Technology experts from various fields have cautioned the Federal Government to address the country’s growing population and close the socioeconomic divide, or face more local and international incidents of cyber fraud involving Nigerians.
Mr Desmond Okeowo, the Chief Executive Officer of Enviroque Technologies Ltd and a presidential candidate for the African Democratic Party in the 2019 elections, bemoaned the large number of Nigerians indicted and imprisoned for cyber fraud, also known as 419.
In an interview with Saturday PUNCH, the IT expert expressed concern about Nigeria’s rapid population growth, attributing the trend to an increase in cybercrime.
According to a 2020 Sustainable Development Goals report by the United Nations, among the 10 largest countries in the world, Nigeria is growing the most rapidly.
“Consequently, the population of Nigeria, currently the world’s seventh largest, is projected to surpass that of the United States and become the third largest country in the world shortly before 2050,” the report says.
Checks by our correspondent showed that, while over 100 unidentified Nigerians around the world have been arrested since 2016 for their involvement in cyber fraud cases, at least 31 identified Nigerians were arrested in the United States, Thailand, Ireland, India, the Philippines and Malta in the five-year period.
Okeowo argued that the infamy arising from Nigerians’ involvement in cybercrimes around the world “boils down to the choices the people we call our leaders made for us.”
He added, “If they get it right, the youths will go back to work and fraud will be less attractive. If they don’t get it right, they should gear up to continually see this kind of situation.
“The Federal Government should go on a campaign of reducing how we give birth to children. There are so many children now. People are just giving birth to kids without any birth control whatsoever. All these kids want to eat and clothes themselves. We are creating a serious calamity all over the world.
“To be a Nigerian now with a Nigerian passport, everybody treats you like a thief, especially if you are in a certain age group. So, the government should look into that.”
Okeowo advised the government to look into socialism, saying people should not have to earn N10m or N15m before they could afford a car.
“Invite auto manufacturers to assemble their cars here. The government should make sure people who have jobs can access jobs with N5,000, N20,000 or N50,000 a month. If things are affordable like this, then nobody will look for money to survive,” Okeowo added.
He said: “As a nation, we are not creating that atmosphere to develop our young people. We graduate students every year, turn them out from school, but they don’t have jobs to do. That is why we have a high crime rate – kidnapping and 419.’’