ICT Africa Headline News

Absence of Cyber Security Laws Impedes Nigeria's ICT Growth

14 July, 2014

Source: Daily Trust

Lagos — As Information and Commu-nications Technology (ICT) industry continues to serve as one of the key drivers of the national economy, absence of cyber security laws has become an issue of concern to all stakeholders in the sector.

From the continued signs of aggressive growth in the ICT industry, with an estimated improved GDP contribution of 8.53 % by the third quarter of 2013, itis obvious that the ICT industry is a "key growth industry" and as such deserves the design and execution of a well thought cyber security policy.

This was however was a major concern to the participants at the recently held 2014 edition of the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) organized by the Nigerian Internet Registrations Association (NiRA).

The forum which focused on harnessing multi stakeholders' framework on Internet Governance and Economic growth attracted all and sundry from the ICT sector where contending issues and challenges facing the ICT sector particularly, the cyber space took the centre stage.

Non passage of the bill was also identified as an impediment to the growth of ICT in Nigeria especially the mobile money transactions and the cashless initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which has been declared nationwide.

Speaking in an interview with Daily Trust, ex- Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof Cleopas Anguaye expressed worry over the delayed passage of the cyber security bills lying in the national assembly.

He said, "If you are transmitting something online and is missed, you can't do anything about it because there is no cyber security law that covers or address such issues in Nigeria now. There is no law for that and you can't argue with the retailer or the owner of the platform you ride on.

There are certain things cyber criminals can run away with and that is why the cyber security law is very important. That will also tell on the uptake of mobile money in Nigeria."

According to him, it is very difficult to prosecute anybody if customers lose money during the cause of transactions.

This, he said, is part of the urgent reasons for the passage of these cyber security bills while also stressing the need for the training of lawyers, prosecutors need to trained on cyber security law and the law itself has to be implemented very critical.

He also said, "The bills as I will call it because they are in different forms at the national assembly we still hoping that some of them or all will be passed before end this legislative year.

If you remember, there are lot of problems with the governance of internet the domain name itself was actually handled by a volunteer from the US Randy Bush, it was when I came into office then we created NiRA as an NGO and the association has done a lot we have actually rested how to administer the domain with NiRA and they have being showing up at internet government forum both internationally and continentally so, we are making a lot progress Nigeria is in the list of those countries that ICT has actually pushed forward good internet governance when the communiqué is passed from NIGF, the organisation that is handling it has to push it through and am hoping that with the zeal of the president of NIGF most of the decisions will be passed. Nigeria currently has a comfortable position in internet governance and we are even hoping that we host one here Nigeria is recognised as one the countries that are very strong in internet governance and I think we are doing pretty fine what we lack is the cyber security and crimes laws which we are pushing which should be over by the end of the year."

Meanwhile, NiRA's President, Mrs Mary Uduma said on the absence of the cyber security bills, "I feel so bad that the cyber security law is yet to be passed, I feel like crying because there are several issues that we cannot resolve because we don't have that law think of data, think of bridge on the internet think of bad behaviours on the internet, how do we handle it. If we don't put that bill then we have not started we need it like yesterday. I think there should be a coalition; the press should be involved live update from the media by mounting pressure on the legislature on the loop holes unavailability of that bill is causing the industry and why they should develop political will to pass the bill."

Uduma explained that NIGF is exactly part of the activities to show that the government is part of this multi stakeholder's partnership on internet governance and when the resolutions at the forum is articulated in positions give to the government, they can take it further from there.

She said, "Government is just one of the multi stakeholders' partners. Others are the civil society, the private sectors including the press and part of the positions Nigeria should be taken at this time is that if there is a dialogue at West African level, Nigerian government should be there, dialogue at African level our government should be there and at international level our government t should there and should take part in it and listen to the experiences of other participants and implement some of the recommendations that come out of these dialogues those are the things NiRA will like government to do."

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