Former Senate President Bukola Saraki says the alarming increase in the number of reported cases of Nigerians engaged in cyber fraud is ruining the country's image in the global community.
Nigerians have been in the news in the past month for involvement in different acts of fraud across the world especially in the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Three separate Nigerian crime rings were indicted in the U.S. in June for involvement in business email compromise and romance fraud, defrauding dozens of victims of a combined $18 million.
Ramoni Igbalode, aka Hushpuppi, a famous Nigerian influencer, was also arrested by authorities in Dubai in June, accused of masterminding fraudulent operations to the tune of N168 billion, affecting over 1.9 million victims.
Obinwanne Okeke, aka Invictus Obi, a young Nigerian businessman, also pleaded guilty before a U.S. court to cyber fraud involving over $11 million.
In an article published on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, Saraki said the acts of the fraudsters affect Nigeria's economy, the inflow of foreign investments into the country, and international confidence in the Nigerian nation.
The 57-year-old further noted that they also have a damaging effect on other law-abiding Nigerians who travel across the world to study, work, and live peacefully.
"Every national or citizen is an ambassador of his country wherever he is.
"That is why the activities of these international fraudsters or internet scammers deserve tough and collective measures from all of us," he said.
The former Kwara governor said there's an urgent need for relevant individuals, groups, and government to take responsibility and tackle the menace of cyber frauds.
While proposing solutions, Saraki said the country must restructure its education system in such a way that it faces the realities of the modern world to prepare young Nigerians for its challenges.
"Our emphasis should shift from just possession of certificates to that of skill acquisition and developing the mind to nurse progressive ambition that will serve collective interest.
"There should also be inbuilt moral, patriotic and positive content in the knowledge impacted by education institutions to their students," he said.
He also proposed that the economy must be reinvented to reward hard work and make crime less appealing, while also noting the importance of mentoring by opinion leaders who will help in teaching young Nigerians good values, patriotism, and hard work.
The former senator also proposed that internet fraudsters should be effectively prosecuted and punished as quickly as possible to deter others.
Saraki said he has tasked The Africa Politeia Institute (TAPI), a public policy think tank, to conduct a study and propose a holistic solution aimed at discouraging the involvement of Nigerian youths in cyber fraud.