By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – Following the recent cyber attack that led to temporal suspension of banking activities in several countries, the Central Bank of Nigeria Tuesday, called for a review of the Nigerian Cybercrime Act of 2015.
While declaring open the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) Stakeholders Workshop on Cybercrime in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said there was need to review the Act as it flaws poses a threat to its proper implementation.
The CBN Governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Operations Directorate, Mr.Adebayo Adelabu, said that having enacted the law since 2015, is high time we reviewed it and correct it’s flaws or shortcoming and also improve on those areas we believe are obsolete.”
“Given the reality that with this progress comes challenges in the manner of exposures and vulnerabilities, it is inescapable therefore that firm and appropriate legal frameworks must be put in place, supported with sound and effective law enforcement and enhanced technical and institutional capabilities to effectively protect these networks and secure the systems and infrastructure from all forms of cybercrimes
“We saw recently with the “Wannacry Ransomeware” attack, even the most secure systems are still subject to breaches, and simply protecting the network does not absolve it from attack. Another lesson from that attack is the speed with which attack once disseminated, becomes global in its spread and effect
“This is why the protection of information infrastructure utilized in the delivery of financial services is considered critical all over the world, and it was because of the importance of securing infrastructures such as those of the financial sector, and protecting the underlying services from cyber-attacks that the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Act was enacted in 2015. It is now about two years into the commencement of the Act, and so it is not too early to conduct a holistic review of its implementation”, Emefiele Said.
He therefore called on relevant bodies to begin strict enforcement of the Act to serve as a deterrent to those who may wish to engage in illicit activities targeting the country’s financial technology infrastructure.
“As the regulator of the Financial Sector, we are constantly confronted with issues raised by operators who occupy the unenviable position of “first line of defenders” against cyber attacks on the systems, networks and infrastructures through which financial services are carried out in the country. While the issue about Cybersecurity is not wholly legal in nature, and while considerable efforts have been made by the CBN and banking operators, especially through the Bankers Committee and other bodies, leading to reduced incidents of fraud on the one hand, and very high consumer confidence in our payment system on the other; we are nevertheless desirous that the Cybercrime Act is effectively enforced, to serve as a deterrent and constant reminder to those who may wish to engage in illicit activities targeting our financial technology infrastructures”, Emefiele further said.
According to Section 1 of the Cybercrime Act of 2015, it is to provide for:
(a) Provide an effective and unified legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes in Nigeria;
(b) Ensure the protection of critical national information infrastructure; and
(c) Promote cyber security and the protection of computer systems and networks, electronic communications, data and computer programs, intellectual property and privacy rights.
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor, CBN, Operations Directorate, Mr Adebayo Adelabu who was represented by the Director, Banking and Payment System, CBN, Mr Dipo Fatokun said the Nigeria electronic Fraud Forum in various reviews of the act have received feedback which are directed to questions around the content and structure of the law and inconsistencies, when weighed against certain core technology laws and cybercrime principles.
“It is the opinion of most stakeholders engaged by NeFF, that these issues have created intractable enforcement challenges for those mandated to implement the law” he said.
According to the Nigeria electronic Fraud Forum, NeFF, in its Annual Report for 2016 launched Tuesday, N2.19 billion was lost by the financial industry due to increased cases of electronic fraud.
This is an 82 percent increase in the reported fraud cases when compared to 2015 and over 1200 per cent when compared to 2014.
The report noted that there were more attempts on yearly basis by fraudster with different innovations to take advantage of the system.
“The volume of fraud reported in 2016 compared to previous years attest to the fact that fraudsters do not grow weary,” NeFF said.