Suleman Ibrahim, a PhD researcher, Information Security Group, Royal Holloway University of London recently published a very interesting article titled “The view that ‘419’ makes Nigeria a global cybercrime player is misplaced“.
This unfortunate generalisation, especially in the media, has a far-reaching negative impact on the overall image of Nigeria as a nation. It’s become the prism with which most Nigerians are viewed and judged globally.
It stems from the country’s vulnerability in a specific category of cybercrime known as ‘419’ and its offshoots.
The most widely known component of ‘419’ is cyber fraud – the culprit behind the blanket labelling of most Nigerians as cyber-criminals.
But cybercrime, in essence, encompasses a wide range of crimes other than cyber fraud. These online crimes include cyber stalking, cyber hate speech, cyber espionage, cyber terrorism, cyber-colonialism, revenge porn and cyber bullying among others. Nigeria is exclusively implicated in cyber fraud. The country has no significant record of other forms of cyber crimes such as cyber espionage, cyber stalking and revenge porn found predominantly in Western nations.
The key point here is that the term ‘cybercrime’ is misleading which is why it’s reasonable to call into question Nigeria’s reputation. It’s an image nonetheless buttressed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its Internet Crime Complaint Centre which has ranked Nigeria third in the world behind the US and UK.
But the FBI centre’s claims are problematic because in Nigeria cybercrime is exclusively cyber fraud (or scam). What constitutes ‘cybercrime’ in most Western nations differs from the particularities of cybercrime in Nigeria. They differ possibly because jurisdictional cultures and nuances apply online as they do offline.
I have also questioned this unfair labeling of Nigeria in one of my news commentaries.
Categories: Cyber Crime