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The Yahoo Yahoo Trend: Abraka, A Case Study




Internet fraud popularly known as “yahoo yahoo” is more like a phenomenon that has become very common among many undergraduates in Nigerian Universities. It has become a way of life for most university undergraduates which has exposed them to a life of wealth and affluence.

Over the years, some of these internet con-artists have been caught by the law and sentenced to serve years in prison according to the magnitude of their crimes. For instance, Olasaidi Dare and
undergraduate of the Olabisi Onabanjo University was sentenced to five years imprisonment in April 2012, for an attempt to obtain money under false pretense in a cyber cafe. Another case was that of Imonina Kingsley an undergraduate of the University of Ilorin, who was sentenced by a Federal High Court In Kaduna to 20 years imprisonment on June 5, 2012 for defrauding an Australian of $1,000 by presenting himself as a gay person from the Republic of Benin. He was charged for impersonation, possession of fraudulent documents and attempting to obtain money by false pretenses.

The most recent case was that of the popularly known Instagram sensation, Ramon Olorunwa Abass and members of his gang who were arrested while sleeping at their Dubai residences. Abbas, popularly known as Huspuppi was arrested earlier in June along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry and 10 others. The 12 suspects were arrested in six simultaneous raids carried out by the e-police unit of the Dubai Police.

These cases and more corroborate the ubiquitous nature of internet fraud in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

However, our focus is going to center mainly on the Abraka community as a case study. The Abraka community located in Ethiope East Local Government of Delta State is home to the highly reputable institution of learning which is the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka Campus.The community hosts three sites of the prestigious university and has 80% of the university students living in the community (off campus).
Just like any other institution-based community, Abraka harbors a lot of undergraduates most of which are involved in internet fraud. According to some claims, 9 out of 10 boys in Abraka are involved in internet fraud one way or the other. Yahoo Yahoo as it is commonly called is organized along various areas of specialization in order to make a successful outcome of it. For instance, people involved in the act tend to study the security network of online transactions in order to decide where to place their focus. In order to achieve their aims, they make use of different schemes like sending fraudulent messages to online dating websites and social network sites while some employ another scheme called phishing, a technique used to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. ATM fraud is also another scheme of internet fraudsters to defraud unsuspecting illiterates, the old and physically challenged by feigning assistance to them and later swap their cards.

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The common means of collecting fraud money in Nigeria is through Western Union Money Transfer.Through compromised banking staff, yahoo boys are able to use fake identity to access funds. Meanwhile, for a successful execution of internet fraud, an insider within the bank is important.The banker facilitates payment without attracting the attention of security agencies. In return, they get their share of the funds. Some also have people outside the country who serve as intermediaries between the unsuspecting victims and the yahoo boys over here in Nigeria whose job is to collect the funds and transfer it to the account of the yahoo boy in Nigeria. They are commonly called “pickers”.

Speaking to some undergraduate students in Abraka on their thoughts and views on the reasons why most students engage in internet fraud, while some attributed the reasons to their poor family background, others claimed it was as a result of peer pressure and the need to belong.

Speaking to one of Oasis Magazine’s reporters,
a lady (under conditions of anonymity said: “I think most people are forced to go into yahoo yahoo because of their family background. People who come from not well to do homes tend to engage in internet fraud to support themselves in school”.

Meanwhile, another said, “I feel most Abraka students engage in yahoo yahoo to live a luxurious life on campus”.

Among other various reasons why Abraka students engage in internet fraud is the need to make ends meet, the need to belong and overcome intimidation from fellow undergraduate students.The messed up system is another factor that has led many of the Nigerian students to engage in internet fraud. A system were students struggle through their years in the university to come out into world where there is zero employment opportunities, a messed up system that does not care about the future of the youth and a lot of responsibilities resting on their shoulders.

Looking further, many argue that there have been various positive impacts of the “yahoo yahoo” phenomenon in Abraka community,both the positive and the negative.

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While some believe that is no good enough reason to get involved in internet fraud just like this writer believes, others think that the phenomenon has led to the development of the community in the sense that the Abraka community is a rural area. However, there have been various establishments of businesses in the community whose sole customers and patronizers are no other people than these “yahoo boys”.

Most of these businesses that are being opened almost everyday are equally owned by undergraduate students. Some of which belong to these yahoo boys. Even the bike riders and tricycle owners are not left out as they benefit from the patronage of the yahoo boys by rendering special services to them when needed.

The yahoo yahoo phenomenon has also enabled a huge percent of the students to sponsor themselves through their time in the university without help or support from family.

Truth, be told, endorsing this kind of lifestyle of internet fraudster under any guise is backing mental laziness and at the same time supporting the birth of a society that puts wealth ahead of a good name.

However, just as there are what some think are positive impacts, there are also the negative impacts.The yahoo yahoo phenomenon has in one way or the order led to the high rate of crime in the community. The need to feel among has led people who do not have the capacity to engage in internet fraud to engage in other criminal activities in order to make ends meet. Furthermore, it has also led people to engage in yahoo plus”, a higher version of internet fraud that involves engaging in fetish activities (rituals).This is why most past cases of unusual killings in the community have been attributed to yahoo plus.

The yahoo yahoo phenomenon has not only affected the male counterparts but the females too. Speaking to some female students, one said “What most girls are concerned about is how to buy the latest hair and use the latest iPhones, wear the latest outfits and party at the latest clubs, and it is yahoo boys that obviously fund that kind of lifestyle.”
This has led most undergraduate girls to engage in prostitution just so they can live up to the standard that the society has created as a result of the yahoo yahoo phenomenon. Unfortunately, many have fallen into the hands of ritualists who are also looking for means to live up to the standard.

The yahoo yahoo trend has had its impact in the Abraka community, the good and the bad. It is a trend that looks like it has come to stay as its eradication would seem like an impossible task to accomplish.

This writer is against the yahoo yahoo trend and therefore calls on parents, security operatives, the university management to do well to kick against yahoo yahoo and save the society from total collapse since Internet fraud has the capacity to increase tendencies like drug intake, prostitution and other criminal elements in the university town.

Written By:Abigail Thelma, Miracle Philips,Clarita Iyke, Miracle.O.


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