Comparative perspectives on cybercrime legislation in Nigeria and the UK - a case for revisiting the "hacking" offences under the Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015
Nigeria recently passed a cybercrime law which criminalises certain activities. This paper analyses the provisions of the law on unauthorised access into computer systems. It addresses two significant shortcomings of the law. First, it argues that the omission or failure to criminalise bare unauthorised access or 'basic hacking' into computer systems is inimical to the overall effectiveness of the provisions of the law dealing with unauthorised access. Second, it contends that it is unnecessary and counter-productive for the law to include a finite list of further offences that a hacker may intend to commit. In identifying the possible interpretation, implementation and enforcement challenges of the law, the paper examines the UK Computer Misuse Act (CMA) 1990 and the rationale of the Law Commission in proposing the 'basic hacking' offence. The paper concludes that although perceptions of cybercrime and cybercriminals are relative to social contexts and differ across jurisdictions, criminalisation and punishment for 'basic hacking' demonstrates recognition for the threats posed by hacker and is an increasingly significant way to deter hackers and improve cybersecurity at national and international levels.