Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Criminology

Socioeconomic Lifestyles of the Yahoo-Boys: A Study of Perceptions of University Students in Nigeria

Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Criminology

Socioeconomic Lifestyles of the Yahoo-Boys: A Study of Perceptions of University Students in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Cyber crime is one of the dominant forms of crime that is widely being perpetrated by tertiary institution students in Nigeria (Adeniran, 2008; Aransiola & Asindemade, 2011; Tade & Aliyu, 2011; Aghatise, 2006). Indeed, the recognition of this growing acceptance of cyber crime, otherwise known as yahoo-yahoo in Nigeria, as a way of life among the youths has compelled the federal government to formulate measures to contain the trend at different points in time. The problem has, however, remained pervasive, despite past efforts put in place to curtail it.

Although cyber crime is not an exclusive preserve of Nigeria as it is a global phenomenon, yet the current unprecedented and massive involvement of Nigerians, especially, the university students in it, makes it a serious problem that requires urgent redress. According to Aghatise (2006), it is alarming that 80% of cyber crime perpetrators in Nigeria are students in various institutions. Indeed, many undergraduates in Nigerian universities have embraced internet fraud as a way of life; while many of them have become rich, some others have been caught by the law (Tade & Aliyu, 2011).

In Nigeria, the varieties of applications offered by the Net such as electronic mailing, 'chat' systems and Internet messaging (IM) often serve as veritable grounds for carrying out fraudulent activities by the youth, and unlike the traditional criminal groups, both gender are functionally involved in it (Adeniran, 2008). The antics of the 'yahoo yahoo boys', also known as 'yahoo yahoo millionaires' has raised a new generation of lazy youths, who spend hours on the internet perfecting their game and literally killing their prey (Nkanga, 2008); cyber crime is becoming one of the fastest growing-internet (fraudulent?)businesses in Nigeria (Aghatise, 2006).

Numerous crimes are committed on daily basis on the internet with Nigerians at the forefront of sending fraudulent and bogus financial proposals all over the world (Longe & Chiemeke, 2008). According to a 2007 internet crime report released by the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3), Nigeria ranks third among cyber crime committing countries in the world. The report indicates that the "Nigerian letter fraud" (Email Scams) received in the United States, constituted 1.1% and the individuals reporting fraud-type monetary loss in 2007 puts Nigerian letter fraud at 6.4%, amounting to 1,922.99 million US dollars (Odapu, 2008).

Similarly, the Chairman of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, has recently announced that more than 288 persons have been convicted over various internet crimes in Nigeria, while 234 are still being prosecuted in different courts across the country (EFCC, 2012). In a related development, the EFCC also recently arrested two university undergraduates, Hope Olusegun and Tunde Wasiu Sodiq in Lagos, on the 4th January, 2013 for allegedly belonging to two syndicates, who specialize in defrauding unsuspecting Nigerians and foreigners through internet scams (Soni, 2013).

Adeniran (2008) observes that the technological advances have brought striking changes to Nigerian cultures, patterns of socialization, social institutions and social interactions. According to him, youths, especially undergraduates and the unemployed have embraced the information and communication inventions, such that the internet is accessed for most part of the day. Ibrahim (2006) notes that cyber criminals in Nigeria are usually within the ages of 18 and 30 years, and are youths, who are outside the secondary schools, but are either in the university or are about to be admitted into the university.

Similarly, a study conducted by the Youth against Cyber Crimes and Fraud in Nigeria (2008) shows that one out of every five youths in most cities in Nigeria is a cyber criminal. Reddick and King (2000) and Adeniran (2006) claim that the anonymity and privacy that the internet provides for potential users has excessively enhanced the degree of fluidity and structural complexity of the 'yahoo-boys' operations in Nigeria. …

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