When The Use Of Social Media Becomes An Offence In Nigeria: Cyber-Stalking By Evans Ufeli Esq

Today, the Internet plays a very important role in our lives. There are so many transactions that are done in Nigeria via the the internet. Infact, some transactions are impossible without the Internet today. This trend wasn’t so a few years back.
The rapid Internet penetration, which is a global phenomenon was embraced by Nigeria with little or no thought on its attendant human malfeasance. The outburst of abuse, using the Internet via social media platforms to intimidate, bully, harass, threatened, stalk and defraud people has become a serious threat to national security.
With this vice are other offences pepetrated by Nigerians, like posting fake new, writing falsehood and hate speeches that undermines the security of lives and properties, stifles our cohesion, widen our ethnic differences and ferment division amongst the various nations in the polity.

I must make this clear that it is criminal to indulge in any of these anti-socio economic misconduct and perverse behaviour that devalues the prescient structures of democracy.

By section 24 of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 anyone who uses the social media platform to threatens, intimidate, abuse, insult ,coarse, bully and harass anybody commits an offence. This is a recent law in our criminal jurisprudence and its enforcement is critical to us as Nigerians.
I hereby reproduce section 24 (1) -(2) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 as follows :
“Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that –


(a) is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be so sent; or
(b) he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent:
commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(2) Any person who knowingly or intentionally transmits or causes the transmission of any communication through a computer system or network –
(a) to bully, threaten or harass another person, where such communication places another person in fear of death, violence or bodily harm or to another person;
(b) containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to harm the person of another, any demand or request for a ransom for the release of any kidnapped person, to extort from any person, firm, association or corporation, any money or other thing of value; or
(c) containing any threat to harm the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value:
commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction- (i) in the case of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection to imprisonment for a term of 10 years and/or a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00; and (ii) in the case of paragraph (c) and (d) of this subsection, to imprisonment for a term of 5 years and/or a minimum fine of N15,000,000.00.”
Now it is clear. For those involve in creating hashtags asking that a notorious Kidnapper be freed for whatsoever reason have committed an offence and are due for criminal prosecution. Those who write falsehood online and share it to all social media platforms are hereby informed as this conduct will definitely ked them to jail soonest. For the many who threaten people through the social media platforms you must desist from this forthwith or risk a life in prison for as long as 10 years. Ignorance of the law is not a excuse.

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