With the increase in the use of technology to carry out business activities, there has been a surge in cybercrime, perpetrated by the infamous ‘yahoo boys’ (internet scammers). John Bray, the Consul General of US Consulate in Lagos say that ‘cybersecurity ventures predict that the global community will lose more than $6 trillion annually by 2021’.
The US has recently raised an awareness campaign to reduce the cybersecurity problem in Nigeria in the just concluded 14th national cybersecurity awareness month which took place in Lagos. The event was centred on teaching youths how to prevent themselves from being victims. Currently, Nigeria is ranked third globally after the US and the UK in internet crime.
During Mr. Bray’s speech at the event, he acknowledged that with the rise in the use of the internet, victims of cybercrime will also increase in number, therefore security measures should be put in place to curb the nefarious activity. He said:
‘With the number of internet users growing daily, law enforcement officials expect the number of victims to increase as well as the value of their losses. Without good cybersecurity in place, experts estimate that nearly half of the entire G-20 economy will be lost to cybercriminals.’
A Cybercrime Act was passed in 2015, to pass judgment on any suspect declared guilty. It included an imposition of a seven-year jail term on anyone identified with ATM card skimming to identity theft or any other form of internet crime and a life-imprisonment charge on anyone whose crime led to a death. On the other side, a cybersecurity awareness campaign was created to raise an awareness on the popularity of cybercrime and instruct the public how to practice safe online habits.
Concurrently, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmus, during his speech at the event revealed that the Police Department is in the process of their plans of creating a unit to tackle cybercrime in the country. The unit will create an awareness to let the public know that other forms of cybercrime exist, aside from the popular ‘yahoo business’. Some of the other crimes include posting false information about someone on social media and unlawfully accessing someone PC. These offenses attract two years’ imprisonment, which according to her, should be made known to the public so that they can request for justice if need be.
This is a growing challenge and although this intervention is coming a little late, it’s never too late to tackle crime and effect the changes.