NiRA dey chop our Naira

My friends know that I cannot walk into a bookshop and still retain the same blood pressure, energy or heart rate as I had before I walked in. Books excite me in an interesting way. I do not even have to read them – just the prospect of thousands of words fellowshipping together on processed wood gets me pumped. In fact, I also love empty notebooks – just give me the processed wood and I’ll be fine. You can propose marriage to me with only a carton of hardcover artsy-looking empty notebooks and I would be speechless at your thoughtfulness.  *looks in the mirror and sighs at self-deprecation*

However, books are only but one of the things that excite me. Another thing that excites me is ‘owning domain names’. I have a superpower for having the brightest ideas and giving them badass names – I MEAN, you’re currently on HTML and we’re not talking programming language here! *kisses self in the mirror*.

Anyway, because I’m an ideas junkie in the 21st century, the first thing that comes to mind when I have a bright idea is not to write it down like a strategic thinker. No. I, instead, convince myself that this is THE idea – THE ONE-  and then proceed to secure the domain name for my soon-to-be giant tech company. (As an aside, I feel like adding a bit of unbalance in the world right now so here we go: |giant| |DWARF| – this is so disturbing haha).

As you can tell, I’m currently having a bit of ADHD so please bear with me. What I have, however, tried to convey in the last three paragraphs is that owning domain names, like seeing books, excites me a lot. Got it? Good.

Now, in the next couple of paragraphs, I’ll try to explain why I believe the Nigerian Internet Registration Association does not rate my excitement and how I am convinced that this somewhat infringes on the human rights of, we the people.

Follow me.

Now, NiRA (which is a beautiful name, by the way), is the neutral self-regulatory body which administers Nigeria’s country code Top Level Domain (the code popularly referred to as .ng)

A domain name is pretty much the name of your website + a TLD (top level domain). So for instance, ‘adeboro.com’ is a domain name. Same as adeboro.ng, adeboro.am, adeboro.co.uk, adeboro.io and so on. ICANN lists all the 1536 TLDs here. Speaking of ICANN, it’s short for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and it’s responsible for managing and coordinating the Domain Name System to ensure that every web address is unique; it is not in charge of registering domain names as it has accredited registrars for that.

Now, our dear NiRA determines the price for registering a domain using the .ng TLD and for some reason, NiRA has chosen that it’s a big price to pay.

Imagine I had an idea to build an online Forum for Parents who are tired of saying the same things over and again to their child(ren). The parents on my Online Forum would simply write open letters to their Children addressing them in public and begging members of the Nigerian online community to bear them witnesses before man and God that they did their best.

Super amazing idea, right?

Now, I really want my Forum to be popular in Nigeria so I decide that I’ll use the .ng TLD because I know that search priority would be given to me. I go online to register my domain name and here’s my invoice:


I might have exaggerated in the beginning when I said that NiRA’s pricing of domain names (which I’ll maintain is RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE) is somewhat an infringement of human right. I say I might have exaggerated because I know that no one is forced to use the .ng TLD or punished for not using same. Therefore, if you cannot afford to register a .NG domain, you may go ahead and choose from a bunch of other options. Or so it seems.  

It is, however, my belief and in fact, my understanding that all Internet Policies should be formulated in such a way as to drive and encourage the inclusion and participation of the average man. And whilst I know that affordability is relative, N9,500 seems a lot like a gatekeeping mechanism to me. Whether or not NiRA is purposely discouraging the use of our country code TLD, is a question I cannot answer. But what I can say is that its Pricing Policy is more favorable to a class of people than it is to all Nigerians and that can be argued to be a passive indirect tampering with the right of Nigerians to participate in all available opportunities which the internet presents – which includes using their country code TLD and not being strong-armed in a NiRA passive-aggressive manner to have to make other choices. NiRA, why can’t the average Nigerian internet user comfortably purchase a .ng domain name?

This is even worse when you think about the fact that restricting the options of people in the use of internet features, options or infrastructure available to them is as good as messing with other rights like the freedom of expression, of association, of assembly….

I mean, I know I sound like I’m over-reaching but I’m not. I actually believe this. Infringement and restrictions on human rights do not only manifest in violent actions or reactions but also in quiet, indirect, innocent, passive, come-and-beat-me’s.

NiRA needs to fix up and reduce the pricing of the .NG domain suffix so that Nigerians who want to use it, can afford it. And do not say, ‘Well, you have the luxury of other generic TLDs. Stop whining.’  I ask: of what use is a right or privilege if it is given to those who cannot take advantage of it? Again, I ask (for the purpose of making an example): does a man. who cannot afford any shoes, really have the freedom of movement if he is placed in a city tarred with broken glass?

Once again, I am aware that affordability is relative. But look, we live in a country where up to 80% of us live on less than $2 per day.

Think about it.

I’d like to know what your thoughts are on this matter. And I’d appreciate it if you share with others! Thank you. 🙂

What if they ‘off’ the Internet?

On Saturday the 16th of February 2019, two days after lovers have loved, cakers have baked, chocolaters have cashed out and florists have flourished, Nigerians are going to the polls to elect the two top people who are going to lead this nation for the next four years. And if there has ever been a time when we need to make the right decision; it’s now. This is evidenced in the amount of tension surrounding this particular election – there’s also a lot of controversy and drama.

I literally wake up everyday to some interesting politically inspired news and while I try not to allow any of them affect my mental health, one that has definitely utterly completely caught my attention is the rumors of an internet shutdown in this period.

So in case you don’t know, in my real life 9-5 salaried existence, I work on issues of internet and technology policy (I know right? So interesting!). And whilst I manage projects in Anglophone West Africa (Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone), I am definitely interested in the entirety of Africa.

This year alone (and please note that this article is being written on the 2nd day of February), there have been at least five internet shutdowns in Africa.

Quoting the African Commission on Human and People’s Right:

In Chad, users started experiencing a shutdown of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp on 28 March 2018. Over 300 days later, the government of Chad has still not restored access to the platforms.

In Sudan, the Government shut down social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on 21 December 2018, amid protests over economic hardships in the country which in due course escalated into demands for the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir. Key telecom companies including MTN Sudan, Zain Sudan, Kanartel and Sudatel were blocked from providing internet services.

In the DRC, the Government blocked the internet and social media on 31 December 2018, following the conduct of polls on 30 December. These services were not restored fully until 20 January 2019 when the Constitutional Court confirmed the win of Felix Tshisekedi as president elect.

In Gabon, the government ordered internet shut down on 07 January 2019, following a military coup attempt.  Connectivity was restored on 08 January 2019.

In Zimbabwe, on 15 January 2019, following a directive by the State Security Minister, internet service providers shut down the internet. While the ban was lifted on Wednesday 16 January 2019, leaving only a ban on social media platforms, another full internet shutdown was ordered on Thursday 17 January 2019, effectively leaving a majority of Zimbabweans without access to the internet.

So when, one day I began to see rumors of an intention of the government to shutdown the internet during the election, I did not calm down. I worried because I do not think of it as an action beyond our government. Remember my article on African Governments copying each other?

And you know, even if no other African country had set a precedent, I would still have taken the rumors seriously because of the dictatorial-authoritarian vibes we’ve been getting from the federal government recently.

Anyway, to see the rumors, check here, here, here but don’t click here.

Today, the 2nd of February,  we however woke up to news by the Office of the National Security Adviser clearly stating that “…the internet and associated communication infrastructure are major components of the Critical National Information Infrastructure, which ONSA is mandated to ensure its security.” and that “…shutting down the internet is akin to shutting down national development and security”

Yo! When I read that last line, I was almost shouting ‘Hallelujah!’. Like, that is a preaching! Don’t you know! Say it for the people at the back! Hmmm! Glory hallelujah! Flesh and blood revealeth not these things unto ye!

SHUTTING DOWN THE INTERNET IS AKIN TO SHUTTING DOWN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SECURITY!

No truer words, people. And apart from that, shutting down the internet and other means of communication is a gross infringement of the people’s right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to learn, freedom to create knowledge and indirectly every other human right you can think of. Because the internet has somewhat  become the lifeblood of the society.

But our government has assured us that they wouldn’t do that to us. The Office of the National Security Adviser has announced that  it is “committed to protecting the rights of the public to access Information and Communication Technology facilities” (and I love that they recognize it as right; an entitlement; a liberty of the people).

However, while this cute and bold and all that, I don’t want to fluff my pillows and lounge because ONSA boo said we can. I’d like prepare for a alternative eventuality and I’d also like to share my prep kit with you:

  1. Circumvention, Circumvention, Circumvention: Basically, in the event of a shutdown, you would want to be able to bypass this censorship or blockage by using some tools known as circumvention tools. Here is a list of circumvention tools you may use. Psiphon, for instance,  which provides you with uncensored access to Internet content. It will automatically learn about new access points to maximize your chances of bypassing censorship. And you can get it on your iOS, Android stores and as a software on your computer. No better time to download it than now.  Also, check out Lantern which is also super cool and largely free.
  1. Stay private: Here, the Tor browser comes to mind. It’s a browser that helps you remain anonymous while surfing the internet – in fact, you can (and should) use it even without an internet shutdown especially if your work is security-sensitive. Tor,  instead of making a direct connection, will connect you through a series of virtual tunnels so that your privacy is hidden. It also serves as a circumvention tool because it allows you reach otherwise blocked destinations or content. So download it as well.  You may also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which help you securely and anonymously connect to the internet.  
  1. Stay Safe: Things can get really weird during an internet shutdown ordered by the government. Because an Order to shut down the internet is in itself a military-esque action by the government, it’s reasonable to expect some surveillance and consequences for those who still go ahead to use the internet or those who are caught. Hence, employ basic digital security tips and be careful of site you use with your circumvention tools. Understand also that digital security also involves physical measures. And in case, you’re like, “I’m super clueless. Help me!” Well, I’m your plug to this very simple, very comprehensive website/booklet/guide/resource published by our very own CcHub. It’s interesting to read and very relatable. Please check it out.

Also, check out this free helpline for digital security assistance.

I wish us all a safe month! A safer election! And an even safer country!

Love.

Taxing Innovation: Wehdone Africa

First of all, I feel like I would be a prodigal African if I don’t clearly state that Africa is not a country. So guys, Africa is not a country. It’s a continent in which 54 recognised states exist and it accounts for 16% of this world’s population. It’s also the world’s second largest and second most populous continent. Thanks.

 

Sometimes, however, I can understand when some people (save from colonisers and those who are just being ridiculous), regard the continent as a country.  This is because there’s a lot of copying going round this continent that’s making us look alike. And you know, if it was good copying, I wouldn’t mind. But it just seems like it’s cooler for some African nations to copy weird and unreasonable things from their brother/sister nations. It bothers me. What with self-sabotaging, non-visionary moves against the future of the nation, unbelievable corrupt practices, old and aged mortals retaining power for as long as their ragged breath will allow – I mean, Equatorial Guinea has the world’s longest serving president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, followed by Cameroun, the republic of Congo, and you have Uganda and Chad on that list as well.  

 

Anyway, my point is that  there’s always something weird to copy and this article is focusing on the latest trend skipping through Africa – the taxation of OTT services and social media.

 

I will assume you know what social media is, but OTT services can sound strange so I’ll explain. OTT simply stands for Over-the-Top, and so OTT services are services provided via the internet, and over traditional networks. It therefore means that consumers (you) can take advantage of these services without having to subscribe to traditional cable or satellite. We have tons of examples like the calls you make via skype or WhatsApp; the texts you can now send via Facebook; the movies you can now watch on NetFlix, and so on.

 

Yes, surely, if you were running an MTN or an AIT, you’d be scared a little bit. You’d ask yourself, ‘Gosh! Who are these technology people coming to disrupt my work and take all my money?’ but then, because you’re reasonable, what will you do? You’ll purpose in your heart to compete and  leverage on this new tech. You’ll understand that this is business – disrupt or die. You’ll understand that the OTT people are only building on your existing framework and so it means you’re not  that useless. You might even venture into OTT services as well in order to meet your consumers on both ends. You can invest or partner with your OTT competitors maybe? If you’re an ISP, you may strengthen your broadband and focus your energy on providing the best internet services (80/20 principle, shebi?). You can offer consultation to these tech people on the “psychology of the market” (or any other fake deep marketer thing). My point is that, what you and your government don’t do is what these African countries have done:

 

a. Uganda: Uganda was our leader-man. The government of Uganda formulated a policy which took off from the 1st of July 2018. The policy provides that subscribers in Uganda will have to pay an excise duty Ugx 200 ($0.053, N20) per day, to use OTT services. The President had earlier mentioned that he hated how Ugandans use social media for gossiping. He noted that he will not tax internet use for education or research, but he will tax the use of the internet for gossiping – and in the width of his knowledge, only gossiping is done on social media. Hence, while you might not need to pay a tax to browse Wikipedia, you will need to pay one in order to open your twitter. This is all levels of funny, but I’m not even laughing. I spoke to some Ugandan colleagues about how this works and here’s it: You click on your twitter icon to do some gossiping (per usual), but you can’t gain access into the application. A pop-up will show up telling you to pay your tax, and until you pay it, you cannot access social media in Uganda. According to President Museveni, “… we need resources to cope with the consequences of their lugambo (gossip),” Over 50 apps are affected including, Instagram, Telegram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Skype. Some organizations have however sued the Ugandan government  in its constitutional court.

 

b. Zambia: A month after this, Zambia followed by taxing its residents a 30 Ngwe ($0.1, N36) levy on internet calls over platforms like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber. According to their president, Edger Lungu, the new tariff was designed to protect the telecommunications industry and jobs in such companies, following the ‘rise in the use of internet phone calls at the expense of traditional phone calls.’ (awww. So kind and thoughtful! *sniffs* ugh!)

 

c. Benin Republic: So Benin Republic, in August, too was like, ‘Wait! You guys are having all this fun without me. I hate you!’ And so in late August, it decided to tax its citizens for accessing the internet and social media. It proposed a 5CFA Francs ($0.008, N3.17) per megabyte tax on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.  But the citizens of Benin Republic are sharp and they were like, ‘Yo! We’re not even mad, but you are!’ And so they started this campaign on the same social media (touché) with the hashtag, #TaxePaMesMo (meaning, “Don’t tax my megabytes”). They are cool.  The tax went into force mid-september, but three days after, it was repealed by the government. Yay for the people!

 

d. Perhaps, Nigeria?: Well we aren’t there yet, but it looks like its streaming (pun intended) down to us. I have been seeing some strategic news articles, and press statements by Telcos and Telco representatives in Nigeria, nagging about how OTT services are killing them – basically pity stories. And this article says that we are witnessing the “umpteenth time” telecommunications operators in Nigeria have registered their displeasure with the activities of OTT services in the industry.

I mean, The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said, “…social network operators do not invest in infrastructure, but ride on the infrastructure of MNOs to provide free services to customers at the detriment of MNOs who have invested so much to build their infrastructure and are still investing in the maintenance of such telecoms infrastructure.

 

I have also seen a similar kind of article in the Zimbabwe press on how OTT services are cutting mobile revenue. So maybe we should be expecting news from these quarters soonest?

 

Are telcos really making a loss as a result of OTT? Uh, yes. But is this the best way to tackle this. Uh, no. We should embrace innovation and the development of technology, and not stifle it. Don’t make consumers pay for the shift in business models. It’s ironic, really, because these services are evolving to cater to the consumers and yet the government is bent on them suffering for it. These policies are widening the digital divide in Africa which is already too wide for the 21st century.


But what I do know?

Oh. And just as side gist. Did you hear what also happened in Tanzania? In March 2018, their government ordered that all Bloggers, Vloggers, Podcasters, Online radio personalities and other online forum owners must register with the government and pay about $900 (N327,150.00) for a licence and are also obligated to pay some annual fees.  My friend, Sarah, suggested that everyone affected by this should also charge fees for readership – since everybody wants to be mad.

 

Whew! Mama Africa!

 

Piggy, Bank?

I like to think of myself as one of the early adopters of PiggyBank. I remember two distinct thoughts in my head the very first time I read about it. The first was ‘this is pretty super awesome’ and the second was, ‘Wait. what is the legal/regulatory position of such a solution?

 

The second thought was largely informed by my oddly vivid recollection of a section in the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) which says, ‘No person other than a bank or any other person authorised to take deposits shall  issue any advertisement inviting the public to deposit money with it.’

 

I ‘penned’ this thought in my ‘thought spreadsheet’ and moved on. And by ‘moved on’, I mean, I opened an account with PiggyBank and instantly started saving with and evangelising it. But not for once, did this second question leave my mind. It kept gnawing at me and requesting for an answer.

 

Recently, I revisited my thought spreadsheet and picked this one up. First thing was to check the BOFIA for real this time.

Here’s the gist of relevant sections in the BOFIA: no one is allowed to carry on banking business unless with a license (issued by the CBN). And to clarify, the Act defines banking business as, “the business of receiving deposits or current account, savings  account or other similar account…”

 

(At this point, I’ll like to pause and say that this has nothing to do with PiggyBank as a brand; but with the set of solutions it offers – “microsavings”. And bearing that in mind, it also means that a solution like CowryWise is fully envisaged under this article as well, as it equally provides same solutions as PiggyBank. I’ll try to alternate between both companies, but I may use PiggyBank more often because I’m more familiar with it).

 

Now, the provisions of the BOFIA made me think (perhaps, too much) about the word ‘deposit’ as it is  a specifically significant feature of PiggyBank and CowryWise; perhaps the only feature that allows us connect these solutions to the banking business. I didn’t have to go too far to understand what the lawmakers meant by “deposit” though because the Interpretation section of the BOFIA defines it to mean money lodged with any person whether or not for the purpose of any  interest or dividend and whether or not such money is repayable upon demand upon a  given period of notice or upon a fixed date” (emphasis, mine)

 

From the foregoing, I made my conclusion that the company may be said to be functioning as a bank/conducting banking business, and hence would need a license, so naturally, I waltzed to the CBN site to see whether it has a list of its licensees. It does, but I wrongly focused on this list of financial institutions in Nigeria looking for a ‘PiggyTech Global Limited RC: 1405222’ because I had stalked them reach CAC public search. But there was nothing there. So I went to the PiggyBank site thinking ‘surely, there must be some form of documentation on this- terms of use, privacy policy… something must give.’ And I finally found the answer! Yippeee!

 

My answer was neatly wrapped in their FAQ, and it basically explained that since inception in 2016,  they have shared banking licenses with 2 Micro Finance Banks, but recently, they acquired (like bosses) a Microfinance bank and its license. So that makes a lot of sense actually. PiggyBank will simply operate as a ‘product’ of the licensed bank and would not be in anyway breaking our banking laws. Check out (not-so-) deets on the acquired bank; Gold Microfinance Bank ltd

 

While I was pretty relieved at their compliance and legal adeptness, I wished it were way simpler for them. I think it isn’t a bad time it’s a good time for financial regulation in Nigeria to actively and proactively consider FinTech startups and their special-ness.

 

So, let’s say a FinTech startup (say, some innovative local money transfer solution for indigents) requires a banking license to carry out its duties. Do you know that the smallest paid up capital required is about N20Million(for a Unit MFB).

 

LOL. That is deep, plis. And also not very encouraging for  innovation.

 

PiggyBank is doing well from the look of things.  I mean, it’s promoting the personal savings culture of Nigerians, it raised a seed funding of $1.1Million recently, and you can actually follow its organic growth overtime. If that’s not helping the economy, I don’t know what is. But it couldn’t possibly start up on its own because… N20Million.  

 

God knows…that I know… that regulation is super important especially for things involving other people’s money. I mean, the financial sector is one of the heavily regulated – and for good reasons. But it’s also one of those sectors that would do so so so so much better with modern technology (and more hands?). Hence, I’ll encourage the Nigerian government to find a way to incentivize FinTech startups; encourage innovation and do away with over-regulation for them. For instance, you don’t want to demand the MOST; just enough to ensure that customers are protected. The legislature should also pitch in and make their contribution, but I believe that the CBN would bear a large part of the burden to develop favorable and forward-thinking regulations in this fast-paced times (P.S. Take a dizzy pill, it’s only going to get faster).

 

Anyway, so that y’all won’t say I didn’t do anything but criticize, here are some wise quotable quotes from ME that every government regulator may print and paste in their offices as a sort of encouragement:

“To regulate is good. To stifle is bad.”  – Adeboro(2018)

 

“Innovation is the source of our running ocean. Plug it and we all, die, float and stink” – Adeboro (2018)

 

“Again, Innovation is the source of our running ocean. Let’s make waves while the sun shines” – Adeboro (2018)

 

“Confuse not technology with electricity. You’d be shocked that you may actually embrace it” – Adeboro (2018)

 

                        ~yooooo I’m so wise and witty and full of puns. thanks~

Anyway. If after all my sweat and blood, the government is like ‘LOL. No thanks, child. We’re set on our archaical perspectives’, well, hello…venture capitalists and investors and funders, I have something to tell y’all! I promise, just two minutes of your read….

The Interesting Case of Femi Fani-Kayode and His Beloved Country

…a.k.a FRN v. Femi Fani-Kayode 2010 14 NWLR (pt. 1214)…

 

In 2008, the Retail DNA test kit was pushed into the market. It even won TIME’s Invention of the Year. In that same year, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, entirely funded by the Norwegian government,  was finally completed to store/ preserve different native seed samples from across the world as a sort of insurance against seed loss.

While all these awesomeness was going on in the world, that same year in December, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested and took Mr. Femi Fani Kayode to the High Court. His offence? Money Laundering, but in like 47 different forms. When they read the charge to him, his reply was that he wasn’t guilty.

While this isn’t entirely important to this article, who is Femi Fani-Kayode and why on earth could he possibly have had a 47 count charge on him for Money Laundering???

Well FFK as he is known, is wikipedia-ed to be a Nigerian politician, an essayist, a poet and a lawyer. Let’s focus on the part we all know: Nigerian politician. He served as the Special Assistant to the Nigerian president from 2003 -2006 after which he was appointed as Minister of Culture and Tourism for a bit. Finally, from 2006 – 2007 he was the Minister of Aviation. So he was in government pretty much.

Anyway, flowing from this plea of not guilty, there had to be a proper trial. This trial would witness both sides (especially the prosecution) present evidence. The prosecution was also to convince the court beyond reasonable doubt that FFK really did what he was accused of.

In discharging this burden and in the course of trial, the prosecution invited its second witness, an officer of the First Inland Bank Plc to give evidence as to the statement of FFK’s account. And in the course of this evidence, they sought to tender a certified true copy of a computer generated statement of FFK’s account.

‘Objection, my Lord!’ / ‘My Lord, I’ll have to object to that!’ / ‘Haha! My Lord, I’m sure the prosecution is pulling the legs of this honorable court by seeking to tender that piece of paper. Learned counsel should know better’.

These are my imaginations of FFK’s lawyer’s reaction to this application by the prosecution.  The lawyer’s argument was basically this: that a computer generated statement of account is inadmissible.

Are you thinking: Wait what? How? Did FFK’s lawyer expect the prosecution to produce a handwritten statement of account?

Well, yes, maybe, kinda. And so did the judge, because after the argument before him, he said,

‘Based on all the above analysis, the objection… is hereby sustained. The computer print-out of the statement of account sought to be tendered is hereby rejected as being inadmissible and the said document should be marked tendered and rejected’

The judgement, though sounds weird, was only a product of the Evidence Act we had then.  Before the National Assembly envisaged that there would ever be anything useful stored in a computer system, there was no provision for same in the Evidence Act and so there wasn’t a clear category for what evidence gotten from a computer could be called. Primary? Secondary? If secondary then where’s the primary? If primary, how? why? 

Furthermore, the Evidence Act contained and contains rules guiding the admissibility of contents of Bankers’ books (e.g. statements of accounts). For these ones, secondary evidence is allowed – e.g. the Certified True Copy of the records. Hence, the contention of  FFK’s lawyer and the judge was basically that the computer generated record was not explicitly stated as a proper form of Banker’s book. Upon appeal, however, the Court of Appeal said that ‘The word ‘include’ used in the definition presupposes that there are other means of keeping records of the bank which have not being disclosed in the definition. [The responsibility of investigating the truth] cannot be abandoned simply because the enabling law has failed to name the medium upon which those facts are stated…’. The court further said that  ‘Computer printout are copies of bank record and [although they are not original, they have, in this case, been certified as required in the Evidence Act by an officer of the bank giving evidence].

 

Me reading the judgment:

That was a close one! The Court of Appeal deserves gbosas for that forward-thinking interpretation.

Anyway, the National Assembly has now (in 2011) enacted a new Evidence Act to expressly accommodate computer generated evidence (See Section 84). Although I have my reservations about it (which I NEVER EVER fail to express in presentations or common discussion), I still understand that it is, at least, a step forward.

But I’ll just quickly say (because I NEVER EVER fail to point this out): the provision is vague and too bogus abeg. I mean, computer use in Nigeria is less foreign than it’s a part of our culture. I think it’s ridiculous for the law to say that the source computer has to have regularly been receiving similar kind of information as that which is sought to be presented. I mean, what if the evidence I seek to produce from the computer was first of its kind on that computer? Does that make my evidence inadmissible? There’s also a funny requirement for a certificate that not many people, even lawyers and judges quite understand.

So yes, now our laws are embracing the reality of technology, but are they embracing them so tight as to stifle their development?

Selah!

 

_______

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