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1.1 BACKGROUND TO STUDY
Crime remains pervasive and forever strives to hide itself in the face of development. As measures and techniques for detecting crimes and criminals advance, criminals also look for means of hiding from these measures. Crime is one of the human security problems confronting humanity across the world. Nations have grappled to contain the rising incidence of homicide, armed robbery, and kidnap, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, illegal gun running and host of others.
Obano (2007:17) asserts that the internet currently serve as a hiding place for fraudsters who have simply migrated from the streets to an electronic platform. Okonigini (2002:25) defines computer crime as criminal activities, involving information technology infrastructure, including illegal access of computer data from or within a computer. Similarly, Asokhia (2003:49) asserts that cybercrime; popularly called “YAHOO” is an off-shoot of advance fee fraud which became popular in the early 90s. Today, it has produced “YAHOO” as its first offspring with mostly young people (most especially the unemployed) as its practitioners.
Different nations have adopted different strategies to contend with crimes depending on their nature and extent. Certainly, a nation with high incidence of crime cannot grow or develop. For Nigeria, a nation in the process of saving her face regarding cybercrimes, efforts are now being directed at the sources and channels through which cybercrimes are being perpetuated the most. [Chiemeke (2008:32)].
Martins (2008:47) assert that “YAHOOISM” is an act of cybercrime that defrauds unsuspecting victims in foreign countries of their hard-earned money. In some instance, the unsuspecting victim is used to defraud banks, postal agencies, shops, etc. the yahoos (perpetrator) sends fake cheque or postal money orders to victims in any of the following countries: Canada, United States of America and other European countries or Asia as the case may be. He further notes that when the cheques or money order are cashed, the victim is told to send the money through Western Union Money transfer in Nigeria, while in other cases, the victim is told to send the money to another country where the yahooist has built networks over time.
The mode of money collection is usually dependent on the modus operandi the yahooist uses. In similar vein, Alemika (2007:15) notes that in Nigeria today, cybercrime has found its root in the society. Like a cankerworm it has eaten deeply in the society and finally been accepted by the same society. It is difficult to deny youth support of the menace with yahooze shirts, yahooze dance steps, yahooze songs from the likes of Olu Maintain. Even some young people identify themselves as yahoo boys and girls. Similarly, Martins (2008:43) notes that the paramount classification of yahooism as a branch of cybercrime and transitional crime is not only expedient in understanding its mystery, but propounding a lasting solution when considering curbing the menace. Yahooism is the fastest growing transnational crime in recent times, especially in Nigeria
The persistence and rise of crime continues to damage the social fabric of the society especially in Nigeria. Crime is not a new phenomenon both locally and internationally but the intensity and nature of crime is different within different borders. Crime also does not distinguish between the developed and developing countries such as Nigeria which continue to grapple with the effects of increased incidences of criminal activities in its areas.
Crime, according to Taylor (2006) could be seen as a fault of the social system whose institutions do not work equally for all its members. Sociologists look at the social in which individuals find themselves. Could it be that the problem lay not with the individual but in the social condition under which the individual live? The concern here is why people should exhibit behavior that is in violation of established norms, violations that may ultimately result in their being labeled as criminal behavior in terms of social processes.
What is more is that these crimes appear to be increasing rapidly according to the statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (2009:248). Exactly fourteen years after the return of Nigeria to Civil rule, most Nigerians, are disillusioned over the prospects of democracy, which they have fought and laboured to enthrone. According to Chief Supo Shonibare, an Afenifere Chieftain, rather than peace, stability and unity, the last five years have only bred poverty, joblessness, political strife, crime and insecurity. (Thomas, 2004:10).
This trend has led to an incontrovertible assertion that Nigeria has a “crime problem”.
According to Odekunle 1977, a Nigerian criminologist, a crime problem is: A chronic and recalcitrant situation in which the occurrence of crime is systematic rather than random; in which the incidence is high and the phenomenon prevalent; in which crime takes a definite character complexity, and the organization; in which all sections and sectors of the population are participating in its perpetration; in which control and correctional instrumentalities are rendered virtually ineffective and are consequently driven to self-defeating repressive measures; and in which the loss and distress caused by actual criminal victimization or the fear, anxiety and helplessness about potential victimization are pervasive and observable in the population. Mostly, persons known to commit cybercrimes as reported in the crime index are poor, uneducated, often unemployed and residents of low income neighborhoods (Anasi, 2010).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria according to Wikipedia is said to be 7th largest oil producing country in the world, but nevertheless, the majority of Nigerians are still living in poverty. Nigeria is also rated amongst one of the most corrupt countries of the world. Internet usage in Nigeria has grown rapidly resulting in the explosion of Internet Service Providers (ISPS) and Internet Access Point creating an increase in the positive impacts on the socio-economic and educational developments in the country.
Unfortunately, the country’s image has also suffered as a result of the unscripted activities of some Nigerians using the internet as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities. The major implication of the unconscious acceptance of this menace in the Nigerian society in the nearest future has created a high level of disinterest in education and touting among young people.
In Nigeria today, young people mostly youths are the ones who engage in this form of anti-social behaviour for the purpose of living a life of splendour. In recent times Nigeria has been labelled as a corrupt nation. There is a need for the Nigerian government to do something fast and urgent to curb this menace of cybercrime.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- To determine the extent to which the youth in Mararaba Nasarawa State are involved in cybercrime.
- To ascertain the factors that tends to cause young people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria.
- How is cybercrime managed in Mararaba Nasarawa State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- In what way do Nigerian youths perceive cybercrime?
- What are the ways Federal Government can curb the continued spread of cybercrime among Nigerian youth and the general public?
- Is the internet used as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities?
- What are the factors that tend to cause people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: Cybercrime is not connected with delinquent behavior.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study on cybercrime in Mararaba Nasarawa State will be useful to law enforcement agencies
It will bring to the fore the causes, most prevalent form of crime, problems in fighting crime as well as possible solutions. This will help the law enforcement agencies in laying strong foundations in combating cybercrime in the country.
This study will provide information on the depth of criminal activities and enable the government to know the need to ensure security to its citizens. It will create awareness on those barriers militating against proper security of lives and properties in major cities. The government will see the need to properly equip the security agencies and the need to provide incentives for the personnel for instance through seminars/workshops, regular in-service training, regular promotions and payment of salaries.
This will add to the body of knowledge on causes as well as trends in cybercrime in urban areas and will serve as a guide to other researchers who may have interest in cybercrime study.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focused on the perception of cybercrime among Nigerian youths, using Mararaba Metropolis as the study group. A major limitation of the group is the samples were only from Mararaba Metropolis where it was chosen as the area in carrying out this research.
This finding is based on the results gathered from Mararaba Metropolis in Nasarawa State on the perception of cybercrime among Nigerian youths.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY
For the purpose of this study, the following assumptions were made:
- It is assumed that Nigeria youths are aware of cybercrime.
- That poverty is the major reason why youths engage in cybercrime in Nigeria.
- That peer pressure contributes to the increase of cybercrime in Nigeria.
- That Nigerian youth are educated on the use of the cyber all the time.
1.10 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Perception: Caritas student’s attitude towards cybercrime among Nigerian youths.
Cyber: The use of computers, information systems or the internet by the Nigerian youths.
Crime: The display of illegal act characterized by decent, contentment or violation of trust of the youths.
Youth: It is when a young person is young especially the time before a child becomes an adult.