Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

SERAP Urges Tinubu To Suspend Cybersecurity Charges On Nigerians

By Sunday Elijah

A Nigerian organization, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Bola Tinubu “to immediately direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withdraw the cybersecurity levy on Nigerians as it patently violates the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international human rights obligations and commitments.”

SERAP also urged him “to stop Mr. Nuhu Ribadu and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) from implementing section 44 and other repressive provisions of the Cybercrimes Act 2024 as it flagrantly violates the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

In a statement by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP urged Tinubu to also “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN to immediately prepare and present a bill to amend section 44 and other repressive provisions of the Cybercrimes Act 2024 to the National Assembly so that those provisions can be brought in line with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.”

It stressed that “The Tinubu administration must within 48 hours withdraw the patently arbitrary and unlawful CBN directive purportedly imposing cybersecurity levy on Nigerians.

“Section 44(8) criminalizing the non-payment of the cybersecurity levy by Nigerians is grossly unlawful and constitutional.”

The statement, read in part: “Our lawyer Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, is already preparing the necessary court papers should the administration fail or neglect to act as recommended.”

“The administration must urgently take concrete and effective measures to ensure the repeal of section 44 and other repressive provisions of the Cybercrimes Act 2024.

“If the unlawful CBN directive is not withdrawn and appropriate steps are not taken to amend the repressive provisions of the Cybercrimes Act within 48 hours, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel the Tinubu administration to comply with our request in the public interest.”

“Withdrawing the unlawful CBN directive and repealing the repressive provisions of the Cybercrimes Act 2024 will be entirely consistent with President Tinubu’s constitutional oath of office requires public officials to uphold the provisions of the constitution, and the rule of law and abstain from all improper acts.”

“The repressive provisions of the Cybercrimes Act 2024 are clearly inconsistent and incompatible with the public trust and the overall objectives of the Constitution. A false oath lacks truth and justice. The oath statements require the oath takers to commit to uphold and defend the Constitution.”

“Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] provides that, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”

“The CBN yesterday has directed banks and other financial institutions to implement a 0.5 percent cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers on the basis of the section 44 44(2)(a) of the Cybercrimes Act 2024 purportedly imposing a “a levy of 0.005 equivalent to a half percent of all electronic transactions value by the business specified in the second schedule of the Act.”

“The money is to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF), which shall be administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).”

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