One consequence of Cybercrime which has received lots of reporting, but largely under-researched is the Criminalization of Cyberspace. 

There are many positive aspects to Cyberspace. Its application ranges from the financial sector, the educational, health, legal, engineering, defense and entertainment sector. In fact, there is no aspect of our life that does not have a presence in Cyberspace.

Unfortunately, that environment has been invaded by those with not-so-honest motivations. They have made their presence felt by their criminal activities which have seen many loose their savings, their goods, their investments, and even their lives. These are the Cyber-criminals and their actions have led to the criminalization of the Cyberspace. 

Many, especially the old and those not internet savvy have, with good reason, exited and avoided the Cyberspace like a plague for fear of being defrauded. Many would rather go to banking halls, to either withdraw or transfer monies for their financial transactions. As a consequence, there is the risk associated with moving these monies, or keeping them at home. Others prefer to see the money they are paid in exchange for services rendered. All of these are in response to cybercrime, and their attempt at protecting their wealth. But at what cost to the economy? 

These have the effect of slowing speed of monetary transactions, thereby worsening the ease of doing business.

 There's the danger of incentivizing currency counterfeiting, as this crime gains traction in a cash-based economy.

There is the attendant downside of increasing the burden of carrying notes. This problem is brought into relief when one juxtaposes the stress of visiting the banking hall as opposed to completing financial transactions from the comfort of your home or office on an electronic device.

There is the danger of being robbed when carrying large amounts of paper-money. 

Finally, add also the added cost of handling, maintaining and replacing notes in the system. These are shared by Deposit Money Banks and the CBN, which will, ultimately, transfer these costs to customers, with a resultant increase in inflation. 

How can the public be encouraged to assess and engage the Cyberspace, doing so safely and securely? 

The CBN, EFCC and Cybercrime watchdog have much to do on this. The Cyberspace must be made as crime-free as possible. It must be sanitized to a reasonable degree so that confidence in that environment is achieved.

What immediate steps could be taken? 

The agencies of government, together with network providers, banks and financial institutions, and internet service providers must track fraudulent accounts and deactivate them. Those hiding these criminals in their system must be sanctioned, and severely. 

Town hall meetings must be organized to educate the banking public on ways to safely and securely access and engage cyberspace. This must include protecting vital details such as PIN, ATM cards, and how to generate and maintain secrecy of passwords. These agencies must be pro-active in tracking and prosecuting cyber-criminals. Prosecution is vital so that the assets of criminals can be traced and confiscated. 

Finally, they must make examples of those prosecuted, showing that, ultimately, Cybercrime does not pay. Rather, it destroys the lives of the criminals and brings reproach on their families.


There is a lot to benefit from clearing the Cyberspace of cyber-criminals. The task may seem daunting, but the government must carry the fight to the criminals. This will show the public that not only is the government serious about cleaning the space, it is also serious about it's (the public) welfare.

As a result, confidence will not only return, but will grow in the Cyberspace and the economy.


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