While many Nigerians are trying to put the Nation on the global map through their skills and talents, some criminally minded citizens are sabotaging the efforts through their involvement in cybercrime and other crime that keeps denting the image of the country.
It is so disheartening that some countries already see Nigerians as criminals hence making many other Nigerians with genuine intentions a suspect.
In some weeks back, there were reports about how a social media celebrity, Ramon Abass, also known as Hushpuppi and his gang were arrested in Dubai over their alleged involvement in cybercrime.
Later, the Dubai police posted a video detailing the crimes they have perpetrated before they were exposed after about four months of monitoring their activities on social media.
According to the video, Hushpuppi and his gang allegedly duped about 1,926,400 persons while 13 luxury cars worth over 3 billion naira were recovered from their Dubai residence.
Cybercrime And The Dent On Nigerians
Aside from the luxury cars and cash, 21 computers, 15 storage devices, 47 smartphones and five hard disks containing data were also recovered from them.
It was gathered that Hushpuppi and his team created fake pages for existing websites as they also hack corporate emails.
While many people were reacting to the arrest of Hushpuppi, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 27, 2020, declared six Nigerians wanted for their involvement in business email compromise schemes.
According to the FBI, the activities of the suspected fraudsters, whose photos were made available on its website have resulted in over 6 million dollars losses.
The six Nigerians declared wanted by the FBI are Richard Izuchuckwu Uzuh, Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Felix Osilama Okpor, Nnamdi Orson Benson, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode and Michael Olorunyomi.
You will recall that another Nigerian, Obinwanne Okeke also known as Invictus Obi recently pleaded guilty to an allegation of 4.2 billion naira fraud after he was arrested on charges of wire and computer fraud.
Obinwanne confessed that he was guilty of the charges and a spokesperson for the US Eastern Virginia District Court, Joshua Stueve said the charges attract a maximum prison sentence of 20 years if convicted.
While reacting to the numerous news about the alleged involvement of Nigerians in cybercrime, an ex-BBNaija housemate, Ifu Ennanda revealed how this has affected her.
In a post on her Instagram page, she disclosed that she was denied access to register for a course online after it was discovered that she is a Nigerian because of her details.
Ifu said she was told that Nigeria was blacklisted on their platform due to the high risk of fraudulent acts while some other African countries were welcomed on the same platform.
Cybercrime And The Dent On Nigerians
Though the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has stated that criminal acts such as fraud do not define the Nigerian people, it is imperative to note that such an act would block the chances of honest Nigerians.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians have taken to social media to condemn how media organizations and bloggers blow the news about cybercrime involving Nigerians out of proportion, the fact remains that this act has dented the image of many Nigerians.
Sometimes ago, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu noted that cybercrime represents a dent on the image of Nigeria and requires concerted efforts by all to stem the ugly trend.
According to a report published in 2014, the annual damage to the global economy was 445 billion dollars, Approximately 1.5 billion dollars was lost in 2012 to online credit and debit card fraud in the US.
Another study also showed that close to $600 billion is lost to cybercrime each year.
No gainsaying the fact that the news about the number of Nigerians who have been arrested for cybercrime might further dent the image of the country and its citizens if the government fail to do the needful.
There is the urgent need to empower the youths, create employment opportunities and embark on massive re-orientation against fraud and other crimes to rewrite the wrongs.