If the criminal case of cyber bullying and extortion against Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo, alongside their accomplice, Babatunde Oyebode, is diligently prosecuted and they are found guilty, they will spend many years in prison.
The Canadians with Indian roots accused of engaging in prostitution, extortion and cyber bullying, may face between three and fourteen years imprisonment for extortion and harassment.
For prostitution, the punishment is two year imprisonment.
Cyber bullying has a much more controversial punishment.
The Criminal Code of Lagos State prescribes the following for extortion in chapter 30, under section 301:
Attempt to extort.
- (1) Any person who, with intent to extort or gain anything from any person:
(a) accuses or threatens to accuse any person of committing any felony or misdemeanour, or of offering or making any solicitation or threat to any person as an inducement to commit or permit the commission of any felony or misdemeanour;
(b) threatens that any person shall be accused by any other person of any felony or misdemeanour, or of any such act; or
(c) knowing the contents of the writing, causes any person to receive any writing containing any such accusation or threat
is guilty of a felony, and liable to imprisonment for three years .
(2) Where the accusation or threat of accusation in subsection (1) of this Section is of –
(i) an offence for which the punishment of death or imprisonment for life may be inflicted;
(ii) any of the offences defined in Chapter 17 of this Law or an attempt to commit any of such offences; or
(iii) a solicitation or threat offered or made to any person as an inducement to commit or permit the commission of any of the offences referred to in this section, the offender is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.
(3) For the purpose of this section, it is immaterial whether the person accused or threatened to be accused has or has not committed the offence or act of which he is accused or threatened to be accused.
For prostitution, section 142 recommends the following punishment:
Persons trading 142. (1) Any person who—
(a) knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution; or
(b) in any public place persistently solicits or importunes for immoral purposes,
is guilty of a misdemeanour and liable to imprisonment for two years.
(2) A magistrate who is satisfied, by evidence on oath, that there is reason to suspect that any premises or any part of any premises are or is used for the purposes of prostitution, and that any person residing in or frequenting the premises is living wholly or in part on the earnings of the prostitute, may issue a warrant authorising any police officer to enter, search the premises and to arrest such a person.
(3) A person who is proved to have exercised control, direction or influence over the movements of a prostitute in such a manner as to show that he is aiding, abetting or compelling the prostitution with any person or generally shall, unless he can satisfy the court to the contrary be deemed to be knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution.
Keeping a 143. (1) Any person who:-
(a) keeps a brothel;
(b) being the tenant, lessee, occupier or person in charge of any premises, knowingly permits such premises or any part of it to be used as a brothel or for the purposes of habitual prostitution; or
(c) being the lessor or landlord of any premises, or the agent of such lessor or landlord, lets the same or any part of it with the knowledge that such premises or some part of it is to be used as a brothel, or is wilfully a party to the continued use of such premises or any part of it as a brothel, is liable –
(i) on first conviction to a fine of Ninety Thousand Naira or to imprisonment for six months, and
(ii) on a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine of One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira or to imprisonment for one year;
or in either case, to both fine and imprisonment.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, any person who appears, acts, or behaves, as master or mistress, or manages or assists in the management of a brothel is deemed to be the keeper.
In the case of cyber bullying, here is what the law suggests:
CYBERCRIMES (PROHIBITION, PREVENTION, ETC) ACT, 2015 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.