EFCC in the eye of the storm

Bayo Fasuwon

The operatives of the EFCC would have been in shock at the public outcry against their night raid and arrest of 52 suspected internet fraudsters and mostly students of the revered Obafemi Awolowo University. In their minds, they would have wondered why the public was angry at their bid to wash the nation of her stench by incarcerating the rotten eggs that gave the nation such a bad odour in the international community.

They probably would have wondered if the nations (als) love criminals than law enforcement agents. To them, they were been vilified for carrying out their lawful duties. On the other hand, the nation (als) remains petrified by the terrorist operational modes of the men in red. Several times, there have been reports of break ins, wall scaling, harassment of innocent half clad Nigerians, hoteliers and legitimate online entrepreneurs. This new attack to them, was one too many. 

Some have thought that the raid may not be with intent to cleanse the nation, and prosecute the indicted; but to raise funds for the yuletide season, so the angst. The arrester, the arrested, and the observers are all entitled to their opinions anyway. But with the order from above stopping night raids, the ‘yahoo boys’, ‘benefit girls’ the ‘G Boys’ and many others can sleep (or transact) happily in the night, and get prepared for the real ‘fast and furious’ maneuvers with the EFCC and other law enforcement agents during the day.

However, the EFCC must learn that the whole brouhaha demands that due process must be followed in arresting, detaining, interrogating and prosecuting suspected criminals, for any act outside the law is illegal. The general public must also understand that when they become willing shield to people with questionable wealth, they or close relatives may soon become collateral damage. 

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That been said, it is proper and just to examine this generation of wealth seeking and flaunting youths. The rate at which affinity towards fraudulent means of living large is alarming, and calls for concern.

Although data from the statistics bureau may not trace and accept, the average man on the street is bold to say that the rising inflation on consumer goods is traceable to the existence of internet fraudsters who have access to wealth. Since business men and women would like to make profit, wares are increased to ‘get their share’ of illicit funds, which they usually get; and thus make life difficult for those with more legitimate means of income.

Unfortunately, reports are rife about parents who take their children to fraudsters so as to be trained in reaping where they had not sown. The reason alluded to internet fraud has gone beyond poverty. 

Rather, it is much more borne out of the desire to oppress others; else they would have stopped when they made a quick breathtaking hit. The society in times past that queries and demand to know the source of wealth of benefactors have become withdrawn in recent years, but had transformed in to hailers of the uncultured. The parents of old are quick to interrogate their wards when they see things in their possession that seemed strange.

Why are today’s parents different from the past poor but dignified parents? What exactly is wrong with this generation? The answer may be that they lack training.

Many a Nigerian parent is too busy to train up their wards in this period and time. So four-year-old children who ought to learn at that period from their parents are bundled and become the responsibility of teachers. Training involves teaching a person so as to make fit, qualified and proficient.

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It is the formation of person by instruction, discipline and drilling. It is a conscious effort targeted at a given goal. It is deeper than teaching, because teaching is just to make someone know something, or get accustomed to some actions or attitude. In the past, teachers in the education sector combine teaching with training.

However, given the strange attitudes of over protective parents, lack of motivation and the need to have side hustles, only few if any teacher is interested in training any child anymore. The parents on the other hand have left the training of their wards to social media, television and religious organizations.

The religious organizations in themselves have been captured by the spirit of mammon and have created the desires for making money stronger than making heaven. So, internet fraudsters have Pastors, Alfas and traditional High Priests who give them the necessary spiritual support in their treacherous activities. So, rituals and cultism are on the increase in every State of the Federation. So academic knowledge without character moulding is responsible for the increases in fraudsters in the nation.

The job of the EFCC would have been easier if the NIN is actually used to trace, track and arrest fraudsters. Truecaller would record some numbers as ‘Scam’, but our security institutions have neglected their arrests. What a nation of insincerity.

Truth be told, it is not all those wealth flaunting young guys that are into internet fraud. One advantage that this present generation (GEN Z) has is that there is a deviation from the orthodox methods of wealth creation. With the internet, networking and social media, they are able to navigate beyond the geographical territories of their countries and access opportunities, while being in their bedrooms.

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So many are able to use their creativities in music, art, photography, writing skills, acting, editing and many others to clinch jobs online that credit them in foreign currencies. The big players are into foreign exchange, digital marketing, bitcoins and other commercial activities. So, it is not all who are carrying laptops, living in good houses and driving good cars that are criminals. That is why the EFCC should get its acts, information and methods right, and legal.

Nigeria is not a Banana Republic, and citizens must not be treated as such. If the motives are right and pure, the operations must be legal and just. It is necessary to note that Nigerians are currently passing through very hard times, in which Government’s insensitivity is at a high level. We must not provoke any #END anything.

The EFCC should understand that not all Nigerians are corrupt, but we desire that the corrupt ones must be brought to justice in the right manner. Also, the zeal at which the body pursues internet fraudsters must be doubled in pursuing and arresting public office holders in the nation.

 The EFCC can at this time promote its image by listing in the dailies, the names and jail terms of their prosecuted arrestees since it was established, in order to garner national support. Also, we await the successful prosecution and jailing of our present and past corrupt leaders by the Eagle eyed EFCC so that we can know that brazen looting of the national treasury is as much a heinous crime than cyber stealing.

EFCC in the eye of the storm

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