THE ROLE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES IN CYBER SECURITY AND CRIME IN NIGERIA
With the advent of computer age, legislatures have been struggling to redefine the law to fit crimes perpetuated by computer criminals. The rise of technology and online communication has not only produced a dramatic increase in the incidence of criminal activity, it has also resulted in the emergence of what appears to be some new varieties of criminal activity. Both the increase in the incidence of criminal activity and the possible emergence of new varieties of criminal activity pose challenges for legal systems, as well as for law enforcement. Successful response to these challenges requires new paradigms. In the light of the fact that a lot of problems have been generated as a result of the “lacuna” in our criminal laws, several issues has brought to the fore the imperativeness for a research of this nature for constructive legal reforms of the Nigerian criminal law and acritical examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the most recent legislation on cybercrime enacted only on 15th of May 2015 to tackle the menace of cyber insecurity in Nigeria as is done in other jurisdictions. The research methodology adopted is doctrinal which is a library-based methodology that is, an extensive analysis and review of existing literatures on the subject. The key findings among others, from this study are: Law enforcement authorities, prosecutors, and judiciary in developing countries, require long-term, sustainable, comprehensive technical support and assistance for the investigation and combating of cybercrime, Cybercrime prevention activities in all countries require strengthening, through a holistic approach involving further awareness-raising, public-private partnerships and the integration of cybercrime strategies with a broader cybersecurity perspective and as long as there is an absence of a centralized electronic databank containing specific information on each individual resident and visitor to Nigeria, exposure of criminal intentions before they are executed and the effective investigation of crimes committed would continue to pose a heavy challenge to law enforcement agencies. This work recommended “seven critical” or top priority needs, some of which are: Public awareness, uniform training and certification courses, steady electric power supply, that the court should play down on the proof of specific intent, because the requirement to proof these specific intents significantly narrows the scope of each offence and also makes proving each offence more difficult, exceptions for law enforcement, military or intelligence activities must be addressed in order to avoid these categories from falling victim of the penal provision of section 14(1) of the cybercrime Act, 2015. This thesis argues that law enforcement officials cannot effectively pursue cybercriminals unless they have the legal tools necessary to do so.
CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Although only a few would deny that the internet has had a major impact upon criminal behavior, there is much less consensus as to what that impact has been. Even when Nations agree that cybercrimes are a problem there appears to be no overall consensus about how to deal with them collectively1. All too often claims about the prevalence of Cybercrimes lack clarification as to what it is that is particularly “cyber” about them.
Indeed, when so called cases of cybercrime are closely examined they often have the familiar ring of the “traditional” rather than the “cyber” about them. These offences typically comprises: hacking2, fraud, pornography, pedophilia and the likes. Some of these are already part of existing criminal justice regimes in Nigeria. Perhaps more confusing is the contrast between the many hundreds or thousands of incidents that are supposedly reported each year and the relatively small number of known prosecutions. “Is this a case of the absence of evidence not being evidence”, as per secretary of state, Donald Rumsfeld”3. “Or should we be asking if there are actually such things as cybercrimes?”4 Other authors5 have questioned whether cybercrimes are actually categories of crime in need of new theory, or whether they are understood better by existing theories.
The reason why it is called cyber crime is still not understood. What is clear is that the word cyber crime was first coined by an American writer of Science fiction, William Gibson in
(1982) and then popularized on his 1984 novel „Necromancer‟: the term cyberspace became a popular descriptor of the mentally constructed virtual enviroment within which networked computer activity takes place “cybercrime” broadly describes the crimes that take place within the space and the term has come to symbolize insecurity and risk online.
By itself, cybercrimes is fairly meaningless because it tends to be used metaphorically and emotively rather than scientifically or legally. Usually to signify the occurrence of harmful behavior that is somehow related to the misuse of a networked computer system6.
Largely an invention of the media, „cybercrime‟ originally had no specific reference point in law in the United Kingdom or United States of America7
The offence that did become associated with the term was a rather narrow legal construction based upon concerns about hacking. In fact, many of the so called cybercrimes that have caused concern over the past decade are not necessarily crimes in criminal law.
If we could turn the clock back in time then perhaps theterm „cyberspace crime‟ would have been a more precise and accurate descriptor. However, regardless of its merit and demerits, the term „cybercrime‟ has entered the public parlance and we are stuck with it.8
Currently, the internet is so news worthy that a single dramatic incident of cybercrime has the power to shape public opinion and fuel public anxiety, frequently resulting in (political) demands for instant‟ and simple solutions to extremely complex situations.
“Indeed, media accounts of cybercrimes still frequently invoke a dramatic imagery of a vulnerable society being brought to its knees by forces beyond its control such as an „Electronic Pearl Harbor”9‟ or a „Cyber Tsuname10.