This paper has x-rayed the principles of freedom of contract and laissez faire vi-a-vis the regulation of the internet in Nigeria. The paper aimed at evaluating the existing laws regulating the internet and electronic contracts in Nigeria with a view to ascertaining to what extent such laws have aligned or departed from the principles of freedom of contract and laissez faire. In order to achieve the aim of this paper, the doctrinal method of research was adopted. This involved the retrieval of materials, both primary and secondary materials, relevant to the subject matter in question. In the course of this study, it was discovered that prior to 2015, there was no specific law in Nigeria regulating electronic contracts and sale of goods on the internet but the existing laws appear to favour the Classical Contract Theory and the Classical Economic (Free Market) Theory, the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015 has provisions which regulate activities on the internet while the draft Electronic Transaction Bill 2015 contain provisions regulating electronic transactions. Based on the above findings, the paper recommends that the Electronic Transaction Bill should be enacted into law without further delay.
Keywords: Electronic Contract, Freedom of Contract, Internet Regulation, Liassez Faire, Cyber Libertarianism
The advent of information and communication technology, particularly the internet, has helped to facilitate an upsurge in economic growth and development. Bieron and Ahmed, have put forward the argument that the internet has facilitated a new wave of economic growth and development and that business across the world, both big and small, have taken advantage of the scale, scope and access that the internet provides to reach new markets and consumers.