Nigeria has sufficient agencies to combat cybercrimes – Gbenga Sesan

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An expert has decried the existence of too many agencies in the fight against cyber crimes in Nigeria. According to Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, the nation does not need any additional agency to combat cybercrimes.

In an exclusive interview, he advised that instead of setting up new agencies, what the existing agencies should do is to update their knowledge base on cyber crimes.

He said: “We already have too many agencies – EFCC, ICPC, Police, etc. They should all learn how to handle cyber crimes same way they learnt to handle new crimes that emerge. They need to retool, and un/relearn, not create another special money-draining but ineffective institution.”

He said the incessant call for creation of new agencies may not be unconnected with the desire of those who want to be in charge of the coordination of the fight against cyber crimes in Nigeria.

“For one, many people want to be in charge of the coordination, as either the coordinating agency, or to have a say in who manages the agency that could be established to manage cybercrime ‘policing’ in Nigeria. Fortunately, the talk of establishing an agency isn’t as popular anymore,” Sesan said.

He described the move by the Nigerian Senate to remove the controversial Section 13(3) of the Bill for an Act to Provide for the Prohibition and Punishment for Electronic Fraud and Crime in all Electronic Transactions in Nigeria as a wise one.

According to the section of the bill, individuals who use electronic channels to share information considered threatening to national security or that could incite against government could spend up to 7 years in jail or pay a fine to the tune of N5 million.

He said: “The reversal is a wise move by the Senate and the accompanying statements around assuring citizens that their rights won’t be tampered with is reassuring – even for a government institution not known with integrity of promises.

“Citizens should now realise that their complaints are useful, especially as it relates to contribution to lawmaking processes;

“Social media, the platform under attack (alongside general Internet Freedom) and also channel of expressing disgust at erring policies, is now a much more powerful tool than it was in 2010 (when it was used to organise the first set of social media-led protests), 2011 (when it was used to monitor elections) or 2012 (when it was used heavily for Occupy Nigeria protests).”