Nigeria: Admission to ‘Internet fraud academy?’

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It is hardly new that a lot of cybercrimes have been linked to the Nigerian internet syndicates, however, there was until now, hardly any tangible evidence to suggest that some of these internet scoundrels actually, enrolled in a special internet fraud school to perfect their underworld credentials and prepare them for the illegal business ahead. Not until recently. In what Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency calls a breakthrough, the agency recently busted an alleged “internet fraud academy” in a remote village of Akwa Ibom State in the Southern part of Nigeria.

According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), 23 suspects – aged between 19 and 35 have been arrested participating in training in internet fraud scams, including on how to charm women romantically, identity theft and trading scams.

So far, the latest arrest is the largest since the anti-corruption agency started its war against cybercrime. In total, 34 laptops and 21 mobile phones were confiscated during the raid. One wonders who the Vice-Chancellor, dean or head of the department of this unique academy could be. Hum! The EFCC has promised to bring the suspects to the court of law once the investigations are completed.

While many are working hard, aspiring to enter a university and graduate as doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountant, etc. some malevolent individuals would rather enrol in an underworld academy where they would learn the art of deceit and theft. As if that was not terrible enough, the fact that the so-called “internet fraud academy” has been operating in a broad daylight shows the level of boldness and fearlessness amongst cybercrime criminals as they go about with their “profession.” More than that, the attraction of the internet cybercrime to many young individuals does not only expose the societal moral decadent; it equally underlines one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria as a country – the excessive desire to get rich fast.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may be doing all it can to combat cybercrime and other corruption practices, however, the government of Nigeria has more work to do. Unless Nigeria changes the get-rich-fast -mentality amongst its citizenry and makes sure its leaders lead by example, the most recently discovered “internet fraud academy” would by a tip of the iceberg in the war against internet crime in Nigeria.

Photo: BBC