Online fraud: The root cause of Police brutality in Nigeria

In a country made up of an entirely black population, Police brutality cannot be stereotyped as racism.

Nigeria has earned a bad reputation globally for online fraud. From the famous romance scams and infamous business propositions from “Nigerian princes” to other forms of financial scams and spam which began ouspuciously around the year 2000. Locally, internet fraud is dubbed “yahoo yahoo” as yahoo mails were mainly used to perpetrate these scam.

Nigeria signed an agreement with Microsoft Corp back in 2005 to work together to fight Internet crime, officials said. In a statement on its Web site, Microsoft hailed the agreement as a first with an African country and said it will work with the Nigerian government to combat issues such as spam, financial scams … spyware, viruses, worms, malicious code launches and counterfeiting.

Last year in the USA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicted 77 Nigerians in what was described at the time as the largest case of on-line fraud in US history.

There has been pressure by the international community on Nigerian police to apprehend and persecute these scammers. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police Force has been profiling young Nigerians who “look like potential internet scammers”. Being in possession of multiple gadgets, iphones, driving exotic cars or even being tattooed can get a young person arrested for being a “yahoo boy” without any legitimate evidence of being a fraudster.

Nollywood actress, Nse Ikpe-Etim tweets against police profiling

Young Nigerians have lamented about this profiling and illegitimate arrests within the past few years. This time, they have taken to the streets in major cities across Nigeria and around the world to protest #ENDSARS.

END SARS protesters in Lagos island.
Nigeria’s tech CEO, Seyi Taylor tweets against using SARS to counter online fraud.

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