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  • Background of the Study

The current level of information and communication technology (ICT) has brought about renewed interest in the investment and innovative use of ICT for modern development. This is evident in the proliferation of the internet access point, the use of cell phones, ipads, pad, ATMs, credit cards, laptops and other internet devices (Amanyi, 2017).

The introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria (just as in other countries) has brought with it tremendous changes in socio–economic growth and development in different facets of Nigeria economy, banking, insurance, stock market, law, production, services, mailing among others. Paradoxically, ICT has also evolved to become a sophisticated tool in the hand of criminals for perpetrating different forms of cybercrime. Unintended consequences such as email scams, identity theft, impersonation, child pornography, organised crime and solicitation for prostitution, fake lotteries and scam text messages via Facebook, WhatsApp as well as cyberpiracy and a few of the vices that have become recurrent indices on the internet. A wave of fraudulent emails and other sharp practices referred to as “419” scams in Nigerian parlance pervade the entire web space.

An Internet scam according to Baah (2013) is any type of fraudulent scheme that uses one or more components of the internet such as chatrooms, email, message boards and websites to transmit the proceed of fraud to financial institutions or others connected to the internet.

Today, there are very few people whose lives are not affected beneficially and/ or harmfully by the technology of the internet era. Although Nigeria is one of the top cyber or internet scam-prone countries, not much literature have examined the dynamics of internet scam victimisation in Nigeria.

Internet crime is a serious problem in Nigeria, culminating in the listing of Nigeria as third on the role of the top ten Internet Crime Report (National White Collar Crime Center and Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010). The seriousness of this problem according to NWCCC and FBI (2010) can better be appreciated because, despite several interventions made by the Nigerian government and non-governmental organisations in tackling cybercrime and internet scam, Nigeria has for four consecutive years (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) ranked third on the list of world internet scam perpetrating countries.

Internet crime is at an old-time high in Nigeria as internet or cyber café owners, hoteliers and landlords sometimes collaborate with perpetrators (Adapu, 2008). Despite the effort of law enforcement agencies to tackle it, the internet scam is fast emerging (Lusthans, 2013). Clerker and Knake (2010:31) describe it as a system that people rely upon from bank to air defence without first defeating a country is traditionally defences.

The exponential growth of the internet and its global acceptance is generating increasing security threats. The internet scam creates unlimited opportunities for commercial, social and educational activities as well as a haven for societal mistreat to perpetuate their insidious act. In Nigeria, the internets continue to permeate every nook and crannies of the country and no one can predict the next dimension.

Despite the monumental growth in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adoption, the fundamental problem of erratic power supply, inadequate telecommunication infrastructure has always continued to hinder the nation from uninterrupted assess to innovative information technology applications such as e-government, e-commerce, telemedicine, teleconferencing and tale democracy. The current ICT penetration has brought renewed interest in the investment and innovation use of information and communication technology (Adeniran 2008). This is evident in the proliferation of internet access points, the use of cell phones, ipods, ipads, ATMs and credit cards.

With the increasing dependence on the internet for work, business and pass – time, the internet with all its associated challenges and risks have come to stay in Nigeria. However, not so many Nigerians are aware that the internet super high – way has been invaded by criminals and deviants who lurk around desperately looking for targets oftentimes, the unguarded, naïve and casual internet users fall prey to their antics. The problem of cybercrime victims is made worst by the seeming inability of law enforcement agents to effectively prosecute offenders. Law enforcement has not been able to keep up whit technological advances to prevent internet scams (Choi, 2016).

In Nigeria, youths especially undergraduates and unemployed have embraced the ICT inventions, such that the internet medium now takes a larger part of their daily activities. The varieties of applications offered by the net such as electronic mail ‘chart’ systems and internet messaging (IM) often serve as veritable grounds for carrying out nefarious ‘webonomics’ and other fraudulent activities by the youth (Adeniran 2008). This has significantly given birth to the emergence of yahoo-boys, 419ners sub-cultural among Nigerian youths, particularly in the urban centre. It is against this background that this research work on internet scams as modern social problems in Nigeria is constituted.

  • Statement of the Problem

Nigerian as a country over the past few years has been facing a lot of challenges ranging from the herdsmen-farmers clash, gunmen attacks, Boko Haram insurgency, bandits, corruption in a high place, among others. One of the major trending challenges in modern Nigeria that has affected the youthful population, is cybercrime. This is rampant which the easy access of ICT equipment such as laptops, computers, smartphones, etc. which is usually propagated through the use of the internet and social media handles. Therefore, with the high rate of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria, cybercrime has come to be an easy way among the youthful population of making millions in Nigerian society. It is against this background and circumstances that young graduates in contemporary Nigeria struggle at all costs to cut their pounds of flesh from unsuspecting victims via an internet scam.

What has motivated the researcher to carry out this study is that almost all the internet fraudsters arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) are youths. This has telling effects on the modern-day youths as they don’t want to work hard, but prefer lazing around with hope for quick money. This study, in line with the trending issues of cybercrime, sets out to examine cybercrime in modern society and its effects on the development of the youth. It shall make use of Tricia Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come to You By Chance. It is on this foundation, therefore, that these studies seek to explore the corridor of internet scams as a modern societal problem in Nigeria.

  • Purpose of the Study

There is no doubt that cybercrime is a nightmare for Nigerians not minding the opportunities presented by the internet. Some Nigerian global image youth have decided to turn their back on those opportunities and compelled by the “get–rich quick syndrome” have rather chosen the way of the underworld and use the internet for criminal means.

            The main purpose of this study is to examine cybercrime in modern society and its effects on youth development in Tricia Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come to You by Chance. Other specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. Examine the cybercrimes perpetrated by the characters in the novel.
  2. Determine the causes of cybercrime as presented by the writer.
  3. Find out the effects of this cybercrime.
    • Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the cybercrimes perpetrated by the characters in the novel?
  2. What are the causes of cybercrime as presented by the writer?
  3. What are the effects of this cybercrime?
    • Significance of the Study

The significance of this study can be seen as new knowledge to stakeholders such as parents, students, government, curriculum planners, future researchers and youths in general.

Parents will benefit from this study as they will come to know the effects of cybercrime on society. Therefore, they will play their roles in educating and disciplining their children against the excessive love for materials things. And also advise them against keeping bad company.

Students, especially those in higher institutions, will also benefit from this study because it will serve as a mirror to them. The ugly end of cybercriminals in the primary text will serve as examples to them therefore, they will absent themselves from cybercrimes.

At the end of the study, the government will see the reason why youths resort to cybercrime. Therefore, the government will as well provide jobs for the youths so that they will not be idle and resort to cybercrime. Furthermore, they will create awareness of the dangers of cybercrimes to serve as a deterrent to the youths.

Curriculum planners will come to understand that one of the contributing factors to cybercrime is idleness. Therefore, they will incorporate entrepreneurship education as a compulsory course of study from primary to tertiary institutions. This will give the youths the right skills they need to be financially independent.

When this study is completed, it will serve as reference materials to future researchers who would want to research in the same area. It will also add to the already existing body of knowledge on cybercrime and its effects.

The outcome of this study shall therefore serve as a portion of food for taught for the youths to reconcile their passion for knowledge with a hunger for money for the actualisation of dreams through the proper use of the internet.

  • Delimitation of the Study

The researcher is aware of other areas that pose a threat to modern society such as kidnapping banditry, terrorism and so on. However, this study shall cover cybercrime in modern society and its effect on the development of the youth. It shall be restricted to Nwaubani Adaobi Tricia’s I Do Not Come to You by Chance. This does not involve personal interviews and fieldwork. The study is restricted to textual analysis alone and deals with only aspects of the internet scam in the novel.

1.6. Operational Definition of Terms

Internet: This is an environment where people from different parts of the world come together for friendship, business purposes among others. It is the largest community in the world.

Cybercrime: This is collecting information, money or valuables from an individual through falsification of identity or deceit.

Youth: This is an individual who is between 18 to 40 years of age.

1.8. Bio-Data of the Author

Born in Enugu Nigeria, to Chief Sir Chukwuma Hope Nwaubani and Dame Patricia Ubenfe in Umahia, Abia state among the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria. At the age of ten, she left home to attend boarding school at the Federal Government Girl’s College Owerri. She studied psychology at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier university.

As a teenager, Nwaubani secretly dreamed of becoming a CIA or KGB agent. She earned her first income from winning a writing competition at the age of thirteen. Her mother is a cousin of Flora Nwapa, the first female African writer to publish a book.

Nwaubani was one of the pioneer editorial staff of Nigeria’s now-defunct NEXT newspapers, established by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Dele Olojede. She was the editor of E–lan, the fashion and style magazine of NEXT. She was letter appointed to the position of opinion editor. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to You by Chance won the 2010 commonwealth writer prize for the best first book (Africa) a Betty Trask First Book award and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009. Nwaubani is the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to have got an international book deal while still living in her home country. She lives in Abuja, Nigeria where works as a Consultant.

I Do Not Come to You By Chance is Nwaubani’s debut novel. It was published in 2009 set in the intriguing world of the Nigeria email scam, the book tells the story of a young man Kingsley, who turns to his Uncle Boniface for help in bailing his family out of poverty. Boniface – AKA Cash Daddy is an exuberant character who suffers from elephantiasis of the pocket. He also runs a successful empire of email scams. It’s up to Kingsley to reconcile his passion for knowledge and his hunger for money, and fully assume his role of firstborn (Opara).

Against all expectation, Nwaubani’s text was described by Time as the fast, fresh, and often hilarious first novel, by one of the remarkably talented young African writers who are rapidly making everyone else stale.


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  • Chapter 1 to 5
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