Yahoo Boys, “Not too Young to Scam” trend and the Glorification of Fraud in Nigeria
Using the biblical analogy, the 'internet' is just like a double-edged sword -- it makes much of our lives easy, making it possible for us to connect with people, family, loved ones and business partners no matter where they are on the globe, on the other hand -- it gives room for 'internet fraud' and 'cyber crimes' to reach right into our offices, our homes, and and into our daily lives.
Sadly, for the past few weeks, the rate at which different views by popular entertainment celebrities and even the so called 'intellectuals', social media influenza (influencers perhaps) have been trying to normalise and appraise Yahoo-Yahoo Boys activities and other illegal activities through various social platforms in Nigeria is becoming alarming and ridiculous. This is however a reflection of the fact that a considerable part of the Nigerian society celebrates 'prosperity', 'ill-gotten wealth' and glorify fraud without questioning where the 'money' comes from.
A greater part of the Nigerian society is bedeviled with the utmost desire to get rich quick, amass enormous and massive wealth so as to feel important, because we believe wealth is the measure of power and importance. It is in realization of this fact that these “not-too-young-scam” minded set of people direct their attention to defrauding innocent people.
While we may try not to castigate or condemn them on the basis of religious corrections, these so called 'Yahoo Boys' are not ghosts, they live around us. These same boys grew up with all of us in this same society. They share their scam escapades and proceeds at beer parlours, club houses and social gatherings in the midst of like-minds with no meaningful contributions to this society.
It's quite saddening that these individuals’ have made a deliberate choice to follow the dishonourable path of fraudulent practices as a means of livelihood. This is very much egregious, because it is not just a trend in Nigeria only but globally. The many cases of scam from these yahoo Boys are pointers to poor home upbringing, unemployment, peer pressure and so on
Despite several arrests and convictions over this continuous trend, Nigerian youths have continued to ply the trade in droves both at home and abroad. Sadly, a very rich and popular yahoo boy is a role model to the gullible youths, many of them fancy his lifestyle and want to be like him. The only thin line is how to make a quick and fast money.
We've heard many horrific tales of how these boys end up performing various rituals such as using small tortoise, which they keep under their feet whenever they are chatting on laptops with victims while for some, their fingertips also bear incisions and a charm-filled animal horn prepared by their spiritualists -- are these acts and many others not synonymous with that of those who are dreaded ritualists or kidnappers?
Sadly, there are large number of youths who are dropouts, unemployed youths and undergraduates studying in the country, especially in the southern part of Nigeria engaging in this Internet fraudulent practices. With the continuous rise in this illegal activity, it is crystal clear that there's a frightening level of despondency among the youths – men and women -- but the stark reality remains that the absence of 'job opportunities' is fuelling a lot of youths to engage themselves in these unholy-profitable ventures.
Simultaneously, there are many young people in government, working in different organs of the government, NGOs, IOs and many other state and non-state agencies but sadly those who've chosen the fraudulent ways have been propelled in the wrong direction, brainwashed and grown as a hindrance in the way of other people’s lives becoming a headache to and burden on the society.
Considering the divesting effect, uncontrollable increasing trend and magnitude in the nation's age-long prestige, the devil does find work for idle hands and when a gun is included, that work can have deadly repercussions. Hence, government agencies must intensify its efforts in curbing the nefarious practices of these boys before they start operating in another advanced level of fraudulent practices.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government must be reminded again that Nigerians are increasingly losing hope and confidence in the nation’s security agencies because of the unethical conduct of some of its operatives. Some of the actions of the Nigerian Police Force have brought embarrassment to the nation. Cases of bribery or extortion and extra-judicial murder are on the increase.
The youths must be reminded that they must substitute their sterile thinking and stubborn objection to entertaining the ideas of creativity and not be forced to sit on the margins of society, waiting on the train track for a train that may never come. In this globalized and knowledge-based world, every young person should harness every opportunity to contribute to the society while fulfilling their potentials and not partaking in criminal activities.
Alao Abiodun is a Journalist, He can be reached via [email protected] , Tweets @kingbiodun_