- Young men involved in cyber fraud in Nigeria are said to be leaving the country in droves
- This is as the FBI and EFCC have reportedly launched a massive man-hunt on the men known as 'yahoo boys'
- While many have gone underground, those with the means have fled to some West African nations and even beyond
A report by Daily Sun indicates that most of the young men in Nigeria with questionable source of living are currently on the run.
According to the report, the men are leaving the country in droves days after the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, vowed to fish out Nigerians indicted in the recent United States wire scam.
While many have gone underground, those with the means have fled to some West African nations and even beyond the sub-region to evade arrest.
Recall that on Thursday, August 22, a 252-count federal grand jury indictment charged 77 Nigerians for alleged involvement in a massive conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through a variety of fraud schemes and launder same through a Los Angeles-based money laundering network uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.
The indictment alleges that the defendants and others used various online fraud schemes – including business email compromise (BEC) frauds, romance scams, and schemes targeting the elderly – to defraud victims out of millions of dollars.
While two defendants were already in federal custody on other charges, a few others were arrested last week, with the remaining suspects believed to be in Nigeria. The EFCC has since promised to assist FBI in extraditing those indicted.
Several big-time ‘Yahoo boys’ operating in Nigeria are said to have since fled the country for fear that the FBI-backed EFCC investigation might affect them.
They reportedly moved to neighbouring West African countries, especially Ghana and Gambia. Others are in South Africa while those who still have clean records have chosen to stay in Dubai till further notice.
An ex-convict, Okechukwu Madu who was recently deported to Nigeria after serving five years jail term in UK over internet fraud said that EFCC will take advantage of the FBI alert to arrest small-time players.
His words: “In Nigeria, if you know your game, EFCC will not arrest you. We have gotten information on the people that they are looking for and most of them are out already. If you hear that they caught anyone, it must be these small-time players. The big boys are the investors and most of them are spread across African countries; all they need is a computer and link to their accomplices.
“I am not afraid because I have served my term in UK before they deported me. Some of us were lucky that we invested in the country, which is why despite all the money that they took from us, we can still survive in this country. In fact, Nigerian government should be happy that we bring this money back to Nigeria, unlike some of them who prefer to buy houses and deposit our money in foreign countries. This matter will surely end one day, the secret is to try not to be caught.”
Reacting to the development, a top official of EFCC said, “We’re on their trail. We’ve increased surveillance at all the country’s borders and have enlisted Interpol’s service. We will get these fraudsters and Yahoo boys because we have deployed different technologies. Abuja and Lagos are under heavy surveillance.
“We’re also in the south-south because we believe anywhere you have higher institutions is a natural hub for Yahoo business. We’ve spread dragnets everywhere. The entire country is under surveillance. Raids are coming, but they would be covert. If they like, they should run to anywhere in the world, in due course, we will get them.”
Meanwhile, Festus Keyamo, minister of state for Niger Delta affairs, has confirmed that he is friends with Jerry Ikogho, one of the cyber fraud suspects apprehended by the FBI.
A picture of Keyamo and Ikogho have been trending on micro-blogging site, Twitter, sparking different reactions.
Ikhogo is number three on the 77-man list of Nigerian fraud suspects released by the FBI on Thursday, August 22.
Keyamo confirmed that he and Ikogho were born in Ughelli, Delta state, and grew up as childhood friends.
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