Youths and cyber crime

It is becoming a reality that cyber- crime has come to stay in Nigeria, with cybercriminals stepping up their activities without stiff resistance from the security agencies. Internet fraud, which is now widely known as Yahoo Yahoo has become the most rapid way of acquiring ill-gotten wealth with ease. It is like a safe net for jobless youths in today’s Nigeria.

Cybercrime or computer-based crime is a crime that involves the use of computer and an Internet network to commit financial crime. Fraudsters use these lofty digital tools to swindle hardworking people of their hard-earned resources. Today, all digital devices including computers, tablets, and smart phones are used as tools for Internet fraud.

The crime includes unlawful actions carried out on or by means of a computer such as fraud or fake email messages to get personal information from Internet users. The scammers engage in identity theft, shut down or misusing website or computer networks by hacking into them. Some criminals spread hate message and incite terrorism through the Internet. Some distribute child pornography and offensive messages.

The rate at which young people get involved in cyber crime is alarming. The dimension increases every year with a new scope of scam messages. Students, who are supposed to be pursing their future, have also got themselves involved in cyber crime.

The 2017 report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said Nigerian banks lost N2.19 billion to electronic fraud orchestrated by cyber criminals that targeted and wreaked computer systems of financial institutions. This figure was so alarming that the National Security Adviser said the country could no longer afford to allow fraudsters break into computer systems of key institutions.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was also alarmed by the revelation in his keynote speech during the First Legislative Stakeholders Conference on ICT and Cyber Security in Abuja, last year.

Many youths have found themselves in this illicit activity. They make fame and acquire wealth through cyber crime. These young people ride on expensive cars, live flamboyant lifestyle and stay in posh apartment in highbrow areas. The flash expensive jewelries and make merry everyday of their lives.

Some of them use computer to scam their victims, others use Smartphones that can download applications mostly used by the hackers for their devilish act. Rather than engage in lawful means of livelihood, they believe the best way to be rich is by venturing into cyber crime.

There is a section of this fraudster population that believes in employing diabolical means to boost their ill-gotten wealth. They use spiritual means in getting a fast response from their ‘clients’ without thinking of the implications. Some of them have been caught for bloody ritual.

The recent one happened in Akure, the Ondo State capital. One Khadijat who happened to be daughter of a former Deputy Governor was alleged to have been used for money ritual by his boyfriend and kept her corpse under his bed for six days as instructed by the native doctor.

The youth are now committing different atrocities as they struggle to accumulate a quick wealth. The primary reason they engage in cyber crime is greed and love for money. They don’t want to earn their wealth; they want to ride on expensive cars and clothes at the expense of other people’s sweat.

The alarming rate of corruption among government officials is a fuel that stokes the fire of cyber crimes. The young people also want to live the lifestyle of the corrupt political class and decide to get their own share of ill-gotten money through Internet crime.

Also, the rate of unemployment encourages the youths to take to Internet fraud. Undergraduates leave school after their parents invested a huge amount of money to get them education. They spend years at home without any hope of getting paid employment. Many also did not possess the ability to succeed in a legitimate way. Because of the negative inspiration from the society that places much value on material wealth, many youths lost their essence and believe they cannot make it in life without involving in fraudulent dealings.

Bad upbringing by parents also contributes to nurturing criminals. Peer pressure has led many young people into crime.

Weak cyber security protocol used by government and private organisations also helps criminals to carry out their nefarious activities. Also, weak laws that fail to punish criminals fuel cyber crime.

To curb computer-based crime, there must be an improvement in network security that should neutralise threats to computer database and information. Government should also introduce stringent laws to curb activities of the electronic fraudsters. Government should support the cyber crime working group set up by the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo aiming stop cyber crime in Nigeria.

The youth must be made to undergo value orientation that would change their mindset from material wealth to hard work. There should be efforts to engage young people in vocational training to pave way for opportunities for decent jobs.

National computer society should build a platform to develop local methods of using Information Communication Technology (ICT) to secure computer database from comprise by cyber criminals. There should be policies that must discourage the use of unsecure wireless connections as it is done in the United States.

Every citizen must support the efforts to rid the country of cybercrime and Internet fraud. These crimes should not be seen as values to be espoused in our society.

Source: The Nation

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