendment Act, 2024 (the “Amendment Act“). This newsletter examines the key provisions and innovations introduced by the Amendment Act, exploring its impact on both Nigerians and the broader cyberspace landscape upon implementation.

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