Ribadu’s NSA Office to Collect Cybersecurity Levy? Group Reacts to Peter Obi’s Claim

  • The Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Transparency and Accountability has refuted claims that the Office of the NSA will collect the cybersecurity levy
  • The group said the levy will be managed by the CBN through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System and deposited into the National Cybersecurity Fund
  • The coalition said the levy is crucial for national security despite public resistance, urging Nigerians to support its implementation to combat cybercrimes

TheTalk.NG journalist Nurudeen Lawal has 8 years of experience covering Presidential Administrations

FCT, Abuja – The  Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Transparency and Accountability has dismissed the claim the Office of the National Security Adviser will serve as a revenue collection agency for the controversial cybersecurity levy.

The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, had in his reaction condemned the levy and questioned why the office of the NSA should be collecting it.

Cybersecurity levy/NSA OfficeThe Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Transparency and Accountability said the cybersecurity levy is crucial for national security.
Photo credit: CSO for Transparency and AccountabilitySource: UGC

“And when did the office of the NSA become a revenue collecting centre? And why should that purely national security office receive returns on a specific tax as stated in the new cybersecurity law?” Obi asked.

“Blatant lie”: Group distances NSA from cybersecurity levy

Addressing the development at a press conference in Abuja on Saturday, May 11, the Convener of the group, Comrade Igwe Ude-Umanta, said the office of the NSA is not the collector of the cybersecurity levy, The Nation also reported.

“The allegation that the Office of the National Security Adviser will serve as a Revenue Collection Agency in this matter is not only a blatant lie but also a clearly calculated political mischief and a deliberate campaign against a matter of important National Security,” Ude-Umanta said.

“For clarity, this levy is to be collected by the CBN through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) PLC and domiciled in an account known as the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF). The National Security Adviser has nothing to do with collecting the levy, keeping it or unilaterally dispensing it. This narrative which has gained undue popularity is negative and in bad faith.”

Ude-Umanta further explained that the role of the NSA in cybercrime prevention is primarily focused on coordination within the broader architecture.

According to him, other key players include the Attorney General of the Federation, responsible for enhancing the legal framework, as well as various law enforcement, security, and intelligence agencies tasked with building institutional capacity and organizing cybercrime-related training programs on national and international levels.

Cybersecurity levy is in Nigerians’ best interest – Ude-Umanta

The group further said the cybersecurity levy is in the best interest of all Nigerians. 

According to the group, painful as this may be, the levy is inevitable if the country must achieve the overall vision of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (Amendment) Act 2024.

Ude-Umanta called on Nigerians to embrace it and support the full implementation.

“Let us expressly admit that many Nigerians are stressed and stretched and are therefore justified when they express displeasure and resistance to any form of levy or tax. Taxes and levies are not usually convenient for citizens, and this is a fact. However, the issue under discourse here is far more than the narrow and straight-jacket perspectives that have been promoted in the media,” he said.

“Let us state clearly that we support this levy, in spite of the sacrifice we have to make. It is a necessary sacrifice for a larger National Security interest. If we fail to protect our Cyberspace from the menace of hackers and sundry internet criminals, the consequences will be dire. It must be vigorously resisted and avoided.”

Ude-Umanta emphasised the significant threat posed by cybercrimes to Nigeria, including various forms like fraudulent emails, identity theft, hacking, cyber harassment, spamming, and ATM spoofing.

He said these crimes not only endanger national security but also wreak havoc on the economy.

Cybersecurity levy: FG told to enlighten Nigerians

Speaking further, Ude-Umanta called on the federal government to engage the citizens on what the levy is all about. 

He said:

“The problem with this levy appears to be more about the misinformation, misconceptions, distortions and even outright blackmail, mischief and politicization of the issue. For instance, many Nigerians have been misinformed that all their electronic transfers will be levied, contrary to the exceptions that are listed in the CBN’s Circular.

“As we now know, Section 44 (2)(a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) (Amendment) Act 2024 imposes a levy of 0.5% or 0.005 of all electronic fund transfers from the accounts from where the transfers are emanating. Many exceptions have been listed thereto in order to avoid levying where it is unacceptable like, on salaries, loans, linked accounts etc.”

Ude-Umanta said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must educate the public about the levy and involve stakeholders to ensure smooth compliance.

According to him, there is a lack of accurate information in the public domain, leading to suspicion among Nigerians regarding the levy.

“Like we have suggested, government owes citizens a duty to explain this matter very well. It is a step in the right direction, but education is required,” he said.

Read more about cybersecurity levy:

Cybersecurity levy: Daniel Bwala speaks

Meanwhile, the former spokesperson of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, Daniel Bwala, has explained why Nigerians adjust to the policies of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

Bwala said Nigerians should adjust to Tinubu’s policies because ‘hardships won’t last forever.’

He stated this while reacting to the introduction of the cybersecurity levy on bank transactions in the country.

Source: TheTalk.NG


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