Reps task NSA, CBN to sensitise Nigerians on cybercrime levy

Reps task NSA, CBN to sensitise Nigerians on cybercrime levy

Leading the debate on the motion on Wednesday, Chinda who
represents Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Rivers State recalled that on May
9, 2024, the House considered a joint motion on the implementation of the
Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2015 as amended in 2024 and
resolved to direct the CBN “To withdraw the ambiguous circular of May 6, 2024
and in its place, issue an unambiguous and unequivocal circular in line with
the letters and spirit of the law and directed the House Committees on Banking
Regulations and Ancillary Institutions to guide the CBN properly.”

 

Despite this directive, the lawmaker noted that “The media
space was awash with the wrong impression that the House of Representatives was
against a law passed by her, which impression painted the House in bad light.

 

He said: “The Cybercrimes Act imposes a levy of 0.05 per
cent (0.005) on some establishments enumerated in the second schedule to the
Act, that occupy the cyberspace; do business therein and make profit
therefrom,” adding that such business concerns was the target of the Act, not
individuals.

 

“The levy does not apply to ordinary Nigerians but only to
the establishments listed in the second schedule to the Act, which includes
Global System for Mobile Communication Service providers and all
telecommunication companies; Internet Service Providers; Banks and other
Financial Institutions; Insurance Companies; and Nigerian Stock Exchange.

 

“Order 20, Rule 93 (2) (b) of the House Rules provides that
‘in the event of joint oversight on issues relating to cybersecurity, the
Committee on National Security and Intelligence shall work with the Committee
on Digital and Information Technology. In such cases, the Committee on National
Security and Intelligence shall be the lead Committee”, he added.

 

Explaining further, Mr Chinda said, “Our role is to make law
and once there is an attempt to abuse the law that we made, it is necessary
that we take a clear decision and that is what I have called on us to do today.

 

“Now, if in the course of implementation, we find out that
the implementers, that is, the executive arm, are abusing it; we come back to
amend it. But we cannot at this stage amend by way of motion.

 

“All we are doing is to caution the executive arm. This
side, the content of the law we made, in cause of execution, does not task
Nigerians directly or indirectly. If we find out that there are indirect taxes,
it is justified for us to come back here and amend the law and see how we can
improve on what we have done. Therefore, all we are doing today is to continue
to enlighten Nigerians because many of them are still not aware that this law
does not apply to them, but those who are making profit from cyberspace.

 

 “If the people feel
otherwise, it is our duty to come back and amend that portion and if possible,
remove it.”

 

Ruling on the motion, the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, who
presided over plenary in the absence of the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, said, “By
this, it means that the House of Representatives is standing by the law it made
on cyber security. We are standing with the government that is interested in
ensuring that we are protected on what we can see with our physical eyes and
what happens within the Cyberspace.”

 

The House through a voice vote unanimously adopted the
motion and mandated its Committees on National Security and Intelligence,
Digital and Information Technology, Justice, Digital Economy, and Electronic
Banking to superintend over the implementation of the House resolution of May
9, 2024 on the Cybersecurity levy, with the committee on National Security and
Intelligence as the lead the committee.

 

 

Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, Nigerian First
Project has commended the Federal Government for coming up with the 0.05 per
cent cyber security levy.

 

Speaking at an event organised by the group in Abuja on
Wednesday, Coordinator of the body, Hamza Saulawa, Coordinator, Nigeria First
Project, Comrade Bishir Dauda, and Director, Research and Documentation, Bishir
Unguwa-Katsina, called on all patriotic Nigerians to rally behind the Federal
Government in its quest to rid the nation of any vestige of criminality, cyber
crimes and terrorism inclusive.

 

“In the face of growing cybercrimes in Nigeria with its
attendant consequences on our nation, we find the ongoing hysterical vicious
campaign against the cybersecurity levy incongruence with the desire of many
patriotic Nigerians to see that our hitherto country’s good image is restored.

 

“It is obvious that the conversation is being manipulated by
the section of the minority vocal elites to look as if the levy is imposed to
punish the masses. This is happening despite the clarification made by the
Chairman, Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Shehu
Buba. We feel that this kind of debate in which many take an extreme end is not
helpful at all.

 

“We urge all Nigerians to objectively and without any
prejudice, examine this landmark clause -cybersecurity Levy in its entirety.
They would surely see its great prospects to our country,” they said in a joint
statement.

 

According to the organisation, “It is important for
Nigerians to note that cybercrime is not only undermining Nigeria’s economy,
but also has continued to tarnish our image globally. Today innocent Nigerians
all over the world are being unfairly treated with suspicion at airports,
embassies,motorparks,etc.

 

“Indeed, it is so embarrassing that whenever there is a
discussion about cybercrime anywhere, the first people who come to minds are
Nigerians. Many innocent Nigerians are being embarrassed, humiliated and
profiled because of the activities of cyber criminals.

 

“Many Nigerians have lost golden opportunities, because of
this terrible phenomenon,” they further said.

 

 

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