Banks Lose Over N8 Billion to ‘Yahoo Yahoo Boys’ In 9 Months – EFCC 

Says ex-gov Bello Stole $720,000 from Kogi For Child's School  Fees

… Threatens To Resign If Belo Evades Prosecution

Daud Olatunji 

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, disclosed that Nigerian banks suffered staggering losses of over N8 billion due to cyber fraud perpetrated by ‘Yahoo Yahoo Boys’ within a nine-month period. 

This disclosure was made during an interactive session with media executives in Abuja on Tuesday.

Olukoyede lamented  the alarming prevalence of cybercrime in Nigeria, citing that a staggering 71 percent of companies operating in the country fell victim to such activities in 2022 alone. 

He narrated how cyber crime has hurt the companies and its negative effects in attracting direct foreign investment for the country.

He said “In 2022 alone, I’m waiting for the report of 2023, we discovered that more than 71 percent of Nigerian industries, companies and firms fell victim to cyber crime. 

“Now, which country or company would thrive with this kind of thing? “You want to attract foreign direct investment; the moment you come in, Yahoo boys will attack your platform. You start losing money and you think they would stay?

“Is that not what we are seeing? We are rescuing the future of Nigeria by going into this cyber crime investigation and prosecution.

“Now, within that period, the Nigerian economy lost $706 million (via) these companies through cyber crime, to the activities of these Yahoo Yahoo boys because we don’t take them seriously now, not knowing that we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder.

“The alarming statistics continued with Nigerian banks losing over N8 billion to electronic transfer fraud in the first  nine months of 2022.

“A system lost over N8 billion to a particular scheme of fraud and you are asking EFCC to close its eyes to that kind of situation. Are we even fair to ourselves?”

Furthermore, the EFCC chairman highlighted the global repercussions of cyber fraud, revealing how former Governor Yahaya Bello allegedly transferred a hefty sum of $720,000 from Kogi State’s account to pay for his child’s school fees.

 Bello, who is now on a global watchlist, faces charges related to financial misconduct during his tenure.

The EFCC’s efforts to combat cybercrime have intensified, with over 300 illicit foreign exchange accounts frozen in the past week alone. 

Olukoyede stressed the need for stringent measures to prevent another currency devaluation, citing the unchecked activities of individuals exploiting unregulated financial platforms.

Moreover, Olukoyede raised concerns about the proliferation of “419 training schools” across Nigeria, where young individuals are indoctrinated into cybercrime from a tender age.

 He revealed that Nigeria’s yearly losses to internet fraud amounted to over $500 million, according to the Nigeria Communications Commission.

Despite these challenges, the EFCC remains committed to its mandate of combating corruption and cybercrime. 

Olukoyede announced the establishment of a cybercrime research center aimed at reorienting convicted cybercriminals towards positive contributions to society.

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