Certainly, most news conscious Nigerians must have remained attached, one way or the other, to their favourite sources of information ever since the news broke of how Cynthia Osokogu was murdered.
Murders occur everyday all over the world, but a bewildering dimension to the unfortunate incident is that the merchants of death chose to pick their victims from the social media.
In recent times, with the explosion of GSM telephony services in Nigeria, which saw many networks upgrading their services, social media like Facebook and Twitter overnight became commonplace, and it’s now common to hear refrains like “I’ll link you up on Facebook,” or “That tweet from you was natty,”etc.
Now that handheld devices, especially smart phones are ubiquitous, it is now commonplace to see people, especially youths permanently glued to their devices, in buses, eateries, in aircraft — anyplace — chatting or browsing from one site to the other.
With billions of people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others, trillions of words and billions of images are flying through cyberspace every second as multitudes communicate, chatting, sending SMS and MMS. Cyberspace now is the fifth common domain after land, sea, air, and outer space.
There are all kinds of laws in various countries of the world with the sole purpose of regulating how we all interact with each other on land. Also, there are admiralty laws governing conduct on the seas, and uses of the sea. Same thing for the air, as military and civil aviation practitioners will testify. Countries with the necessary technological wherewithal that have generated interest in outer space are also active in this domain.
What makes cyberspace unique is that it is an arena where there is no restriction on access to anybody, who has a computer or handheld device.
Further, all nationalities and languages spoken worldwide are active in cyberspace as well, with people saying or doing just what they like. Even things people cannot say to each other physically are communicated through the ethereal world of telecommunications. It is also a domain where ‘respect for others’ does not exist.
In short, cyberspace is a no man’s land where hackers, scammers, identity thieves, abusers and a whole new breed of anti-social elements operate, and whose activities are giving governments worldwide monstrous headaches. Serious governments have enacted laws on cyber crime, while Police forces and departments have long ago set up cyber squads.
Now, in Nigeria, murderers have started using cyberspace to snare their victims. Crime is unlawful conduct with a stipulated penalty. When such crime is committed with devices that access cyberspace, it becomes cyber crime. Where is our anti-cyber crime law?