The Electronics Transactions Bill upon
assent by President Buhari, will be a
n Act to facilitate the use of information
in electronic form for conducting transactions in Nigeria. Furthermore, the
Bill seeks to provide a legal and regulatory framework for:  (a) conducting transactions using electronic
or related media; (b) the protection of the rights of consumers and other
parties in electronic transactions and services;  (c) the protection of personal data; and  (d) facilitating electronic commerce in

Though the National Assembly passed
the Bill in 2017, it is yet to be signed into law by Nigeria’s President Buhari
due to what has been described as drafting issues, despite calls by industry
experts such as the Chattered Institute Of Bankers (CIBN) and the
Cyber Security Expert Association of Nigeria

The e-Commerce market in Nigeria is worth around
$13 billion; according to a report by London based Economist Intelligence Unit
(EIU). Experts in the Nigerian financial service sector have also estimated
that Nigeria’s e-commerce market value could rise to $50 billion
(N15.45trillion) over the next 10 years. Recently, the National Bureau of
Statistics (NBS) predicted that the e-commerce sector is expected to contribute
about 10 per cent, of a projected N10trillion, to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) by 2018[i].
However, as e-commerce opportunities expand in Nigeria, so does the risk to
unsuspecting users and customers. Hence the need for the immediate signing of
the Electronics Transactions Bill by President Buhari.

Some of the notable provisions of the Bill
include Section 2, which provides that the Act shall apply to the use of all information
in the form of electronic or other media. Subsection (2), also lists certain
exceptions that come under the purview and jurisdiction of the Act, which

the creation or execution of a will;

the execution of negotiable instruments;

the creation, performance or enforcement of an indenture, declaration of trust
or power of attorney with the exception of constructive and resulting trusts;

 (d) any contract for the sale or other
disposition of immovable property, or any interest in such property; 

the conveyance of immovable property or the transfer of any interest in
immovable property; 

documents of title for movable or immovable property; and

where such application would involve a construction of a rule of law that is
clearly inconsistent with the manifest intent of the lawmaking body or
repugnant to the context of the same rule of law:  Provided that the mere requirement that
information be in writing, written or “printed” shall not by itself be
sufficient to establish such intent

The Bill also provides that notwithstanding
anything in the Stamp Duty Act, in relation to this Act, documents whose media
are not paper, shall be liable to stamp duties as may be prescribed by the
appropriate regulatory body and it shall be lawful to transmit and send
documents as defined in the Act.   

Other important provisions of the Bill includes clauses,
which provide for application and scope of electronic records, as well as the
validity, administration and certification of electronics signatures.
Particularly, Section 11 of the Act provides that –

“Where the signature of a person is required, that requirement is met
in relation to an electronic communication if:

 (a) any method is used to
identify the person and to indicate the person’s approval of the information

(b) having regard to all the relevant circumstances at the time the
method was used, the method was as reliable as was appropriate for the purposes
for which the information was communicated; and 

(c) the person to whom the signature is required to be given consents
to that requirement being met by way of the use of the method mentioned in
paragraph (a)”.

A novel introduction of the Bill is
also its provision for the validity of electronic contracts as seen in Part IV
of the Bill. As well the provisions of Part VI which provide for consumer
to the
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, there is need to
validate e-commerce transactions as fraudulent activities online, commercial
disputes arising from sale and delivery; and other undesirable outcomes are on
the rise. In the 44-page report, the Senate President stressed
that an estimated 60 per cent of micro and small businesses advertise and sell
their wares online, either through their own sites or using social media.
“This has also opened up a floodgate of fraudulent activity online, commercial
disputes arising from sale and delivery; and other undesirable outcomes.

Also, he
said, large businesses have also taken advantage of the ease offered by
technology to conduct and transact their official businesses online. “Contracts
and agreements are being concluded without parties being physically present.
But conversely, extant laws provide inadequate protection for e-commerce
businesses and consumers,” he declared[ii].

From the
above, it is crucial that President Buhari signs the Electronics Transactions
Bill into Law as it will bring sanity and protection to Nigerians and investors
who carry on business through electronic transactions.

You may download a copy of the Bill here.  

Learn & Share 

Photo Credit – Abbakin

[i] Abbakin.
(2018). The Nigeria Online Ecommerce Market Size and Trends. Available: Last accessed 22nd
September, 2018.
[ii] ITRealms. (2018 ). Why NASS
passed Electronic Transactions Bill – Saraki – ITREALMS.

Last accessed 22nd September, 2018.