Nigeria

Group set to rehabilitate over 20 internet fraudsters

Velma Foundation, an NGO, says plans are underway to rehabilitate more than 20 internet fraudsters, otherwise known as yahoo boys.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday in Abuja, Mr David Ashaolu, the director of the group said that the plan would be actualised through the Velma Action to Reduce Cybercrimes (VELMA-ARC).

Ashaolu said VELMA-ARC was a social integration programme for the rehabilitation of cybercriminals.

According to him, those to be rehabilitated are those who had voluntarily submitted themselves for that.

“Velma-ARC targets individuals engaged in cybercrime activities who volunteer to desist from such activities and provide their expertise towards fighting cybercrimes in Nigeria.

“Many vibrant and tech-savvy youths caught in this web of cybercrime have expressed a desire to disengage and there is need for a strategic approach to ensure maximum impact.”

He added that the project would simultaneously address a combination of twin vices: youth unemployment and crime.

“Participants will acquire skill enhancements so that they can be gainfully employed and be further monitored for a period of six months to ensure complete rehabilitation.”

The director said the initiative was borne out of a need to change the bad impression cybercrime had given Nigeria globally.

“The scourge of cybercrimes has diminished our reputation in the international community.

“Recently, the United States government indicted about 80 Nigerians for being part of an international cybercrime racket.

“At home, the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) is actively investigating/prosecuting over a thousand cybercriminals commonly known as yahoo boys.

“The enactment of Cybercrime Prohibition Act In 2015 seems to have brought the hitherto obscure incidences of cyber crimes to limelight, rather than make them go away.”

According to him, laws alone cannot eradicate cybercrimes in Nigeria.

Ashaolu said that the pilot phase of the rehabilitation, which would hold in Ilesha, Osun state, would be run in partnership with the EFCC.

Also collaborating with the foundation on the project are the Nigeria Police, the Ministry of Justice and other ICT specific agencies.

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