AI responds as EFCC raids 200 Yahoo boys in October
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it arrested 200 alleged Internet fraudsters otherwise known as Yahoo Boys in October 2019.
The suspects were arrested during raids of night clubs, school hostels and private apartments.
In a swift response, however, global rights group, Amnesty International, described the indiscriminate arrest of Nigerian youths as worrying.
The Spokesman for AI Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, told Saturday PUNCH, “Everyday Nigerians are increasingly complaining about wanton arrests, raids, unlawful detentions and sometimes harassment of youths either based on their manner of dressing or their technological enterprises. No one deserves to be treated this way in a society where rule of law prevails.
“Taken together, these are worrying signs of growing violations of the rights of people in Nigeria to live freely and with dignity or express themselves without the fear of being detained or harassed. Authorities actions must always be guided by rule of law and respect for rights guaranteed by Nigeria’s constitution.”
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the acting EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibahim Magu, said many youths are involved in Internet fraud of different types, most often targeting foreigners, especially women, whom they defraud of large sums of money.
Magu said following the complaints from some foreign countries, the commission has had to undertake special collaboration with other law enforcement organisations, to check these crimes.
He said recently, the anti-graft agency and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded a joint operations code named, Operation Rewired.
The EFCC boss said the exercise was meant to dismantle the network of organised criminal gang that specialise in Business Email Compromise schemes, designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals.
Magu claimed the operation resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4m, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14m in fraudulent wire transfers.
He added, “Some of the Nigerians mentioned in the infamous FBI list of cyber fraudsters have been tracked, arrested and are being prosecuted in courts across the country by the commission.
But more fundamental than these international collaborations is the sustained effort of the commission to comprehensively tackle the menace of Internet related frauds in Nigeria.
“In October alone, the commission recorded over 200 arrests of suspected Internet fraud suspects in carefully coordinated operations across our offices.”
The EFCC and police’s method of raiding youths indiscriminately has sparked national debate in recent time.