Not Too Young To Scam?
Although the menacing evil of cybercrime popularly known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ is just beginning to receive a nationwide attention that it deserves, the criminal act dates as far back as the 70s. before the internet became a thing, young Nigerian men have been conning their foreign counterparts with their vivid imagination poured into heartfelt letters.
The ‘game’ has since developed to more advanced tools of a laptop and the internet with an even larger pool of unsuspecting victims.
With more and more young Nigerians seeking Yahoo Yahoo as a get-rich quick fix, Nigeria’s legacy is also fast shifting from the giant of Africa to a country of criminals. As Nigeria’s top leaders concentrate on looting the country’s coffers dry, the youths are also clicking away on their laptops, waiting for a payday from their unlucky maga.
The cankerworm that is yahoo yahoo has eaten so deeply into Nigeria’s fabrics that every successful-looking young Nigeria is a potential Cyber-criminal (Yahoo boy) for local law enforcement like the Police and more particularly the Federal Arm of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
As the government wages its internal war against yahoo boys also known as G-boys, the country’s image suffers massive blows in the international community. Nigerians in diaspora have shared their heartbreaking stories of being profiled as criminals just by virtue or as some call it, curse of being Nigerians. International media and television is not left out in their narrative of Nigerian being a haven for internet fraudsters. One of such instances is when an episode of Australian television show, 60 Minutes titled “The Love Trap” guided an investigation that brought down a Malaysia-based gang, led by a young Nigerian, Bidemi Bakare. Bakare, the primary object of the investigation, had defrauded an Australian woman of over 20 Million Naira under the name Benjamin Waters. In the same vein, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its Internet Crime Complaint Centre ranks Nigeria third in the world behind the US and UK in cybercrime.
Even some of Nigeria’s musicians glorify yahoo yahoo and yahoo boys in their music, Olu Maintain with Yahoozee, Kelly Hansome with Maga Don Pay, D’Banj with Mobolowowon, Reminisce with 2mussh, Small Doctor with Penalty and more recently, Naira Marley with Am I a Yahoo Boy. Just like standard Nigerian pop music, Internet fraud influenced songs are shallow attempts at explaining why Nigerian youths are into scams.
In our globalised and knowledge-based world, Nigerian youths needs to understand the importance of harnessing their talents and opportunities presented to them in not only making themselves better individuals but also contribute their quote to society.