Yahoo boys have become very popular in Lagos State. The young envy them and because of crazy amount of money, even the elderlies adore them. This is a story about a Yahoo boy and his mother.
The timepiece on Bobo’s hands showed 11.15pm on the dot. A cloak of darkness had engulfed Alape Avenue as the street echoed in silence due to desertion. Insecurity during the pandemic has made everyone the wiser. Lagos State also had relaxed curfew time from 8pm to 10 pm.
The black gate to Mama Bobo’s residence was padlocked at this time. Bobo, in the company of three of his friends, stood in front of the gate and with his cell phone, he called his mother to come and open the metal gate.
Mother and son with three friends gingerly strolled through the silent compound. Prying eyes from the front neighbour trailed five shadows walking away from his mosquito netted window. He shook his head and violently hissed in disgust and disbelief. How the heck would a 50+ years old lady indulge her son with such friends at this odd hour when everybody was already indoors for safety reasons?
The only noise that tore through the silence was the hoarse blare from the Tiger generator.As Mama Bobo and the boys approached their Boys’ Quarters residence, the noise from the generator must have muffled the neighbour’s angry thoughts as he quickly retired to his bed.
The gory scenario of Nigeria’s economic landscape has been further mired by the worsening activities of cyber criminals known as Yahoo boys. The suffocating poverty, corrupt political leadership and a proliferation of internet service providers have provided the perfect breeding soil for the rising tide of global internet fraudsters. The “Yahoo Boys” phenomenon, despite the presence of law enforcement agencies, is ever on the increase.
Bobo Daniel Chukwudu, Damilola Ahmed, Felix Ndubisi and Karen Russell, at precisely 2am impersonated the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an American Manufacturing Company. They succeeded in transferring the sum of $82, 570. 00 (Eighty Two Thousand Five Hundred and Seventy US Dollars).
As it turned out, the four Yahoo boys successfully played a fast one by sending an email from personal@managements-securemail-office-portal ordering the account department of the company to transfer the said amount.
Bobo, at 2am immediately woke his mother up for the beginning of celebration. One single phrase from her son sent the elderly lady into a fit of frenzy: MAGA DON PAY! Literally means ‘The fool has paid’. The other boys were already in celebration mode popping a bottle of champagne. The small Tiger generator continued blaring, masking off shouts of jubilation. The quiet darkness of twilight finally took over the poor suburban neighbourhood in Lagos State where four internet criminals and a mother had successfully received money via internet fraud.
Three months later, the five of them were arrested following a petition from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Armed with the petition, the operatives of the Commission immediately swung into action and arrested the boys and Bobo’s mother. She was arrested while withdrawing money from one of the marked accounts used in receiving the stolen money.
An investigator with the EFCC explained how the official email address of the American Manufacturing company was hacked which led to the transfer the sum of $82, 570.
After the charges were read to the convicts, they pleaded guilty to the four-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences and were each sentenced to three years imprisonment.
The big poser is, “Would news about the conviction of an internet fraudster and his mother on a four-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of $82, 570, ever deter mothers like these?”
I dare say, NO! Already, some see these Yahoo boys as heroes. Parents, who are driven by poverty, have become so shallow minded and greed driven to the point of encouraging their children into the dastardly art of thievery via the internet.
In sympathy to the boys who got caught, James, the neighbour who watched Bobo’s mother open the gate for Bobo and his friends at the beginning of this article, said that the youths perpetrating these crimes are not a bunch of lazy hooligans. According to him, most of these youths don’t have the opportunity, the means, the avenue and the resources to empower themselves. “If you wish to learn Carpentry,” he said, “you’ll be asked to dole out at least a #100,000 before learning. This is one reason why the youths are frustrated. The youths cannot protest because our corrupt leaders are protected by the police and army. In addition, the Nigerian economy is just too harsh.”
Kachi, Bobo’s close friend also added that there are no jobs in the country. “Even Bobo himself is jobless.” He said, ” Most of these boys are graduates and if the government hadn’t failed us, these young men would have been very productive growing the economy of the country.” He added that the fraudsters are emulating the bigger Yahoo boys who are the government officials.