The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has arrested 48 suspects for alleged internet fraud in Benue, Taraba and Plateau States in nine months.
EFCC Zonal Head of Operations, Makurdi, Dr Johnson Babalola, who disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday in Makurdi, also said that 13 suspects were already under prosecution.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EFCC Makurdi Zone commenced operations in January.
Babalola said that the commission had secured 3 convictions so far, while the rest of the suspects were at various stages of investigations.
He said that the commission had launched a manhunt on internet fraudsters and intensified discreet investigations to apprehend them.
“One of the new phases of financial crime is internet fraud and it is a matter of common knowledge that Nigeria was represented negatively on the FBI list of internet fraudsters.
“We are all aware that the activities of these internet fraudsters are capable of eroding the credibility of Nigeria and Nigerians as well as causing problems for the integrity of our businessmen and women abroad.
“We have been monitoring the FBI list, even before the advent of that list, we have launched a manhunt on yahoo yahoo boys, (internet fraudsters) and that has led to the arrest of 48 suspects.
“13 of the suspects are being prosecuted and we have secured 3 convictions,” he said.
Babalola further disclosed that because of the deep-rooted corruption in the country, the commission was carrying out massive public enlightenment, targeting the youths in schools, motor parks, NYSC camps, among others.
He said that the commission also plans to request for the inclusion of corruption courses in Nigeria Universities curriculum for the award of degrees in corruption courses.
He said that the people needed to do more as a nation and as individual families to mitigate criminality in the land.
“At the moment, it is practically difficult to have a successful online engagement with a foreign partner without raising suspicion from their minds following the activities of internet fraudsters.
“Corruption is the major cause of underdevelopment in Nigeria. It is partly responsible for the kidnappings, armed robbery, among other crimes.
“The society prepares crimes but it is the people that commit such crimes. We need to do more as a nation and as individual families to end crime,” he said.