Nigerian Cyber-crime


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Nigerian Cyber-crime: A Performance Review of EFCC and The Nigerian Cyber-Crime Working Group




Femi Oyesanya


Saturday, December 18, 2004


When President Olusegun Obasanjo inaugurated the Nigerian Cyber-crime Working Group (NCWG), on March 10, 2004 , the intentions were noble.  However,   most critics observed at that time, that there was likelihood for resource duplication. Particularly, the statutory and functional composition of the NCWG shared similar  mandates with those of the Economic and Financial Crime Commissions.   


It has now become obvious,  that the creation of the NCWG was purely a case of financial resource duplication   For example, in the 2004 budget the EFCC received only N300, 000,000 in allocated fiscal funding[1].   Although it is possible that the total sum of financial allocation to the EFCC were later revised, many of the proposed Financial Crime projects proposed by the EFCC, simply got zero funding.  


On the other hand, although the NCWG did not have any formal budgeting funding allocated for fiscal year 2004, it somehow managed to receive an initial allocation of N100, 000,000 from the Nigerian Government.    The bottom line is clear, both agencies received funding

for similar objectives.


Nigeria is full of financial and statutory inconsistencies; the EFCC was under-funded, whilst the NCWG receives new funding.  Ironically, both EFCC and the NCWG have similar strategic objectives.  Statutorily, the EFCC was created to combat Advanced Fee Fraud, which by the way, also includes the Nigerian 419 Email.  Similarly, the proposed Nigerian Cybercrime Bill likewise, mandates functions of the NCWG to include fighting Nigerian Cybercrime.


Thus, in terms of functional responsibilities, the NCWG is a clear duplication of the EFCC, the N100, 000,000 out of budget expenditure allocated to the NCWG, should instead have been used to make the EFCC more effective.  Although the EFCC is yet to secure one criminal conviction in a Nigerian Court of Law, the agency has made tremendous strides in its counter Cybercrime efforts.  The EFCC has made hundreds of Cybercrime arrests, and recovered millions of Naira in looted monies.   Also, the EFCC has earned the respect of International anti-Cybercrime law enforcement bodies.   For example, in a 2004 statement by the outgoing US Attorney General, John Ashcroft,   he can be quoted as saying the following about EFCC, “to strengthen our international cooperation, the FBI has assigned an agent to work exclusively with Nigeria 's Economic and Financial Crime Commission. In many of our most important operations, we have received invaluable cooperation from foreign officials” [2]


The key word here is “exclusively”.   It is rather ironical, that while International Cybercrime prevention bodies,  such as the FBI, are trying to assist the EFCC with becoming a more efficient Cybercrime fighting body  by forming exclusive relationships with the EFCC, the  Nigerian Government appears determined to undermine it’s own  efforts  by creating  the NCWG as a parallel duplicated organization. To this extent, International Law Enforcement bodies are now confused.  However, most still prefer to do trans-border collaborative Cybercrime Law enforcement work with the EFCC.  The NCWG is hence,  a distraction both locally and internationally.  Locally because it competes with the EFCC, Internationally because it sends confusing signals to International law enforcement bodies.


Since the inauguration of the NCWG,   well over eight months ago, the NCWG has very little to show.  To date, the most significant document produced by the NCWG is the Draft Nigerian Cybercrime Bill.  Incidentally, a large portion of the Nigerian Cybercrime Bill was copied from the Internet by Basil Udotia, the Coordinator of the Nigerian Cybercrime Working Group.   For those who do not know,  the  first version of the Draft Nigerian Cybercrime  Bill  had several sections directly  lifted  from  Professor Susan  Brenner’s  Model States Computer Crime Code, which  in turn  was  “drafted by students in Professor Brenner’s Cyber-crimes Seminar” [3].   In short, the only significant accomplishment of the NCWG, is a document which  may one day become the Nigerian Cybercrime Law, is for the most part,  composed of  materials lifted from the internet.   The Draft Nigerian Cybercrime Bill is not an original presentation.   Readers should also note  that since revealing the true source of the  Draft  Nigerian Cybercrime Bill in a previous article, Basil Udotia, Coordinator of the NCWG,  has promised to make further revisions to the  Draft Nigerian  Cybercrime Bill before submission to the Nigerian  Lawmakers.   However, copies of revised edition of the  Nigerian Cybercrime Bill  have now become “State Secret”.  The Coordinator of the Nigerian Cybercrime Working Group, no longer wishes to makes copies of the Draft Cybercrime Bill open for public review.  He is sitting on it!  


Nevertheless, in terms of performance comparisons, it clearly appears that the EFCC might be a  more capable organization in fighting Nigerian Cybercrime than the NCWG.  The EFCC has made several arrests, and now has several cases pending in Nigerian criminal courts.  On the other hand, the NCWG is yet to deliver minimal results.  The NCWG is yet to publish a National Cybercrime Policy, and does not appear to have any clear strategic direction.  


Rather than continue to invest monies in funding the NWCG, it might be more efficient to consolidate all activities of the NCWG with those of EFCC.   Such consolidation will not only create synergy in the procedural and administrative operational efficiencies, it will also result in the creation of a uniform Cybercrime policy, and remove financial and statutory resource duplication.  The NCWG ought to be dissolved and merged with the EFCC.   



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[1] See,

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[3] See,


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