Clamping down fraudsters in rebuilding Nigeria’s image




Social rots instituting perversions in Nigeria has hitherto, for long, found its place in the Country. Nigeria being heterogeneous has also been rubbed with heterogeneous menaces. Social decadence from different angles and at varying levels and degrees have been on the worsening side with increasing exposure. Nigeria’s fraud profile is taking a malodorous smell on the Country’s posture. 

The Country’s fraud profile has become a topical subject in the international system. Fraud and corruption have been negative stings making the Country stink in the perceptional sensations out of its frontiers.

Cybercrime is a menace that has taken deep root in the Country. The recorded profile of Nigeria on cybercrime has taken an embarrassing turn in the international realm.

The United States had in June made known to the world, six Nigerians involved in alleged internet fraud to the tune of over six million dollars. In a statement on its website, the U.S. Department of State had said the six persons “manipulated their victims to gain access to their sensitive information and financial resources”. 

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the suspects were listed to be Richard Uzuh, Micheal Olorunyomi, Alex Ogunshakin, Felix Okpoh, Nnamdi Benson and Abiola Kayode.

The cyber fraudsters were reported to have targeted American businesses and individuals using business email compromise and romance fraud, while impersonating American business executives, requesting, and receiving wire transfers from their accounts.

 The fraudsters were known for targeting women, especially those who just lost a spouse, deceiving them with affection through calls and constant chats until they gain their trust and swindle their unsuspecting victims. 

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had in a red flag warned that  the U.S. will not tolerate “such gross misuse of technology” stressing that “the United States will use all of the tools at our disposal to defend the American people and businesses from malign actors that seek to target them, including cyber-enabled actors who prey on vulnerable Americans and businesses.”

The revelations of the high profile cyber fraud of Raymond Abbas, a.k.a Hushpuppi attracted international concerns over the magnitude of his cross-country fraud networks. The Instagram influencer who attracted millions of followers with pictures of a flamboyant jet-setting lifestyle was arrested by government authorities in Dubai amid claims of a £350m cyberscam. 

His fraud profile of defrauding no fewer than two million people to the tune of over N168 billion has attracted wide concern across the world; a development worsening the demeaning image of Nigeria in the international scene. 

Eleven other suspects were detained during the coordinated operation comprised of officers from the FBI, Interpol and Dubai police that led to his arrest. 

The Detectives had seized more than 150 million dirhams (£30 million) when they swooped on the 38-year-old’s apartment. Dubai Officers had disclosed they found the email addresses of nearly two million victims on dozens of phones, computers and hard drives. In addition to more than a dozen luxury cars that were seized in the raid\ along with suitcases full of cash, Investigators had disclosed that documents evidencing fraud “on a global scale” worth 1.6 billion dirhams (£352 million) were recovered. 

A criminal complaint filed earlier had alleged that fraudster and an unnamed person conspired to launder funds from a $14.7 million heist of a foreign financial institution in 2019. He was also accused of conspiring to be part of an attempt to steal $124 million from an English Premier League soccer club.

The troubling scale of high profile fraud records linked to Nigeria is deepening the Country’s gloomy image in the world. The need to address the menace of cybercrime by Nigerians is an emergency that the  Nigerian Government should take seriously. 

The Government should build on the vitalized intelligent system to track cyber fraudsters who are building careers on cybercrime. Full hunt-campaign operations should be launched to clamp down on cyber fraudsters in the Country.

The Government should institute legal mechanisms with capital punitive measures against cybercriminals. This will go a long way to deter teeming young Nigerian youths and teens who are now considering cybercriminals as an attractive venture they are giving full attention and embracing as a career.

 Heavy clampdown against cybercrime is much required at this time to render the venture unattractive and unpopular to upcoming Nigerian youths. 

The essentials of gate-keeping the cultural and social frontlines of the nation, particularly the entertainment industry, are significant in order to set guides against menace influencers thriving in the Country. Nigerian nationals are increasingly facing harsh treatments across nations of the world. 

The need to rebuild the Country’s image is essential and the significance of heavily clamping down on crime is the sine qua non in the rebuilding processes.

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