Should Internet fraudsters be free?

The prevalence of cybercrime in Nigeria provoked this article. I begin to ask rhetorically, Who are even the leaders of Nigeria tomorrow? Are they the ones who believe opulence can only be accumulated through fraud? Frankly, the future of this country is winking in red and in sorry state.

Youths are desperately in search of quick wealth without wanting to shed a shred of sweat. This has made tons of unserious and myopic Nigerian teens to venture into crybercrime, regarded as “Yahoo-yahoo” in a common or street lingo.

According to Wikipedia, internet fraud is “the type of cybercrime fraud or deception which makes use of the internet and could involve hiding of information or providing incorrect information for the purpose of tricking victims out of money, property or inheritance”.

Internet fraud, as unsavoury as it is, has been a major venture which has contributed to the reduction of domestic theft or robbery in the society. We are, indeed, in the epoch of internet fraud, so to say.

The pang of bag or luggage snatching has reduced. Hardly will you hear the reported case of robbery compared to some years back. This illicit job has been another alternative to robbery and the likes. This is different from the carnage being launched by men of underworld day by day in Nigeria which has political undertone.

Higher institutions of learning are now a citadel for acquisition of illegal ‘yahoo’ knowledge. Expensive cars, luxury houses, gold necklaces and many other sophisticated materials are possessed by them. As a result, students wear toga of pomposity to the detriment of their their academic pursuit.

Since my childhood, I have been inculcated with the belief that what will be will definitely be – Que sera sera, irrespective of any obstacle. Destiny is crucial in everyone’s life. The thinking of some mordern teenagers is contrary to this. They will want to run, like horses, faster than their legs.

A number of victims especially the white men, which they usually refer to as ‘clients’, have been victims of the ‘moral-lacking’ boys and even girs called ‘yahoo-boys’. Some victims have been hacked to death as a result of the cunning act or deceit they applied to secure a loan from the victim’s bank without his/her knowledge.

Imagine, securing a humongous amount of loan from an individual’s bank without the person knowing anything. This is a show of cold-bloodedness of the highest degree. I put myself into the shoes of the victims when the person is asked to be paying back the money that is borrowed unknown to the person.

Nigerian youths who are into fraud are very desperate snd misfortune awaits them in the nearest future.

Speculatively, internet fraud can’t be perpetrated with the exemption of voodoo, spell or charm. This may be why abduction for money ritual is rampant in Nigeria. Those who aiding them to prepare spells or charms are also culpable.

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation 2021 report of internet crime, people lost more than $6.9bn to internet crimes and a total number of 847, 376 internet crime complaints were filled in 2021, which is 7% increase from 2020.

The government’s refusal to offer hapless citizens who have graduated from universities, polytechnics, colleges begets rampant cases of cybercrime in Nigeria. If employment opportunities are provided, the dastardly act will, indubitably, decrease in the community.

However, internet fraud is punishable under the law as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is charged with the constitutional duty to curb or foil and nab the perpetrators of internet fraud.

On March 9, 2022, the duo of Ogundijo Olamilekan and Adeniran Tijesunimi were reportedly convicted or sentenced for cybercrime.

Also, Benin Zonal Command of the EFCC on 28 September, 2022, reportedly secured the sentencing of internet fraudsters, namely, Harmony Enobakhare and Lucky Uhunamure Osamudiamen.

This is not to make jest of them but to broaden the horizon of the reading public that what is unsavoury has no name than being unsavoury.

No doubt, internet fraudsters in Nigeria have put filth on the white linen of the country’s integrity in the comity of nations. Fraud is bad, distance yourself from it to avoid regret at the end.

Olayode Inaolaji,

Ogbomoso, Oyo state

[email protected]

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