EFFECT OF CYBERCRIME IN NIGERIA
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,
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
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
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:
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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