How 17-year-old boy mesmerised me with his internet fraud skills – Olukoyede, EFCC chairman

Friday Ajagunna
Friday Ajagunna
Ola Olukoyede

Ola Olukoyede, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has recounted how a 17-year-old boy mesmerised him with his internet fraud skills.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the EFCC chairman said the boy was able to decipher his banking details, including the bank verification number (BVN), by just knowing his mobile phone number.

“I brought in a 17-year-old who is studying history and anthropology. He is not doing anything science. He sat there in my office in Lagos and demonstrated something to me on my laptop. He asked for my (phone number, and through it, he got my BVN. He mentioned the name of my account without me telling him anything,” Olukoyede said.

The EFCC chairman said the commission is not interested in sending internet fraudsters to jail but in rehabilitating them for better purposes. On our own, we plead for a light sentence for them, so we can reorientate them. What joy will I derive from sending a 17-year-old to jail? You would have destroyed his future, and you would have destroyed his career. Most times, they are given the option of a fine.

“We bring them back, lecture them, and talk to them. This particular boy, when I asked him why he does what he does,. He said both of his parents are farmers and could not go to the farm because of insecurity. He is the one feeding his parents. He is the one responsible for the tuition of his younger ones. As much as I wanted to do my job, I saw Bill Gates in the guy. I told him, If he gets out of this, I will personally take responsibility for his schooling.”

Olukoyede said the anti-graft agency is setting up a cybercrime research centre where internet fraudsters will be reoriented.

“Now we are coming up with what we call a cybercrime research centre as a part of the projects in our new academy where we would bring some of these boys during vacation, the way they are capturing them, the way we have 419 training schools. We are going to come up with a hub that would help us channel those skills towards positive things,” he said.

In March, Olukoyede said the agency has plans to rehabilitate convicted internet fraudsters with shorter sentences.

He told the delegation of the National Association of University Students (NAUS) that the rehabilitation would be a potent way of reorienting the minds of the convicts and redirecting their productive energies to positive endeavours.

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