By MOJOYINOLA ABD’AFEEZ
Tortured and humiliated, Africans were packed like sphaggeti in ships by the Europeans for slavery. They were transported to Europe and Americas through the deadly Atlantic Ocean. Many ended up in sharks’ mouths. Those who happened to get there by chance were forced into plantation. The men worked most times on the farm while the women spun cotton and served as cooks for their masters. In the process, Africans lost their identities. Their masters changed their names to soothe Caucasian masters. They were regarded as chattels of their masters. If they bore children, they added to their masters’ properties. The girls were raped. If they resisted, their masters would kill them. These happened around 15th to 19th century. Racism in Europe has its root from this slavery. This (slavery) has been the argument of Naira Marley, who is popular with his song Issa goal, on why Yahoo-Yahoo is not a crime. He said on his Instagram page: ” If you know about slavery you go know say Yahoo no be crime”. But is his justification justifiable?
Man by nature has the tendency to perpetrate evil acts. It is the constitution of the state and the scriptures that guide his actions and inactions. Everyone can pick up a gun and start shooting at innocent citizens. Everyone can rob another person’s hard-earned money. Everyone can lie, rape and kidnap another person. We all have the tendency to do evil things. But because we have respect for humanity, we follow the constitution or embrace the scriptures so as not to make the state, as Thomas Hobbes would put it, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. For there are rules in the society, a man who wants to murder a person will have a rethink and a man who wants to defraud someone will remember prison. The state’s constitution and the societal moral codes psychologically police the people.
However, it seems Naira Marley does not aware of the illegality or immorality of Yahoo Yahoo. Cybercrime Acts was passed into Law in 2015 so as to reduce and curb the rate of Cyber theft in Nigeria. The Acts criminalises a variety of offences, ATM card Skimming, Identity theft (impersonation of someone so as to defraud people) to possession of child pornography and lots. Those guilty of any of the offences will be imprisoned for seven years but additional seven years if the offender harm the victim physically; and life imprisonment if it leads to his death. On the other hand, slavery is not a justification for swindling people of their hard-earned money. As one cannot clean faeces on one’s body with urine, one cannot fight evil with evil— for two wrongs can not make a right. Slavery is not a reason to defraud people. Religion preaches against it. Humanity preaches against it. It is immoral. It shows inhumanity of man to man. Even if one accepts the line of argument of Naira Marley, it is still faulty. Would one say because Africans sold themselves as slave to one another too, thus Africa should be swindling one another? As a matter of fact, slavery existed in Africa even before the advent of the Europeans.
Nonetheless, we must not cover our faces from the realities of this country. Unemployment is one of the major causes of cybercrime in Nigeria. According to National Bureau of Statistics, about 20.9 million Nigerians are unemployed. This shows that very few graduates get employed after their graduations. And since many find it awkward to go back to their parents after their graduations, they find a means of getting something into their mouths. They care less where their means of livelihood comes from as long as they are getting money there. The ineptitude of government in tackling the issues of unemployment has made it rise more and more. Government can continue to criminalize Yahoo, if they don’t look into the root cause of it, it will continue to spread like wildfire.
Furthermore, the money syndrome that has overtaken the minds of some youths have also helped in the increase in the act. Our society glorifies materialism. We believe someone is not rich if s/he does not have several cars and houses. We all want to drive Benz at the presence of our colleagues. We want to boast of our wealth in our family. We want our loved ones to see the richness in what we wears. Thus, we find all means of plucking richness even if it is in devil’s mouth (ritual killing). That’s we!
Since music is the reflection of the society, many of these hip hop artists do not help in quenching the flame of Cybercrime for they want to have a name: they want popularity. Like Naira Marley, many of them glorify the act. For instance, Uzodinma Okpechi’s I Chop Your Dollar, he justifies cybercrime with poverty: “I don suffer no be small. All because I get sense. Poverty no good at all o, na im make me join this business. 419 no be thief, its just a game. Everybody dey play am, if anybody fall mugu..my brother i go chop am. You be the mugu, i be the master”.
Also, Olu Maintain’s Yahooze says the victims are to be blamed for they are greedy too. And he goes on to narrate how he will spend his money after swindling the ” maga”: “if I hammer, first thing na Hummer (Jeep), $1million dollar, elo lo maje ti n ba se si naira. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Boys dey hustle, Friday, Saturday, Sunday gbogbo aye, hennesy, champagne, mowet, for everybody..”
Increase in cybercrime has defaced Nigeria . Foreigners are very sceptical about our actions and inactions. They breed hatred for us. We are deprived of many international scholarships. At embassy, we are not respected. Thus, it is high time our leaders looked at other ways of combatting the menace. Songs that glorify cybercrime should be banned. The culprits should face the wrath of laws. Police should be reformed and they should be educated in fishing out the culprits. One’s dressing, haircut and having a laptop should not be seen as the yardstick for arresting someone. Let us hear no more of Kolade Johnson. Let us hear no more of killing innocent citizens!
God bless Nigeria!