In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed a concerning increase in cyberstalking cases, posing serious threats to individuals’ safety, privacy and mental well-being. Cyberstalking, defined as the use of electronic communication to harass, intimidate or threaten someone, has become more prevalent with the widespread use of digital technologies. To combat this menace, Nigeria enacted the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act of 2015, which provides a robust legal framework to address cybercrimes, including cyberstalking.

The Cybercrimes Act provides an effective, unified and comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes in Nigeria. It aims not only to safeguard critical national information infrastructure but also to promote cybersecurity and protect computer systems, networks, electronic communications, data, intellectual property, and privacy rights.

Under Section 24 of the Act, cyberstalking is explicitly addressed, outlining various offences and corresponding punishments. Subsection 1 targets individuals who knowingly or intentionally send offensive or false messages via computer systems or networks. Offenders face a fine of up to N7,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a maximum of three years, or both. Section 2 further explores the offence, penalizing those who transmit communications to bully, threaten, or harass others. Depending on the severity of the threat, the punishment ranges from imprisonment for ten years and/or a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00 to imprisonment for five years and/or a minimum fine of N15,000,000.00.

Furthermore, the Act empowers courts to issue orders aimed at protecting victims from further harassment or threats. Subsection 3 allows courts to impose restrictions on offenders, prohibiting them from engaging in behaviors that cause fear or harassment. Violating such orders incurs additional penalties, including fines of up to N10,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a maximum of three years. Importantly, these protective orders can be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case and may remain in effect for a specified period or until further review by the court. Victims or other affected parties can also request modifications or cancellations of these orders, ensuring flexibility in addressing evolving threats.

Moreover, the Act empowers courts to issue interim orders for the immediate protection of victims, pending the resolution of legal proceedings. This provision enables swift action to safeguard individuals at risk of cyberstalking, demonstrating the Act’s commitment to prioritizing victim safety and well-being.

The Cybercrimes Act of 2015 is a very important tool in combating cyberstalking and ensuring accountability for offenders in Nigeria. By providing a clear legal framework, delineating offences and prescribing appropriate punishments, the Act serves to deter cybercriminal activities and protect the rights and safety of all citizens in the digital age. However, effective implementation, coupled with public awareness and education, is crucial to address the growing threat of cyberstalking and promote a safer online environment for all.


About Our Founder
Fr. Godswill Agbagwa

Godswill Uchenna Agbagwa is a Catholic priest and a social ethicist. He was born in Umueze Amaimo, a small village in Ikeduru LGA of Imo State to Mr. Charlyman Chikamnele Agbagwa and Mrs. Evelyn Chinyere Agbagwa of blessed memory.