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Why Cyber Crime Persists in Nigeria

Posted by By Bennett Oghifo on 2005/09/16 | Views: 578 |

Why Cyber Crime Persists in Nigeria


“While agreeing that greed forms a major causative factor in the spread of cyber crime in Nigeria, one cannot actually shy away from the fact that the harsh economic situation in the country, which has created mass unemployment and of course the high rate of corruption in the society is the fuel that fans its embers."

“While agreeing that greed forms a major causative factor in the spread of cyber crime in Nigeria, one cannot actually shy away from the fact that the harsh economic situation in the country, which has created mass unemployment and of course the high rate of corruption in the society is the fuel that fans its embers."

This was the verdict handed down on the causes of cyber crime, especially in an Information Technology developing country like Nigeria, by the Chief Executive Officer of Buildwell International, a Facilities Maintenance Management company, Engineer Afolabi Adedeji.

Cyber crime, Engineer Adedeji said, covers all forms of Internet fraud, which involve the use of computers or the Internet to access information illegally. The criminals take advantage of the unique peculiarity of the spread of the Internet to send information from any part of the world and access it in other parts of the world in a matter of seconds or minutes.

According to him, cyber crime has denied Nigeria a lot of investment and educational opportunities and dented the country's image very badly in the international community. This illegality could be perpetrated through hacking, distribution of hostile software such as viruses and worms, e-mail scams, denial of service attacks, theft of data, fraud, impersonation and extortion.

Adedeji said it is a dangerous situation to have an army of young, intelligent, restless and agile youths in any country that are hungry, angry and idle. "They have the same education, which some of we few privileged Nigerians have and aspire to the same good things of life, yet they do not readily have the means to fully realize their God-given potential(s)".

This, he said, was the reason many young Nigerians find it difficult to resist the allure of becoming a "Yahoo Millionaire" in US Dollars and turn to cyber crime as an easy way out of what they see as their hopeless personal circumstances.

"I will like to appeal strongly to all Nigerians to stop glorifying wealth for its own sake, regardless of how it was acquired, by doggedly pursuing and prosecuting criminals, our law enforcement agencies should demonstrate clearly to all Nigerians that crime does not pay...we should also understand and fully appreciate the Biblical saying that the love of money is the root of all evils," said Adedeji.

President Olusegun Obasanjo last year set up the Nigeria cyber crime-working group to critically examine the issue, which is fast growing to hitherto unimaginable dimensions and becoming a huge embarrassment to the government.

He described the President's move as laudable but said any plan to fight cyber related crimes in the country "must be holistic in nature and must address the larger issues of moral decadence in our Nation, the progressive decline in the standard of Education over the last two decades, unemployment, poverty, hunger, cultism, the "get-rich-quick" syndrome and perceived social inequities in the system".

Since the Cyber Cafes are not the only theatres where cyber crimes are perpetrated, he said all stakeholders must be involved in the war against it. The security agencies must join forces with all stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as the Telecommunications industry in Nigeria.

He said that for the effective implementation of this war plan against cyber crime in Nigeria, the security agencies must be well equipped with up-to-date IT security equipment, software, knowledge and training.

"The general public, cyber café operators, all tiers of government, security agencies, the Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Internet users, etc., must be enlightened on the need to be alert about security".

He also said that the print and electronic media in Nigeria, have a major role to play in transforming Nigeria into a "Trust" environment by informing all Nigerians, for instance, of the danger of sharing passwords, writing passwords down, and setting up wireless networks or wired connections between networks without authorization.

"People need to know, for starters, that withholding knowledge of one's password from his/her spouse does not in any way detract from the sanctity of the marital relationship between the partners and of course, the holy institution of marriage is encouraged by all faiths to stop sexual sin, amongst other valid reasons," he said.

Once the international community has the confidence that a trust environment now exists in the country, "then we will begin to have a steady inflow of call centre and data entry jobs that our West African neighbours in Ghana are already enjoying from the United States of America, Great Britain, Europe and other Western Nations". And that "for a long time, our Commonwealth cousins in the Indian cities of Bangalore and Delhi, as well as other South East Asian Nations have been able to earn hard currency without leaving home through this western policy of exporting jobs to the third world or places where labour is less expensive...yet, Nigerians, generally speaking, have a more anglicized (or better) accent than their Indian cousins that handle telephone inquiries for customers of say Norwich Union from London or Glasgow in the United Kingdom that want to find out when next the premium on their Insurance Policy is due for payment, but our bad reputation has been a major impediment in the harnessing of this potential gold mine of opportunities for exportation of call center jobs to Nigeria from the Advanced Nations of the West."

He said Engr. Ernest Ndukwe's Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) needs to mandate cyber café operators to install within their system software packages that will easily detect and filter out scam e-mails.

Internet Service Providers should also look into the possibility of making their services more affordable so that many more individuals can have personal access to the Internet from their homes or offices.

He advised organizations to "also avoid the use of generalized e-mail addresses, they should rather get personalized e-mail addresses that are password protected".

However many more solutions would be proffered at the third run of the international workshop on "Mastering Facilities Maintenance Management", scheduled for Tuesday September 27th, to Thursday September 29th, 2005 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

Stakeholders in the industry would be looking into issues such as maintenance management information systems, Legal issues in the corporate facilities function, health safety and environmental issues in facilities maintenance, insurance and risk factors in facilities maintenance management, the economic consequences of crime, amongst other topical subjects.

Resource persons will include, Professor Reuben Iyagba and Professor Kayode Familoni of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Ms. Ifejola Adeyemi of Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Akin Akinbote, a Legal Practitioner, Mr. Nnamdi Melie, an Insurance and Risk Analyst as well as Mr. Isa Omagu an Investment Executive.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.