The far reaching provisions in Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention,etc) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2015, may see the Canadian courtesans spending 10 years in jail and paying N25 million in fines if convicted.
The Matharoo sisters and their accomplice (Babatunde Oyebade) are charged under sections 24 and 27.
Here’s the provision under section 24:
CHAPTER 24 : CYBERSTALKING
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; Cyberstalking.
(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.
(3) A court sentencing or otherwise dealing with a person convicted of an offence under subsections (1) and (2) may also make an order, which may, for the purpose of protecting the victim or victims of the offence, or any other person mentioned in the order, from further conduct which-‐
(a) amounts to harassment; or
(b) will cause fear of violence, death or bodily harm; prohibit the defendant from doing anything described/specified in the order.
(4) A defendant who does anything which he is prohibited from doing by an order under this section, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N10,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(5) The order made under subsection (3) of this section may have effect for a specified period or until further order and the defendant or any other person mentioned in the order may apply to the court which made the order for it to be varied or discharged by a further order.
(6) Notwithstanding the powers of the court under subsections (3) and (5), the court may make an interim order for the protection of victim(s) from further exposure to the alleged offences.
For section 27, here’s what the Act says:
- (1) Any person who –
(a) attempts to commit any offence under this Act; or
(b) aids, abets, conspires, counsels or procures another person(s) to commit any offence under this Act:
commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to the punishment provided for the principal offence under this Act.
(2) Any employee of a financial institution found to have connived with another person or group of persons to perpetrate fraud using computer system(s) or network, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 7 years and shall in addition, refund the stolen money or forfeit any property to which it has been converted to the bank, financial institution or the customer.