EFFECT OF CYBERCRIME IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1              Background to the Study

Information technology is vast growing aspect of civilisation. Internet especially is an aspect of information technology that enables us to communicate with one another globally irrespective of the country and the continent within a twinkle of an eye. More and more, development strategies are based on the need for developing countries to embrace information technology both as a way to avoid further economic and social marginalization as well as to offer opportunities for both growth and diversification of their economies. The economy of most nations in the world is accessible through the aid of electronic via the internet. Since the electronic market is opened to everybody (which also includes eavesdroppers and criminals), false pretence finds a fertile ground in this situation. The invention of electronic devices such as modern communication hard-wares, internet service and computer systems has been a major landmark in human history.

Some individuals in Nigeria have embraced cyber-crime as a way of life. Many have become rich while some others have been caught by the law (Tade and Aliyu, 2011). This new crime is denting and drilling holes in the economy of the nation. For example, in a recent report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center which is a partnership between the FBI and America’s National White Collar Crime Center, revealed that Nigeria now ranked third among the list of top ten sources of cybercrime in the world (Abdulhamid et al, 2011). Also the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its banking sector supervision report revealed that the Nigeria banking sector lost 7.2 billion naira to internet fraud (Ajewole, 2010). Losing 7.2 billion naira in a developing economy such as ours is not something to be proud about. Apart from the destruction cyber-crime does to the economy, it also leads to the erosion of confidence in genuine Nigerian commercial credibility and today many western countries with France taking the lead have moved to deny Nigerian businessmen and women who are legitimate the rewards of e-commerce. France today requires web camera verification for most online business transactions from Nigeria (Longe and Chiemeke, 2008).

In Africa, cybercrime has been indigenously named. For instance, in Nigeria, it is called Yahoo yahoo while the perpetrators are called yahoo boys. In Ghana, it is called ‘Sakawa’ or ‘Yahoo yahoo’ (Coonsom 2009) and ‘Faymania’ in Cameroon (Oumarou 2007). In Nigeria, the majority of cybercriminals are young people and are found in universities. Yahoo boys are youths involved in cybercrime using electronic e-mails. This social tag originated via the mode employed by yahoo boys in defrauding, which involves sending sinister and deceptive e-mails using hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail and the likes. Alubo (2011) informs us that the web has created a platform for fraudsters to engage in advance-fee-fraud via the sending of spam e-mails. This act, he notes, is called 419, and the perpetrators called yahoo boys. They usually make use of free e-mail accounts (e.g., Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail etc.) to communicate with their targets.

Studies have been conducted on the emergence of the yahoo boys subculture the social organisation of Internet fraud in Nigeria (Tade and Aliyu 2011), ICT and perpetration of cybercrime and the cost and attractiveness of cybercrime (Kshetri 2006). In a somewhat similar study conducted in Ghana, Warner (2011, 744) reports the use of a klepto-theological paradigm, created to abet the perpetration of Internet crime. He calls this Sakawa. According to him, Sakawa serves two main functions: it protects the cybercriminal and ensures their financial success. Melvin and Ayotunde (2011) treat yahoo boys as a unit and analyse it as such from purely philosophical and psychosocial perspectives. However, this attack by humans through machines (Jaishankar 2010) has now incorporated spiritual elements in Nigeria.

While the spread of cyber crime could not be curtailed adequately by crime prevention agencies, the effects continue to bite hard on our economy, locally and internationally. Apart from the social menace it is creating in our entire system to some large extent, cyber crime has thrown up a large number of 419 perpetrators in our economic system. Very easily people are able to commit economic crime through the internet by duping one another of large sum of money locally and internationally. Corporate internet fraud has been on the increase as even unscrupulous banking officials are conniving with outsiders to steal depositor’s funds. Apart from local economic sabotage and fraud, a large number of Nigerians particularly the youths are also engaged in perpetrating internet fraud by duping individuals and corporate institutions abroad through spurious economic deals. Fraudulent practices through cyber crime has thrown up emergency millionaires, even billionaires in our economic system which is injurious to our economic growth as most of such funds acquired, illegally are not been used productively to promote the economy. Such funds could not be easily traced by law enforcement agencies. In deed economic sabotage resulting from cyber crime cannot be over-emphasized.

Another serious aspect of cyber crime or social media abuse is how dubious relationship are easily courted or established, which often lead to disastrous ends, particularly amongst our youths. We have seen instances where such relationship established through internet process ended up in untimely deaths of innocent people (male & female). Lots of social media links for social engagement had ended in disasters often creating bottlenecks for law enforcement agencies due to lapses or lack of concrete laws in place to address the situation.

Conclusively, Nigeria’s image has continuously been the worse for it. It has been seriously battered internally and externally. Though cybercrime is a global phenomenon, individual countries suffers the effects differently depending on what laws each country has in place to address the situation, as well as how effective their law and crime prevention agencies are able to curtail the menace. This is why the proposed urgent need for the establishment of the Nigeria Police Internet Crime Complaint Centre (NPIC3) in Nigeria, which will be in affiliation with the internet crime complaint centre of the United States of America (IC3), is most welcomed. Also, the urgent inclusion of online Forensics Graphognomy course into the curriculum of Nigeria Police Education Unit, which will strategically enhance the know-how of methodologies of online scamming technicalities being used by cyber criminals thereby making investigation of cybercrime intelligence information gathering reports easier for law enforcement agencies, as otherwise stated above. Surely, with the approval of this proposal the Nigeria Police will be able to readdress the emerging facts that have shown Nigeria to be one of the leading cybercrime perpetrators in the world, as earlier acknowledged by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) on Wednesday March 20th 2013, edition of Leadership Newspaper. Because of the foregoing, the danger attached to cybercrimes as reflects on the online image of our country, has made it more difficult for Nigeria to engage in online business and other cyber related activities.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The contribution of internet to the development of the nation has been marred by the evolution of new waves of crime. The internet has become an environment where the most lucrative and safest crime thrives. Cybercrime has become a global threat from Europe to America, Africa to Asia and to the other parts of the world. Cybercrime has come as a surprise and a strange phenomenon that for now lives with us in Nigeria. With each passing day, we witness more and more alarming cases of cybercrimes in Nigeria, with each new case more shocking than the one before.

1.3       Research Questions

This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:

i)                   what are the level of cybercrimes in Nigeria?

ii)                 what are the reasons for cybercrime in Nigeria?

iii)               how can the government curb cybercrime in Nigeria?

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the several cases of cyber crime in the country and also to investigate the causes, effects and to proffer possible solutions to the different cases of cybercrimes. The specific objectives of the study are however: to;

i)                   to inquire the level of cybercrimes in Nigeria

ii)                 to establish the reasons for cybercrime in Nigeria

iii)               to evaluate how the government curb cybercrime in Nigeria

1.5       Research Hypothesis

The research hypotheses to be tested include:

i)                   there is a significance relationship between cybercrime and the economic development in Nigeria

ii)                 there is no significance influence of cybercrime on Nigeria’s foreign policy

1.6       Significance of the Study

This study sought to investigate the several cases of cybercrime in the country and also to investigate the causes, effects and to proffer possible solutions to the different cases of cybercrimes. The study will of great help to the government as it will provide lasting solutions to the menace of cybercrimes in the country. It will also serve as a foundation upon which further researches will be made.

1.7       Scope of the Study

This study will cover the young adults and the middle adults in some selected local government areas in Lagos state. This is because Lagos state is used as a case study.

1.8       Limitation of the study

The researcher was faced with time constraint as there researcher was involved in other academic works as at the time this study was carried out.

1.9       Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Cybercrime: Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (networks including but not limited to Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (Bluetooth/SMS/MMS)

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