How Banks Lost ₦8bn In 9 Months To ‘Yahoo Yahoo Boys’ - EFCC

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), Mr. Ola Olukoyede, has revealed that Nigerian banks lost at least N8 billion to internet fraud, otherwise known as Yahoo-Yahoo Boys, in 2022.

The EFCC chairman disclosed this during an interactive session with media executives in Abuja, on Tuesday which was monitored by Africa Today News, New York. 

He narrated how cybercrime has hurt companies and its negative effects in attracting direct foreign investment for the country. He lamented that no fewer than 71 percent of companies operating in Nigeria were victims of cybercrime in 2022 even as he argued that the Commission’s war against internet fraud is about safeguarding the country’s future.

In 2022 alone, I’m waiting for the report of 2023, we discovered that more than 71 percent of Nigerian industries, companies and firms fell victim to cyber crime. Now, which country or company would thrive with this kind of thing? “You want to attract foreign direct investment; the moment you come in, Yahoo boys will attack your platform. You start losing money and you think they would stay?

“Is that not what we are seeing? We are rescuing the future of Nigeria by going into this cyber crime investigation and prosecution.

“Now, within that period, the Nigerian economy lost $706 million (via) these companies through cyber crime, to the activities of these Yahoo Yahoo boys because we don’t take them seriously now, not knowing that we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder.

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“The alarming statistics continued with Nigerian banks losing over N8 billion to electronic transfer fraud in the first  nine months of 2022.

“A system lost over N8 billion to a particular scheme of fraud and you are asking EFCC to close its eyes to that kind of situation. Are we even fair to ourselves?”

He said the agency is prosecuting two of its operatives for violating the agency’s code of conduct.

He said the commission has made some reforms to enhance its fight against corruption, including the creation of the directorate of fraud risk assessment/control and ethics/integrity.

The EFCC chairman also told newsmen that, in the last one week, over 300 illicit foreign exchange accounts were frozen as their activities, if left unchecked, could lead to another crash in the value of the country’s currency.

“We got an order to freeze those accounts. Somebody would come and ask us, ‘what is your business with forex transactions? Some people are happy; they take pleasure in seeing this country boiling and I’ve come to realise that in the course of this work, some people want to see things go bad! From bad to worse”

Olukoyede said over $15 billion passed through one of the platforms in the last year, which was not regulated by financial regulators.

“There are people in this country doing worse than Binance,” he said.

More alarming, he said, is the existence of 419 training schools across the country. “We’ve discovered that, in almost all the states of Nigeria, all the sub-nationals, we have what we call ‘419 training schools’ where they harvest our children from primary schools.

“When they leave school, they end up in some of these 419 training schools. They start indoctrinating them. These are facts. They even ask their parents to sign an undertaking. After that, they induct them and some of these fraud tests start paying their school fees and indoctrinate them into cyber crime; as young as they are… Even children of those from wealthy homes are doing it now. It’s a trend!

“Now,  Nigeria’s yearly loss to internet fraud amounted to over $500 million. In one year! This is according to the Nigeria Communications Commission…”

The EFCC boss revealed that the agency has created a cybercrime research centre where convicted Yahoo Yahoo boys, would be trained to channel their knowledge to positive aspects of the society.

Africa Today News, New York

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