NGO seeks law to reform Yahoo Boys in Nigeria

A Non-Governmental Organisation, VELMA Foundation, on Friday kicked against the imprisonment of cyber criminals, popularly known as Yahoo Boys in Nigeria, saying such punishment had not addressed the problem.

The Director and Project Manager of VF, David Ashaolu, stated this in an interview with The Punch in Abuja during the unveiling of Velma Action to Reduce Cybercrimes.

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 He said, “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is actively involved in more than 1,000 cyber criminal cases in Nigeria. Before the passage of the Nigerian Cybercrime Prohibition Act in 2015, it could have been 10-15 per year. They will bring it under the Advanced Fee Fraud Prohibition Act and under the Criminal Code and Penal Code Breach of Trust and Obtaining by False Pretences.

 “But since the passage of the Nigerian Cybercrime Prohibition Act, it has become criminal in Nigeria and that has increased the workload on the EFCC. Our approach is simple, if you make a Yahoo Boy repent, you have saved hundreds of victims that he would have reached out to, make him better for the society and also save him from going to prison. Over 20 have already registered with us and we are starting with them in January.

 “The Nigerian Cybercrime Prohibition Act may be amended to provide for rehabilitation. There are lesser criminal acts which do not necessarily lead to imprisonment.

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 He added, “The National Assembly should enact a new law entirely that prohibits incarceration or imprisonment for first time non-violent offenders. It is even wrong to put that kind of person together with a murderer or rapist in prison. So, for non-violent first-time offenders, instead of imprisonment, they should be rehabilitated. Those are the ways the National Assembly should intervene.” Punch
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