Cybercrime In Nigeria: The Implication on our Economy

Cybercrime In Nigeria: The Implication on our Economy

By Margaret Ogbonnah.


Cybercrimes is an illegal activity carried out over the internet which targets the security of computer systems and the data processed by them. A lot of people in the world, mostly Nigerians have limited knowledge of the crime occurring in cyberspace, known as cybercrime. Cybercrime happens in the world of computers and the Internet. This kind of crime has a severe impact on our economy, lives and society because our society is becoming a technology-based society, with information exchange happening in cyberspace. This article aims to educate its readers on cybercrime’s impacts on the Nigerian economy.


Cybercrime in a broader sense can be defined as a computer-related crime. Which includes any illegal behaviour committed using, or about a computer system or network, including such crimes as illegal possession and offering or distributing information using a computer system or network.

In a nutshell, Cyber Crime refers to all activities done with criminal intent in cyberspace. These fall into three categories:

  • Crimes against persons.
  • Crimes against Business and Non-business organizations.
  • Crimes against the government.

This crime is committed with the help of a computer through a communication device or a transmission media called cyberspace and a global network called the Internet.

Furthermore, Cybercrime has been increasing in complexity and financial costs since corporations, governments and individuals, or society at large started utilizing computers in the course of doing business. As technology increases between governments, corporate organizations and individuals that are involved in international and local businesses; criminals have realized that this is a cost-effective method of making money. Cyberspace security is therefore crucial for maintaining the continuity of vital services, preserving the public’s trust in information systems and sustaining a stable economy in Nigeria.


There are three main categories of Cybercrimes, which are as mentioned below:

  1. Target cybercrime: the crime in which a computer is the target of the offence.
  2. Tool cybercrime: the crime in which a computer is used as a tool in committing the offence (the place in which tool cybercrime happens is not the physical environment but cyberspace – which makes cybercrime).
  3. Computer incidental: the crime in which a computer plays a minor role in committing the offence.
  4. The boundaries of these categories are not usually so distinct in reality from each other. For example, if someone uses high-tech hacking into a computer or server, it’s hard to say whether it is in tool cybercrime or in target cybercrime. However, the distinction is for ease of understanding cybercrime more efficiently.


  1. Spamming; which simply means sending spam emails.¹
  2. Hacking; which means stealing personal information by breaking into someone’s computer to view or alter data.²
  3. Phishing – which means tricking someone into revealing their personal information.³
  4. Denial of service –DOS makes Internet services unavailable for users.
  5. Advanced free fraud: This is also known as 419 (aka Yahoo-yahoo), and is perpetuated through the use of credit card fraud (ATM).⁴
  6. Malware: Malicious software that is used to harm or disable users’ devices, as well as steal personal and sensitive data.⁵
  7. Plagiarism and Software Piracy.⁶
  8. Tampering with Critical Infrastructure⁷
  9. Use of fraudulent devices or attached emails and websites.⁸
  10. Cyber vandalism and terrorism.⁹
  11. Insertion of viruses, worms, ransomware, and other malicious Code.¹⁰
  12. Unlawful interceptions ¹¹
  13. Pornography/Child Pornography.¹²
  14. Racist, xenophobic or sacrilegious content.¹³
  15. Threatening communications: extortion. ¹⁴
  16. Cyber-stalking ¹⁵
  17. Identity Theft and Impersonation.¹⁶
  18. Forgery/counterfeiting: IP offences; software, CD, DVD piracy; Copyright Breaches et cetera.


  1. High Youth Unemployment

It is without a doubt that unemployment causes poverty which if unchecked can result in a high rate of crime and criminality. Therefore, high youth unemployment which eventually leads to a high rate of crime would be eradicated from the system if youth unemployment is tackled.

  1. The General Laissez-Faire Attitude of Individuals and Businesses Regarding Cyber Security.

A lot of business owners are victims of cybercrime in Nigeria, the reason is not far-fetched other than the fact that they are not keen on learning about cybersecurity. They are exposed to pirated software which makes their information unsafe and easily accessible to fraudsters online. More so, in a bid to save money, they subscribe to fake or low-quality software which further makes them vulnerable to computer viruses.

  1. Gullibility/Greed

Most victims of cybercrime are both gullible and greedy. A lot of internet users go into transactions online hoping to make quick and huge profits without thorough investigations. Such people are easy prey to cybercriminals.

  1. Poverty

Poverty is another thing that easily leads its victims into all sorts of criminality. Cybercrime is usually easy to perpetuate, as most times, all that is required to have access to the internet.

  1. The Proliferation of Cyber Cafes and the Porous Nature of the Internet

It is important to note that the nature of the internet is such that geographical and political boundaries are not relevant as attacks can be generated by criminals from anywhere in the world and executed wherever the criminals deem fit. Also, the proliferation of cybercafés has been another major cause of the rising cybercrime. The Nigerian Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act was also enacted to address this trend and regulate the operation of cybercafé in Nigeria. This is coupled with the newly introduced guideline


  1. Impact of Cybercrime on the Financial Services Industry

It is well-known that a buoyant economy thrives on an effective and efficient financial system. Cyber-attacks are usually skewed toward deriving financial gains. Banks, other financial institutions, businesses and individuals bear the losses of such acts. Some economic impacts of cybercrime in Nigeria include Increases in the operating cost of businesses due to huge expenses incurred on the purchase of security software applications to reduce the rate of cyberattacks.

Failure of financial institutions arising from huge losses from cybercrimes which have led to a loss in confidence in the financial institutions and a possible run on them. The losses arising from cybercrimes are not predictable; leading to an increase in irrecoverable provisions and a consequent depletion of capital for banks and business entities. This undermines the confidence level in the nation’s financial system.

  1. Loss of Foreign Investment

The perceived loss of confidence has also affected the country’s developmental progress; as foreign investments find it difficult to flow into the economy. This gives the nation an economic pariah status. The lack of confidence in the Nigerian economy by foreign investors as a result of cybercrime has limited the progress of our economy.

  1. Retards Financial Inclusion

Due to the proliferation of cybercrime in Nigeria, there is a discouragement of financial inclusion, due to the fear of being a victim of cyber-attack.

  1. Monetary Losses

The loss of money caused by cybercrime cannot be over-emphasized. The financial costs to economies and businesses from cyber-attacks include the loss of intellectual property, financial fraud, damage to reputation, lower productivity, and third-party liability. Businesses face greater damage from financial fraud and intellectual property theft over the Internet. Thus, the presence of cybercrime has worked intense hardship to businesses in Nigeria (especially relating to businesses and financial institutions).

  1. Productivity Losses and Rising Cost

Cybercrime has tremendously reduced the productivity of organizations, businesses and companies in Nigeria. This is because of the enormous resources they expend in putting up measures to prevent attacks on their facilities given the constant and innovative methods of attack used by perpetrators of these acts.

Cyber-crime, therefore, increases overhead costs and reduces profit margins as more resources are deployed into securing their networks. This is time-consuming and also affects productivity. These resources could have been used instead to aid production in their businesses.

Cybercrimes (Prohibition & Prevention E.T.C,) Act, 2015

The “Cybercrimes (Prohibition & Prevention Etc,) Act, 2015” has made quite a major impact in tackling cybercrimes in Nigeria. This Act provides for a detailed legal, regulatory, and institutional structure for the prevention, prescription, punishment and prosecution of cybercrime. The Act also promotes cyber security and the safeguarding of computers and networks, electronic communications, data and storage programs, confidential information, and privacy rights, and the safeguarding of critical national information infrastructure.

As already mentioned, the Cybercrimes (Prohibition & Prevention Etc,) Act, 2015 proscribes and criminalizes certain conducts/activities, some of which are:

I. Child Pornography – According to the Act any person convicted of child pornography is liable to ten (10) years in prison and/ or a 20 million Naira fine, depending on the gravity of the offence.¹⁷ Child pornography includes producing, procuring, distributing, and possessing such images.

II. Identity Theft – Anyone convicted of identity theft will be punished with seven (7) years imprisonment and/ or a fine of 5 million Naira. ¹⁸

III. Cyber-stalking & Cyber-bullying – The Act also criminalizes cyberstalking and cyber-bullying. Anyone convicted of these could receive a minimum fine of 2 million Naira and/or at least 1 year in prison. More severe offences could attract a penalty as high as a 25 million Naira minimum fine and/or up to ten (10) years imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence.¹⁹

IV. Unauthorized Access to Computer – If hackers are found guilty of unlawfully accessing a computer system or network, they could be fined up to 10 million Naira or imprisoned for five (5) years, or both, depending on the purpose of the hack. The same applies to Internet fraudsters who commit cybercrimes by sending electronic messages, or accessing and using data on computer systems. ²⁰

There are more provisions of this Act, which is intended at curbing cybercrimes in Nigerian Society. The question however is whether it has been successful at curbing the crime and reducing its adverse effects on Nigeria.

Strategies for Combating Cybercrime in the Nigerian Banking System

These recommended strategies are not in any way exhaustive, but they will help in the reduction of cybercrime in Nigeria if implemented. Cybercrime cannot be easily and completely eliminated but can be minimized. To reduce cybercrime to a minimal level in Nigeria, there would be a need for an active collaborative effort between individuals, corporate organizations and the government.

  1. The use of robust firewalls to prevent attacks and filter malware or suspicious, malicious codes.
  2. Consistent training of IT personnel to monitor and detect unusual traffic/intrusions within the deployed IT infrastructure.
  3. The enactment of stringent laws and prosecution of individuals in breach of same.
  4. Deployment of secure user access interfaces to ensure that only authorized persons are given access to corporate networks.
  5. Frequent updating and upgrading of software and applications to align with recent global best practices.
  6. There is a need for effective cooperation and collaboration among banking institutions. For example, when fraudsters use computers or other ICT infrastructure to transfer funds from an individual account, such funds are deposited or moved to an account in another financial institution. The institution involved should cooperate effectively when such fraudulent transfers are detected.
  7. Enhanced Public Awareness
  8. The practice of plea bargaining should be eradicated from the system. Criminals convicted for unlawful acquisition of money should be sentenced to prison after such monies have been recovered. More so, the Nigerian government should set up a system where farms are acquired and these criminals attached to these farms to cultivate food for the country. It is important to suggest that such criminals should be paid wages, which would be reserved by the government and handed over to them upon their release from prison.


The fight against cybercrime is a necessary one. The adverse effect of this crime on the Nigerian economy is felt by both individuals and non-individuals. The poor social image of Nigerian Society can only be redeemed by an active war against crimes of this nature, and every other crime in the society. It is therefore an area that should not be ignored if we must achieve a stable and progressive economy.


  1. Last accessed on the 1/12/2022.
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  7. Section 32 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015.
  8. Section 20 of the Copyright Act LFN C 2004
  9. Section 10 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  10. Section 36 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  11. Section 18 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  12. Section 16 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  13. Section 12 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  14. Section 23 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  15. Section 26 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  16. Section 21 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  17. Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act 2015
  18. Section 22 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C)Act 2015


This article is for information purposes, it may not reflect the current state of the law, and is therefore not intended to provide legal advice, guidance on litigation, or commentary on any pending case or legislation.


1 Section 32 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

2 Sections 6 & 8 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, E.T.C ) Act 2015

3 Section 32 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

4 The Advance Fee Fraud Act

5 Section 32 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

6 Section 20 of the Copyright Act, C28 LFN(2004)

7 Section 10 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

8 Section 36 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

9 Section 18 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

10 Section 16 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

11 Section 12 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

12 Section 23 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

13 Section 26 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

14 Section 21 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

15 Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

16 Section 22 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

17 (Section 23 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

18 Section 22 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act.

19Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act

20Section 36 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention E.T.C) Act