Connect with us

Nigeria News

Police, Other Security Agencies Lack Power To Arrest Nigerians Over Cyberstalking – Falana

Published

on

at

'Postponement Of Elections Is A Constitutional Coup' - Falana Asks ECOWAS To Sanction Senegalese President

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has stated that the police and other security agencies lack the power to arrest, detain and prosecute Nigerians over cyberstalking.

Naija News reports that Falana, in a statement on Tuesday, said the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Court, had declared Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act 2015 illegal.

Therefore, he called for the discontinuance of all pending cases filed under Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act 2015.

According to him, the ECOWAS court had also directed the Federal Government to amend the section to respect Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression.

The statement read, “It has become illegal to arrest journalists for cyberstalking, insult, causing annoyance, offensive message and criminal intimidation.

“Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act, 2015 had criminalised ‘cyberstalking’, ‘insult’, ‘causing annoyance’, ‘sending offensive messages’, and ‘criminal intimidation’ ‘insult’, ‘causing annoyance’, ‘sending offensive messages’, and ‘criminal intimidation’. Specifically, section 24 provided as follows: (a) Any person who, knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter using 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 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 N7million or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

“However, in the cases of Laws and Rights Awareness Initiative (Suit No. ECW/CCJ/APP/53/18) and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (Suit Laws and Rights Awareness Initiative (Suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/09/19), the Ecowas Court declared section 24 of the Cybercrime Act 2015 illegal and directed the federal government to amend the section to make the law conform with the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens to freedom of expression guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 and article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“In line with both judgments of the Ecowas Court, the Government of Nigeria has repealed section 24 by removing the provisions relating to ‘cyber stalking’, ‘insult’, ‘causing annoyance’, ‘sending offensive messages’, and ‘criminal intimidation’ from the Cybercrime Act 2015 and replaced same with Section 5 of the Cybercrime Amendment Act which provides as follows: Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter using computer systems.”

Rachel Okporu is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist with years of experience in the industry. She is a graduate of Linguistics and Communication Studies. Likes surfing the Internet and making new friends.