Nigeria loses 127 billion Naira to cybercrime yearly, which is 0.8 per cent of the country’s GDP. Cybercrime has become a bane in the economy and society at large. There are a host of cybercrimes being perpetrated by Nigerians but the most popular is the 419/Internet fraud which is commonly known as Yahoo Yahoo in our Nigerian parlance. It has been on the increase lately.
Some youth have without denial taken it as their full-time job and have crafted reasons to make it justifiable. How sad! Can there ever be any justifiable reason for indulging in Yahoo Yahoo? Recently, this was a trending topic on social media and to my surprise, a number of young people gave reasons why it is justifiable; from lack of employment to poverty, bad economy, peer pressure and as a means of survival. These attempts to justify crime shows that it is no longer a big deal and as a people, we have accepted it as part of the very fabric of our society.
The reason people indulge in Yahoo Yahoo;
Greed! Jonathan Gash said Fraud is the daughter of greed. Young people trying to outdo each other, amassing luxuries and liabilities all in the name of showing off and keeping up with appearances. Thus, the get rich quick syndrome has eaten deep into the minds of most youth that they find legitimate ways of making money uninteresting. They have refused to go through the growth process and want to arrive even before they start leaping. Despite the efforts of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to curb this menace, it keeps growing and we have the anonymity nature of the internet to thank.
These actions, to whose detriment?
Every Nigerian! Around the world, Nigerians are seen as suspects, investors don’t feel safe with us, to mention a few. Moreover, these negative effects have caused colossal reputational damage to Nigeria as a country. Sincere citizens will have to work twice as hard to prove that they are different. Currently, Nigeria at the moment ranks 144 out of 180 on Transparency International corruption perception index. How long are we going to continue to destroy a nation that is standing on one leg?
At the moment, Naira Marley, a Nigerian artist is being prosecuted by the EFCC for internet fraud after he openly showed support for yahoo yahoo. He asked Nigerians to pray for them rather than condemn them. And to think that some youth are out on the streets with placards protesting for his release with the Free Naira Marley hashtag is disheartening. If he is found guilty by the law, he should face the music. Making a case for fraud only shows that some Nigerians have a problem. We complain about politicians, kidnapping, armed robbery and we want to overlook that of yahoo yahoo? All crimes must be punished.
Frederick William Robertson said, there are three things in the world that deserve no mercy; hypocrisy, fraud and tyranny. A changed mindset and attitude are all we need. No circumstance is an excuse for Crime. #SayNoToCrime!!