ResearchGlobal Research Network

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and the Economic Cost of Cybercrime

In 2013, the Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) published “The Economic Cost of Cybercrime in Nigeria,” a report written by ‘Gbenga Sesan, Babatope Soremi, and Bankole Oluwafemi. The authors provide quantitative data for measuring the extent of cybercrime in Nigeria and propose recommendations for combating its influence in the country. PIN’s report is the first major study dedicated entirely toward quantitatively measuring the costs of cybercrime in Nigeria.

PIN administered online and offline surveys to 2,980 total participants between February 15 and March 8, 2013.The survey consisted of five questions to gauge participants’ experience with cybercrime and resultant economic loss. Results indicated that 41% of respondents considered themselves victims of cybercrime, though only 30% claimed that they had fallen victim to cybercrime in the past year. In total, respondents suffered a monetary loss of N226,927,810.10 (or $1,432,172.99). However, many indicated that opportunity costs due to loss of time incurred by cybercrime magnified that economic loss: over 27,000 hours were reportedly lost due to dealing with cybercrime. Respondents also reported losing goods and personal data, most notably banking information. The authors used the survey data to estimate a figure for total national economic loss based on Nigeria’s 48.3 million Internet users: N2,146,666,345,014.75 (or $13,547910,034.80). The authors call for “firm and fair cybercrime legislation” as a solution.

The Nigerian government has historically taken an active approach to combating cybercrime, including through national initiatives, working groups, and draft legislation. Among the most notable are the National Cybercrime Working Group (NCWG) and the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). The former is a multi-stakeholder initiative composed of representatives from law enforcement, business, and the ICT sector, while the latter is a pilot project of the NCWG and National Information Technology Development Agency dedicated to providing support for computer and network security incidents. Draft legislation specifically tailored toward stemming cybercrime includes the Computer Security and Critical Infrastructure Bill (2005), Criminal Code Amendment for Offences Relating to Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes (2011) and the Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Bill (2011). However, to date none of the bills have been passed into law.

In August 2013, the Nigerian executive council drafted the Cyber Crime Bill (2013) and sent it to the National Assembly for approval and passage into law. Labaran Maku, Nigeria’s Information Minister, has stated the bill is “in conformity with existing Nigerian law” as well as with the Budapest Convention, an international treaty seeking to harmonize international laws on cybercrime through the pursuit of a “common criminal policy.” The status of the bill was uncertain as of October.