Post Image
  Global interaction has Improved tremendously as a result of the force of globalization channelled by the internet. This has made the world a global village with the seamless and free exchange of information, ideas, skills, culture, and technology. Even with its undeniable advantages,  it also raises several concerns and disadvantages.
Read more about Tech
Some internet users prey on other users and cause harm which affects not only personal interests but also commercial concerns. These attacks can be in form of body shaming, insults, stalking, leaking of sexually related content, spreading of malicious lies to taint a person’s image, bullying, repetitive offensive comments or photos on social media, and or creating fake online profiles to belittle another person. It can also involve death threats and “doxing”. This is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is simply defined as the use of information and communication technology, for the harassment or mistreatment of another. It is carried out against a victim who may be distant; although in some situations the bullies may be close to the victim. Even though cyberbullying does not necessarily involve physical contact between an offender and a victim, the effects should not be downplayed. It can cause psychological and emotional harm to the victim. Cyberbullying and harassment have been associated with teen depression, low self-esteem, and in extreme cases suicide. It is widespread especially in social media platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook e.t.c. Cyberbullying is particularly noticeable amongst young people because they are the highest demography that uses social media.  As technology evolves, it creates more opportunities for cyber-bullying. The Nigerian narrative on cyberbullying can be examined in light of the cybercrimes Act or the 2015 cybercrime Act enacted by the National Assembly. The purpose of the cyber crimes Act is to provide an effective and collective legal, regulatory and institutional framework for prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution, and punishment of cybercrimes in Nigeria. It criminalized two forms of cyberbullying: 1. Cyberstalking and 2. Racist and xenophobic offences.


This is a course of conduct directed to a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear and the act recognizes five different forms of cyberstalking which include
  • Knowingly sending grossly offensive, x-rated, indecent, menacing, or obscene messages.
  • Sending a false message knowingly to cause harm.
  • Knowingly disseminating any communication to bully threaten, harass another, causing fear of deadly violence or bodily harm.
  • knowingly transmitting a message with a threat to kidnap, or any ransom for the release of any kidnapped person.
  • knowingly transmitting any threat to harm the property or reputation of a person.
The penalty for cyber-stalking differs depending on the form committed. The Act provides that a defendant who does anything, which he is restricted from doing, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N10, 000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both which is fine and imprisonment. The court may also make an interim order for the protection of victims from further exposure to the likely offences.
Sign up to the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter

Racist and Xenophobic Act

The Cybercrime Act of Nigeria also prohibits cyberbullying of racist and xenophobic nature. Racist or xenophobic material is defined in the Cybercrimes Act as any written or printed material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which supports, promotes, Or incites hatred, discrimination, or violence against any individual, group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as a religion. Section 26 of the Act criminalizes the intentional distribution or making available of racist or xenophobic material to the public through a computer system. The provision also includes people who threaten or insult other people publicly through a computer system or network, for the reason that they belong to a race, colour, descent, religion, national or ethnic region. The provisions of the Cybercrimes Act only extend to cyber-stalking and racist and xenophobic remarks which are only two forms of cyber-bullying. The wording of the Cybercrimes Act on these two provisions is not sufficient to cover the various forms of cyber-bullying existing in the world today. The law only prohibits information that is grossly offensive, pornographic, indecent, obscene, false or places another in fear of death, violence, or bodily harm to another person. These offences are not broad enough to cover other forms of cyber-bullying such as mockery or trolling which need not be false, offensive, or incite fear of death or violence. The problem with many Nigerian laws, the Cybercrimes Act, and its provision against cyberstalking is that they are poorly implemented as there have been no successful recorded convictions under these sections. There is no special way to curb cyberbullying but some social media platforms have done well by providing outlets through which victims can report cyberbullying. An example is Instagram a social media platform. Instagram offers a few ways to deal with cyberbullying as it does not tolerate cyberbullying or harassment. Where an Instagram user is being bullied, the first option for reporting such abuse is to fill out a form on the website and report the said account. It is also important to document and report the behaviour so it can be addressed. A victim of cyber-bullying should not respond to nor forward cyber-bullying messages. Another way is to not give an emotional response and engage in a mud fight with the bully. Educate people on how to handle the situation properly. Ignoring the bully, as previously mentioned, is one of the most effective techniques. Even though it’s not easy to do so, ignoring bullies diminish their enthusiasm to carry on with their harassment. Blocking the bully’s account will the bully not to be able to send you messages, tag you in photos and posts, or interact with you in any way on the platform you’ve blocked them. Keeping personal information private may also work as a strategy to stop being bullied. If cyberbullying is already affecting you, take a break from social media and seek professional help on how to get over it. Cyberbullying is a phenomenon that has eaten deep into the fabric of our social and psychological life as a society. The effect of cyberbullying goes deeper than the online platform used but rather it follows the person victimized home, to work, to school. It haunts the victim everywhere because of its damaging psychological effects. The Nigerian government has done well by enacting an act that protects people from cyberbullying, but a lot still needs to be done in curbing cyberbullying by providing effective means of prosecuting cases of cyberbullying and by creating effective awareness in respect to the act to encourage victims of cyberbullying to report the offenders. Featured Image Source: TechCrunch
Got a suggestion? Contact us:

You might also like:
This article was first published on 22nd January 2022


I am an accomplished content creator and recently delved into technical writing. I enjoy using my skills to contribute to the exciting technological advances and create awareness of evolving technological trends in Nigeria.

Comments (1)

One thought on “Cyberbullying: A Menace And The Cure”

  • It’s exhausting to search out educated people on this subject, however you sound like you understand what you’re speaking about! Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *