The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has said more than 70 per cent of Nigerian youth might soon become ex-convicts if the present high rate of their involvement in cybercrime was not stopped.
This is as the Benin Zonal Command of the agency, yesterday, secured the conviction of three cyber criminals before Justice A. T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting Port Harcourt, Rivers State, bringing to 33 the number of internet fraud convictions recorded by the zone within 24 hours.
The Ilorin zonal commander of the EFCC, Mr. Usman Muktar, while speaking with journalists on the state of the nation, decried the high rate of cybercrime among youths and enjoined every stakeholder in the country to discourage the youths from internet fraud.
Muktar, who said the EFCC had witnessed an increasing number of arrest of Nigerian youths in cybercrime in recent time, charged parents to ask their children questions about sources of their wealth.
“When your children, who are in schools stopped asking you for money for upkeep or driving expensive cars, parents should ask questions. Unfortunately, some parents support these youth in internet fraud. They say it’s oyinbo money. How does that turn to be your money?”, he asked.
He lamented that free money from cybercrimes led to the use and sales of hard drugs and drug abuse, saying all hands must be on deck to save the situation.
Muktar added: “Corruption among elected political office holders is also a cause for concern. People should ask questions about projects and quality of work/projects. It would make them sit up.
Such programmes like TV/radio documentaries, write ups, whistle blowing etc should be encouraged as we call on media to join in the anti-corruption fight.”
The commander warned fraudsters to desist from engaging in acts of corruption and steer clear of the three states under his command, saying, the “eagle eyes” of the Commission was widely open and ready to catch any corrupt individual, anytime, anywhere.
He described the media as a crucial partner in preventing corruption, economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.
“The task of fighting economic and financial crimes is painstaking and broad-based and should be embraced by all strata of the society with the media serving as channel of communication and enlightenment.
“Commission depends greatly on the media to achieve success in the anti-graft campaign, especially, as it affects the prevention mandate, which is hinged on Section 6 of the EFCC Establishment Act.
“Without a doubt, the media is a critical stakeholder in the anti-graft war. With your pen, you could make or mar the fight against corruption. The media’s potential to inform and educate the people is crucial for us.
“We believe that on our own, we cannot win the war against corruption without a buy-in by the people. This is where the support of the media comes in. We need the media to help sensitise the people on the ills of corruption and economic crimes”.
Still on cybercrime, the Zonal Commander stated that, “The Command, which covers Kwara, Ekiti and Kogi States is engaging relevant stakeholders including religious and traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs and the youths with a view to sensitising them on the inherent dangers of corruption. My Command is certainly not going to be a safe haven for cyber criminals,” he added.