Tinubu rejects stereotyping of Nigerians over cyber crimes

President Bola Tinubu has rejected the labelling and blanket stereotyping of Nigeria as a country with the highest prevalence of cybercrime and other forms of corrupt practices among its population. He said it undermines majority of the citizens maintaining the principles of integrity and diligence.

He regretted that over the years, the entire Nigerian populace had been linked with internet crimes without statistical proof, a development he said is out of tune with the way of life of a typical Nigerian citizen.

This is even as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, yesterday, said the anti-graft body had traced N7 billion suspected to be proceeds of fraud to a religious organization.

The duo made the remarks at a public engagement on youth, religion and the fight against corruption, and the launch of the fraud risk assessment project for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS).

The EFCC Chairman said the Commission was investigating a fraud case of N13 billion when it traced N7 billion to the religious body, which quickly secured a restraining order, stopping the EFCC from inviting its leaders.

The President who was represented at the event by his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, noted that on the contrary, Nigerians are meticulous, authentic citizens who have been making significant contributions to innumerable fields of endeavors around the world.

“Over the decades, Nigerians have been victims of mislabeling. Such gross misrepresentation fails to reflect the true essence of our diverse and resilient nation. The association of internet crimes with the entire Nigerian populace lacks statistical evidence and does not align with the sociology of everyday Nigerians.

“Our nation comprises hardworking, honest citizens who contribute significantly to various fields globally, from Artificial Intelligence to medicine.

“While we reject blanket stereotyping that undermines majority of Nigerians upholding the principles of integrity and diligence, we must face the fact that we function in an interconnected world, where cyber-crimes have evolved into a global phenomenon. This poses a threat not only to our nation, but also to the entire world,” Tinubu stated.

Delivering a speech titled, “Youth, Religion, and Our Battle Against Corruption: A Call to Action,” the President applauded the EFCC for remaining a moral compass that is persistently rousing the nation’s conscience, just as he said through its operations, the commission had remained vocal in telling the world that Nigeria is neither complicit nor complacent in confronting the menace of corruption.

Underscoring the urgency of combating internet crimes and neutralizing the threat caused by other forms of corruption head on, President Tinubu assured the anti-graft agency of the government’s support in its quest to combat the digital offenses.

“We must recognize that the Commission’s lawful efforts to bring fraudsters to book are imperative for the overall well-being of our society. The government is aware that our ambitious goal of eradicating internet offences and corruption demands an atmosphere steeped in trust and integrity. We must foster open communication channels and ensure that law enforcement actions align with justice and accountability,” he added.

The President also stressed the need to remind Nigerian youths that there are abundant opportunities for lawful enterprises, both within and outside the shores of the country.

This, he said, is the reason why the federal government has taken steps to establish a Students Loan Board to address the financial needs of students.

He continued: “This initiative aims not only to alleviate financial burdens, but also to disincentivize criminality by offering a tangible alternative. Our message to the youth is clear – the horizon is wide, and opportunities abound across various sectors.

“Seize these prospects, embark on lawful enterprises, and let your talents shine. The government encourages you to leverage these opportunities, exhibit your capabilities across all sectors, and contribute to the prosperity of our great nation.”

President Tinubu lauded efforts by the EFCC to tackle corruption through the Inter-Faith and Fraud Risk Assessment Projects, saying, “The initiative recognizes the potential of religion as a tool for ethical reformation, and underscores the importance of engaging diverse faith communities in our fight against corruption.

“Simultaneously, this initiative addresses vulnerabilities within government agencies and acknowledges the critical need to fortify these institutions against corrupt practices.

“Our nation is deeply rooted in religious values, and it is crucial to acknowledge that both Christianity and Islam vehemently condemn corruption. With these profound teachings in mind, I urge our revered religious leaders to demonstrate a pillar of guidance,” he added.

The EFCC boss said the Commission would not give up on the investigation as it is appealing the restraining order, so as to recover the stolen funds.

He further said another unnamed religious body was also linked to be laundering money for a terrorist body, which has been killing and destroying Nigerians and Nigeria for a long time now.

Olukoyede also revealed that since his assumption of office as the EFCC chairman about three months ago, the Commission has secured 747 convictions.

Lamenting the high number of convictions, the EFCC chairman said most of them were from internet related offences.

The event, themed: “Youth, Religion and the Fight Against Corruption,” featured launch of the interfaith preaching and teaching manual developed by the Interfaith Anti-corruption Advisory Committee (IAAC) of the Commission as a resource to promote abhorrence for corruption among adherents of the two religions, Islam and Christianity.

The Commission’s Fraud Risk Assessment Prevention and Control Project for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), was also launched at the event.

In separate remarks, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh; Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, were unanimous in their commendation of President Tinubu and the EFCC management for the administration’s avowed commitment to the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

They declared total support of their various communities and groups to the renewed fight against corruption that prioritizes prevention, urging political leaders at all levels to intensify efforts via leading by example and ensuring the review of existing laws to prevent corrupt activities in public and private establishments.


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