Nigeria’s battle against cybercrime has reached alarming proportions, with the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ola Olukoyede, revealing that the country lost over $500 million to internet fraudsters, commonly known as Yahoo Boys, in 2022. This revelation was made during an event where the Global Peace Movement International (GPMI) honored Olukoyede with the “Man of Valour” Award.

VERIFIED: Nigerians can now earn US Dollars with premium domains just like Americans, acquire for as low as $1200 and you profit $19000 (₦23million). Click here to start.

Mr. Olukoyede highlighted the severe economic repercussions of cybercrime on Nigeria. In 2022, 71 international companies exited Nigeria due to their accounts being compromised by hackers. This mass exodus of businesses has not only dented Nigeria’s economy but also tarnished its reputation on the global stage.

“We lost over $500 million in our economy to Yahoo Boys,” Olukoyede stated. “The statistics are there. In the same year, about 71 international companies left Nigeria because they hacked their accounts.”

The EFCC Chairman also discussed the broader implications of cybercrime on Nigeria’s financial credibility. Due to the high incidence of internet fraud, Nigeria struggles with poor credit ratings, limiting access to international financial services. Nigerian citizens often find themselves unable to obtain credit cards, having to rely instead on debit cards. Furthermore, certain international merchants refuse to accept Nigerian cards on their platforms.

“Do you know that there are some international merchants that you cannot use Nigerian cards on their platforms?” Olukoyede asked. “Display your Green Passport outside the country and see if they will not take you aside and search you thoroughly.”

Corruption remains a persistent challenge in Nigeria, and Olukoyede lamented the significant resources required to combat it. He pointed out that for every N10 recovered by the EFCC, over N50 had been stolen, and recovering that N10 typically costs about N2.50k.

Olukoyede assured Nigerians of his commitment to fighting corruption, emphasizing the need for preventive measures. “We decided to go by the way of prevention and I set up a directorate of Fraud Risk Assessment and Control (FRAC). With this Directorate, we are going into MDAs and monitoring real-time the implementation of budgets. As money is being released, we will be tracking it.”

Olukoyede called on all Nigerians to join the fight against economic and financial crimes. He stressed that the collective effort of citizens is crucial for tackling the scourge of corruption and cybercrime.

“Bewailing the scourge of corruption in the country, Olukoyede promised not to disappoint Nigerians and not to spare the corrupt,” the EFCC chief declared. “He charged Nigerians to fully embrace the fight against economic and financial crimes in the overall interests of the nation.”

The EFCC’s strategy under Olukoyede’s leadership aims to shift from reactive to preventive measures in combating financial crimes. By establishing the Fraud Risk Assessment and Control (FRAC) directorate, the EFCC plans to closely monitor the implementation of government budgets and ensure the proper allocation and use of funds.

Olukoyede’s message is clear: the fight against cybercrime and corruption requires vigilance, proactive measures, and the cooperation of all Nigerians. Only through a united front can the country hope to restore its financial integrity and regain the trust of the international community.