Cyber Security Levy: Chairman House C’tee on ICT, Cyber Security Breaks Silence, Gives Clarification 

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The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cyber Security, Hon. Adedeji Dhikrullahi Olajide, has clarified the provisions of the Cyber Security Act, assuring Nigerians of his commitment to their well-being.

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Tolu Mustapha to Hon. Adedeji Dhikrullahi Olajide, the concerns raised by various stakeholders, including citizens, government agencies, and private organizations are being addressed with the Thursday’s suspension of the implementation of the cyber security Levy.

According to him, the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (amendment), signed into law in 2024, aims to protect Nigeria’s digital space from cyber threats, promote cybersecurity awareness, and establish a framework for incident response.

It will be recalled that a circular from the apex bank on Monday disclosed that the implementation of the levy would start in two weeks time.

The circular directed to all commercial, merchant, non-interest and payment service banks, among others, revealed that it was a follow-up on an earlier letter dated June 25, 2018 (Ref: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/05/008) and October 5, 2018 (Ref: BSD/DIR/GEN/LAB/11/023), respectively, on compliance with the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015.

Hon. Adedeji Olajide, who chairs the committee overseeing the implementation of the Act, emphasized that the legislation is designed to strike a balance between national security, citizens’ rights, and economic growth.

“Our goal is to create a safe and secure digital environment for all Nigerians, while also respecting their privacy and freedom of expression,” he said.

Hon. Olajide, who acknowledged that some provisions of the Act has raised concerns among citizens, who fear potential infringement on their rights and freedoms while addressing the issue of cybersecurity levy, which has sparked debate among stakeholders explained that the levy is intended to fund cybersecurity initiatives, including awareness campaigns, capacity building, and incident response.

“The levy will be a small percentage of telecom operators’ revenue, and will not burden citizens or businesses,” he assured.

He further dis-abused concerns about potential abuse of power, and highlighted the establishment of an independent Cybersecurity Council, which will oversee the implementation of the Act.

“The Council will comprise representatives from various stakeholders, including government agencies, private sector organizations, and civil society groups, to ensure transparency and accountability,” he said.

Olajide also stated further that the Act makes provision for the safeguard and protection of citizens’ privacy.

“Any surveillance activities will be subject to judicial oversight and must meet strict criteria to ensure that individual rights are not violated,” he said.

The committee chairman also acknowledged concerns about the potential impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are the backbone of Nigeria’s economy.

“We are working with relevant agencies to ensure that SMEs are not disproportionately affected by the levy or other provisions of the Act,” he assured and reaffirmed his commitment to the well-being of Nigerians, “As Chairman of this committee, I am dedicated to ensuring that the Cybersecurity Act serves the interests of all citizens, while also supporting economic growth and national security.”