24th of May, 2019.
An embattled Nigerian upcoming act, Afeez Fashola with the street name Naira Marley was on 10th of May, 2019, arrested in company of rapper, Zlatan Ibile, Rahman Jago, Gucci Branch and one other in his residence by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission on the charges bordering on cybercrime, possession of counterfeit cards and conspiracy to obtain gain.
Few days after their arrest that got massive media attention and mixed criticism, Zlatan Ibile, Rahman Jago and two others regained their freedom, shifting full attention to Naira Marley’s ordeal in the hands of Economic and Financial Crime Commission, who are determined to at all cost, bring the alleged fraudster to justice.
Nigeria, in the past one decade, have been plagued with cyber related crimes which has spread to the nook and cranny of the country, though, many agreed that the cause of this social vice can not be separated from the poor economic structure in the country and ineffectiveness of government’s anti-cybercrime agencies overtime.
In the global ranking of cybercrime, Nigeria was reported to have climbed up the ladder in 2017 as the 3rd worst nation, where internet crimes prevails in large quantity, sitting only behind United Kingdom and the United States. This, to a great extent, has dangerous effect on both the nation’s global reputations and individual’s legitimate transactions with their business associates overseas.
The Nigerian government in a bid to rebuilding the almost soiled reputation of the most populous black nation in the world, initiated a clampdown on all cyber criminals in the country through the activities of Economic and Financial Crime Commission, one would have thought this move by the government would reduce cyber crime activities in the country, but on a contrary, what the country is witnessing, is the large influx of Yahoo-Yahoo culture to every nooks and crannies of the country. No thanks to most Nigerian hip hop stars, who, in most of their lyrics, encourage and celebrates top notch cyber crime perpetrators.
On 11th of May, 2018, The Economic and Financial Crime Commission rounded up some top notch ‘Yahoo Boys’ at the popular and expensive club57 in Lagos State, the details of the operation was made public via their Instagram page;
It said: “EFCC operatives stormed the popular Club 57 on Awolowo Way, where the suspected “yahoo yahoo boys” were rounded up, following intelligence report.
“While some of the suspects abandoned their exotic cars to avoid arrest, some others put up resistance, thereby turning the environment into a war-like zone of sorts.
“However, a total 10 cars were recovered from the suspects during the raid that lasted about three hours,
The suspects will soon be charged to court when investigations are concluded”
One would expect that such raid, that took the EFCC personnel 3hours to deal with, would at least be thoroughly investigated and all alleged, if found wanting, would be brought to justice but alas, both the investigation and charges didn’t meet the light of the day, perhaps, what is worthy of note in that story, is the fact that the “alleged runaways” are more bigger and well known than Naira Marley in the game of cybercrime activities.
One might want to ask, why is Naira Marley’s case different?? Why is the EFCC hell bent on bringing him to justice by all means?, this might not be far fetched from a live Instagram session where Marley, after much wrong intake of india Hemp and other unknown mixed concussions, publicly declared his Love and full support for cyber crime to thrive in the country, at a time when the EFCC was all searching for a top public figure without any political backing in the country to serve as scape goat.
Public encouragement and supports for cybercrime by top public figures, mostly Nigerian hip hop stars, is a common phenomenon that a typical Nigerian must have got used to but perhaps, Naira Marley should just be nicknamed as the “Unlucky One’ for not having the right connect in the political sphere in the country.
One can only hope that on 30th of May, 2019 fixed for the bail hearing of the embattled artist, justice would prevail regardless of who it favors or not.
In all, myself, Rahman Jago, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Olamide and 4984 others wish him Allah’s Grace to scale through his self inflicted ordeal.