Nigeria ratifies international legal instrument on cybercrime – here’s why it matters

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The National Security Adviser, retired Babagana Monguno, says the Federal Government of Nigeria has ratified its membership of the Budapest Convention to enhance international cooperation in the fight against cybercrime.

Monguno made this known in a statement by the Head of Strategic Communication, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Mr Zakari Usman, on Monday in Abuja.

He said that Nigeria officially ratified its membership of the convention on July 6, after it met the needed requirements, after five years of assiduous efforts by the government.

According to him, the development follows the approval of the Federal Executive Council on June 29, and the signing of the instrument of accession by President Muhammadu Buhari as well as transmission to the Council of Europe on July 6.

NSA said that Nigeria had enacted Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act 2015 as the legal framework for the codification of criminal activities in cyberspace.

He said the Act was aimed at guaranteeing, amongst others, the safe use of cyberspace and minimising the attendant risks to online platforms and critical infrastructure with consequential negative impact.

“As part of efforts to implement its provisions, the Federal Government developed a comprehensive National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021, establishment of the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) and the National Digital Forensic Laboratory, amongst others.

“As an essential component of the Act, Section 41(2b) provides for conformity of the Nigerian cybercrime and cybersecurity laws and policies with regional as well as international standards.

“The objective is to support and be part of international cooperation in addressing the menace of cybercrime.

“This is considering the cross-border nature of cybersecurity threats and the dire need for synergy as well as effective collaboration with the international community to tackle the ever-increasing challenge,’’  he said.

Monguno said it was part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen global architecture of cybersecurity that the Council of Europe invited Nigeria to accede to the convention on cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

According to him, the Nigerian Government thereafter collaborated with the Council of Europe to provide the necessary frameworks to meet the requirements for the final accent to the Convention.

“Consequently, Nigeria joined 66 other countries across the world that have signed and ratified the Convention on Cybercrime on July 6.

“Among other benefits, the ratification will enhance international cooperation, provide a common platform and procedural law tools for efficient investigations of cybercrimes, as well as the preservation and transfer of electronic evidence as appropriate in relation to any crime.

“It will also automatically make Nigeria a priority hub for cybercrime capacity building programmes’’ he said. 

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