The recent social media bullying of Super Eagles midfielder Alex Iwobi following Nigeria’s defeat by the Ivory Coast in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) calls for strict enforcement of the Cybercrime Act 2015.
Development Diaries reports that shortly after the final, the social media space was abuzz with taunts targeted at some members of the Nigerian team, especially at Iwobi.
As a result of the bullying, the former Arsenal star deleted all but one of his Instagram posts.
Cyberbullying is common among Nigerians, especially young people, and it appears the police are underenforcing the law criminalising the act.
Section 15, subsection two of the law provides that anyone who bullies or harasses anyone on the internet is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment and a fine.
‘Any person who, through information and communication technologies, by means of a public electronic communications network, transmits or causes the transmission of any communication with intent to bully, threaten or harass another person, where such communication places another person in fear of death, violence or personal bodily injury or to another person; ‘is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years or a fine of not less than N25,000,000 or to both fine and imprisonment’, it reads.
We condemn this trend of cyberbullying acts with unsavoury comments targeted at some players or members of the Super Eagles. The acts do not speak well of us as a people, especially sportsmanship.
Nigeria must take steps towards enforcing the law against cyberbullying to reduce instances of online bullying, which can lead to harm or mental health crises.
Development Diaries condemns all acts of cyberbullying and calls on the cybercrime unit of the Nigerian police and INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Nigeria to bring to book violators of the act.
Photo source: Iwobi