Users of internet in Nigeria especially those that deploy the various social media platforms to incite the general public against the government, are in for a rude shock as the Senate has reached an advanced stage to pass a bill that proposes seven years jail term for such users.
The proposed legislation which has passed second reading in the upper legislative chamber, is also seeking stiffer punishment for internet fraudsters and scammers popularly called ‘419ers’ in Nigeria as those convicted will be sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
The joint Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and legal matters, Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes led by Senator Umaru Dahiru (PDP, Sokoto), yesterday held a one day public hearing on the bill for an act to provide for the prohibition and punishment for electronic fraud and crime in all electronic transactions in Nigeria.
Particularly of interest is Section 13 subsection 3 of the bill which stipulates that: “Anyone, who intentionally propagates false information that could threaten the security of the country or that is capable of inciting the general public against the government through electronic message shall be guilty of an offense and upon conviction shall be sentenced to seven years imprisonment or N5 million (fine)”.
Declaring the public hearing open, Senate President David Mark, who was represented by the deputy minority whip, Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina), said electronic fraudsters pose great danger to the country and must be tackled if foreign investors are to come into Nigeria.
Similarly, chairman of the committee, Senator Dahiru, said electronic fraud was posing serious threat to world economies and Nigeria being a developing economy, cannot be left out hence the need to enact appropriate laws to deal with the challenges of the time.