PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF CYBERCRIME ON COMMUNICATION AMONG YOUTHS IN CALABAR

PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF CYBERCRIME ON COMMUNICATION AMONG YOUTHS IN CALABAR

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CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

Background of study

Crime remains pervasive and forever strives to hide itself in terms of communication i.e in a manner that the perception of individual in information dissemination online is at risks and in the face of development. As measures and techniques for detecting crimes and criminals advance, criminals also look for means of hiding from these measures. 

Obano (2007:17) asserts that the internet is a platform where information can be pass to different audience but now, the internet currently serve as a hiding place for fraudsters who have simply migrated from the streets to an electronic platform.

Okonigini (2002:25) defines computer crime as criminal activities, involving information technology infrastructure, including illegal access of computer data from or within a computer.

      Although, cybercrime is being perpetrated all across the world, Nigeria has become a fertile ground for such nefarious activities.  According to a report by Internet Crime Complain Centre (2010), Nigeria ranked third among the top 10 countries of the world in cybercrime perpetration.  The global view of Nigeria as a country has been dampened by the activities of these "yahoo boys".   Cybercrime has taken us aback in Nigeria and the world over (Ayoku 2005). The cyberspace is now a hiding platform for criminals to execute their dastardly acts, (Akinola 2006). Through this platform, fraudsters have been given a tool that facilitates their contact with potential victims and makes it harder to trail, unlike the crude methods of crimes (Longe&Chiemeke, 2008). The degree of vagueness which the internet provides for users has influenced cyber criminal operations in Nigeria (Wang 2007).  Nigerian youths have embraced these ICT inventions in their usual mobile telephony and global telecasts such as Facebook, Skype, Twitter, 2go, Whatsapp and Blackberry pinging etc. As the internet continues to expand and become indispensable in our communication and social life, the inevitable inference will be that, our society is going to be increasingly dependent on fragile and insecure information structure (Adeniran 2006).

      Different nations have adopted different strategies to contend with crimes depending on their nature and extent. Certainly, a nation with high incidence of crime do have a big problem in information dissemination in the cyberspace and therefore cannot grow or develop. For Nigeria, a nation in the process of saving her face regarding cyber crimes, efforts are now being directed at the sources and channels through which cyber crimes are being perpetuated the most. [Chiemeke

(2008:32)].

Obviously, the initial intent for advancing Internet for man on planet earth was not to perpetuate crimes, but wiring the world together through ICT has automatically merged the GARDEN and the WILDERNESS. The activities of cybercriminals on the internet are casting a dark shadow on the comfort, convenience and reliability of internet users. For Sylvester (2001), cybercrimes thrives on the Web because the Internet mechanism does not allow a user to selectively reject messages. Thus making him or her susceptible to malicious and unwanted messages capable of causing havoc. Therefore, the internet is free for all, no identity, no boundary, and its breeds cybercrime (Agboola, 2006).

It is difficult to deny youth support of the menace with yahooze shirts, yahooze dance steps, yahooze songs from the likes of Olu Maintain. Even some young people identify themselves as yahoo boys and girls. 

Similarly, Martins (2008:43) notes that the paramount classification of yahooism as a branch of cyber crime and transitional crime is not only expedient in understanding its mystery, but propounding a lasting solution when considering curbing the menace. The above background is the foundation upon which this study and its essence are rested.   

Statement of Problem

Computerization significantly eases the performance of many tasks. For example, the speed and ability to communicate with people is fostered by the Internet, a worldwide network that is used to send communiques and provide access to the world-wide web. But this same speed and ability to communicate also opens the door to criminal conduct. Cyber crime plays a significant role in the criminal law of the information age.

The rate of cyber criminality has become a disturbing phenomenon as individuals report cases of scam text messages about winning 'promos' and scam emails on tempting and attractive business proposals (State CID, 2012)  A typical example of such scam text message sent to a student of the Department of Mass Communication, Cross River University of Technology(crutech), Calabar on the 2nd of October, 2015 read as follows, "Your cell number has been awarded #10,000,000 in the ongoing Nokia promo, for claims send your name, account number to [email protected]”.  Many may have fallen victims to such scams. The frequent occurrence of these cases and how people fall victims instigated the quest to find out if becoming a victim of cybercrime or not depends on the level of awareness on cybercrime activities.

The problem of cyber crimes in Nigerian is an off shoot of other numerous problems confronting the nation. Some of these problems are caused by mismanagement on the parts of the leading elites, while some others are caused by lack of value orientation on part of citizens. The get rich quick syndrome and our crave for materialism have surfaced through various factors and facets. Hard work is not rewarded in Nigerian. The rich is worshiped and followed without questioning the source of the wealth. This has led to moral earthquake among the citizens.

Internet usage in Nigeria has grown rapidly resulting in the explosion of Internet Service Providers (ISPS) and Internet Access Point creating an increase in the positive impacts on the socio-economic and educational developments in the country.

Unfortunately, the country’s image has also suffered as a result of the unscripted activities of some Nigerians using the internet as a channel for the dissemination of information in the perpetration of criminal spamming activities. 

The major implication of the unconscious acceptance of this menace in the Nigerian society in the nearest future has created a high level of disinterest in the authenticity of communication sources, education and touting among young people

In Nigeria today, young people mostly youths are the ones who engage in this form of anti-social behaviour for the purpose of living a life of splendour.

In recent times Nigeria has been labelled as a corrupt nation. There is a need for the Nigerian government to do something fast and urgent to curb this menace of cyber crime. The question is, is it that the traditional values of our country cannot find a place in the hearts of our youths utilizing the internet? Or is it that the government of Nigeria has become so helpless that nothing can be done about unreliable and harmful communication for the purpose of commiting crimes in the internet?

    To answer these questions and to generally evaluate the impact of cybercrimes on information dissemination in Calabar, this study is undertaken.

Objectives of the study

The aim of this study is to examine the perception of the impact of cybercrimes on communication among Nigeria youths using Calabar as a case study.

Specifically, the following will be the objective of this study:

1. To find out how Nigerian youths perceive cybercrime.

2. To find out how the Cross River State Government has been curbing cybercrime among Nigeria youths resident in Calabar.

3. To ascertain the factors that tends to cause young people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria in general and Calabar in particular.

4. To ascertain how cybercrime affect credibility of information through the internet.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions have been formulated to guide this study:

      1. How do Nigerian youths perceive cybercrime?

       2. How has the Cross River State Government been curbing cybercrime among youths and the general public in Calabar?

       3. What are the factors that tend to cause people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria in general and Calabar in particular?

        4. How do cybercrimes affect credibility of information through the internet?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study, which is primarily aimed at explaining how cybercrime has impacted on the perception of youths in the society, will provide an insight into the problems associated with cybercrime.

This report would be of great benefit for youths, to expose them to the factors that tend to cause young people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria.

It would be useful to the government and related stakeholders to enable them adequately understand factors responsible for and how to curb the continue spread of cybercrime among Nigerian youths [and the general public].

 The findings will be useful for researchers to further generate knowledge in the field.

  1.6. Scope of the Study

This study focused on the perception of cybercrime on communication among Nigerian youths, using youths in Calabar as the study group.

  1.7. Limitation of the Study

A major limitation of the group is the samples were only from Calabar South in Calabar where it was chosen as the area in carrying out this research.

This finding is based on the results gathered from Calabar South youths on the perception of cybercrime on communication among Nigerian youths.

1.8  Definition of Terms

Perception: Calabar youth’s attitude towards cybercrime among Nigerian youths.

Cyber: The use of computers, information systems or the internet by the Nigerian youths.

Crime: The display of illegal act characterized by decent, contentment or violation of trust of the youths.

Cybercrime:

Youth: The stage between a child and becoming an adult.

Internet:

Dissemination of information:

Perception:     




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