Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Nigeria should pay “greater attention” to cybercrime as the act implicate the image and economic health of the country.
Magu expressed his concern through the head of EFCC Gombe state, Micheal Wetkas, at a media briefing cum town hall meeting in the state on Thursday.
“Every email sent from Nigeria is being screened before delivery, we are being denied visas to other countries,” he explained how the involvement of unscrupulous Nigerians in cyber fraud was impacting negatively on the country’s image globally.
Magu added that it undermined the quest for foreign direct investment.
He said the commission is working with the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other international law enforcement agencies to address the menace of computer-based fraud.
The anti-graft head said he was optimistic of the collaboration, describing it as a major step towards tackling cyberfraud among Nigerians.
Many Nigerians have been indicted of internet fraud, also known as “yahoo yahoo” or cyber fraud, both within and outside the country.
Within the country, the EFCC which is charged with the arrest of suspected fraudsters usually releases the cases of computer-based frauding made available on its website and to journalists. A week does not go by without a reported case of an individual or a group, mostly youths and students, arrested or prosecuted for cyber-related crimes by the commission.
On August 22, the FBI published the names of 80 Nigerians indicted of cybercrime in the U.S. They were charged to a Californian court on the case bordering on internet fraud.
Similarly, the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police, in May 2018, also reported that six Nigerians residing in London had been jailed for forty-three years after being convicted of cyber theft worth millions of pounds.
Umar Danbatta, Cheif Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), had disclosed in 2017 that Nigeria ranked third globally in cyber crimes, being led by the UK and the U.S.
A journal published on the Researchgate showed that the majority of internet fraudsters in Nigeria are youths, majorly through an operation called “phishing”.
It recommended that the Nigerian government should make “the welfare and wellbeing of the citizens of paramount importance so as to lessen the burden of individuals by providing good-paying jobs and other basic amenities”.