A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF CYBER-CRIME AND NIGERIA'S EXTERNAL IMAGE(2015_2019)
1.1 Background of the study
The external image of a nation serves as a mirror through which other countries see a nation when they interact with one another. It is the view of a country held by other countries throughout the world. The international system is a web of relationships between states, and how a country is seen may impact how successful it is in the international system. Anton (2016) defines external image as the sum of all observations, feelings, and judgements about others. It is our perception of others. This view stems from previous interactions or contacts with the individual or organisation, as well as the outcome of those interactions and appraisal. Our interactions with individuals are influenced by how we view and appraise them.
By the use of advanced technologies, contemporary technology has brought the world to the edge of a new internet era. The combination of connection and data accessibility creates enormous prospects for human advancement. Yet, this change has resulted in the disintegration of traditional borders, allowing cyberspace to become a sanctuary for various cybercrimes throughout the world (Hill and Marion, 2016). Cybercrime has previously been defined as crimes committed directly through the internet, but it has increasingly come to be used to refer to any online and computer-based offences. In Nigeria, for example, the NCC poll finds that broadband extensibility has reached a new high, with 99.05 million internet users in the country (Clement, 2019). This figure is expected to increase to 131.7 million by 2023. According to this report, the country is regarded a booming digital market with significant infrastructure and internet usage expansion (Clement, 2019). Cybercrime has evolved into a complex art form as technology has matured.
Importantly, cybercriminals use computers and other modern equipment to commit crimes against persons, institutions, or organisations in order to earn cash. Lawan and Osagie-Obaz believe (2019). Cybercrime is a broad issue that has transcended regional boundaries; its evolution and means of operation have evolved through time. While the word cybercrime does not have precise meaning, Cassim (2010) considers cybercrimes largely as, "crimes committed on the internet through the use of computer, the computer can as well represent an object or subject of the crime". Cassim asserts a realistic viewpoint by defining a "computer being the object for the crime to be carried out when there is theft of software and hardware. According to the subjective viewpoint, computers have been exploited for traditional crimes such as hacking, financial fraud, and extortion". Cybercrime is an intractable global epidemic, with yearly increases of up to 30% during the 1990s (CIC 2018).
'Yahoo-yahoo' has been used to characterise cybercrime in Nigeria. This phenomena has evolved into a widespread culture among young people throughout the years. Cybercrime has been identified as a big societal concern in Nigeria, posing a danger to several countries across the world. According to reports, Nigeria has the third highest rate of cybercrime ( Lazarus, 2019). The consequences have not only tarnished the country's reputation, but have also denied many innocent Nigerians chances in the international world. This is accompanied by negative economic consequences, since investors are suspicious of the victims of cybercriminal atrocities.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Despite the fact that cybercrime has been established as a youthful crime, there are still many basic problems that the topic of cyber-related crime has generated among Nigerian stakeholders. Urban youth today are said to prefer luxurious lives to ones that require actual labour, therefore taking advantage of people online has become a vital method of surviving. According to Ojedokun and Eraye (2015), success in Nigerian culture is now based on accumulating riches, therefore everyone is continuously reminded that they must be prosperous in order to be seen as successful, responsible, and significant members of society. Yet society hasn't managed to reward steadfast effort. As a result, the majority has little to no potential to succeed by legal methods, so they innovate.
According to (Dennis, 2015), cybercrime extends traditional criminal behaviour and includes some novel illegal activities. Despite this, the phenomenon is one of the most serious social issues facing our society today because it has undermined the nation's credibility and damaged its international reputation, both of which have a greater impact on society as a whole. Surprisingly, the majority of attempts to comprehend cybercrime have centred on its sources and how it manifests itself in the nation. Nevertheless, it's as crucial to comprehend how this crime has affected Nigeria's reputation abroad. Our study aims to fill this gap as a result.
1.3 Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is foused on a critical examination of cyber-crime and Nigeria's external image. Other specific objectives includes:
To investigate the prevalence of cybercrime in Nigeria between 2015 - 2019.
To examine the perceived circumstances which led some Nigerian youths to be involved in cybercrime between 2015 - 2019.
To ascertain whether cybercrime significantly posed a threat on Nigeria external image between 2015 - 2019.
To determine other implication of cybercrime on Nigeria economy amongst the international community between 2015 - 2019.
1.4 Research Question
The study will be guided by the following questions;
How prevalent was cybercrime in Nigeria between 2015 - 2019.
What were the circumstances which led some Nigerian youths to be involved in cybercrime between 2015 - 2019?
Did cybercrime significantly pose a threat on Nigeria external image between 2015 - 2019?
What were the implication of cybercrime on Nigeria economy amongst the international community between 2015 - 2019?
1.5 Significance of the study
With an increased understanding of cybercriminals’ perspectives, stakeholders in society can incorporate the knowledge gleaned from this study into social policies to serve as proactive measures that can help address the cybercrime problem at its budding stage rather than wait for youth to be involved in cybercrime, by which time reactionary measures would be less than useless.Also, the study unpacks the socioeconomic attributes responsible for cybercrime, the foundational factors responsible for participation in cybercrime, and the various techniques, strategies, and measures adopted by cyber perpetrators to sustain their network. This, in the researcher’s opinion, is useful in the policy direction of the country regarding cybercrime, and it will consequently serve as a way of updating literature on the phenomenon in Nigeria.Empirically, the study will also be an addition to the academic world as it will provide materials for other researchers to make reference to when conducting research on a similar subject matter.
1.7Scope of the study
The scope of the study borders on critical examination of cyber-crime and Nigeria's external image. The study will further discuss the perceived circumstances which led some Nigerian youths to be involved in cybercrime and other implication of cybercrime on Nigeria economy amongst the international community. The study is limited in time frame covering records of cybercrime within 2015-2019.
1.8 Limitation of the study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the bulky literature on the subject, owing that cybercrime and external image discourse is vast thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only residents Ogun State. Thus findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other states within Nigeria. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Howbeit, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
1.9 Definition of terms
Cybercrime: Cybercrime is colloquially defined as crimes committed on the internet using the computer as either a tool or a targeted victim.
External image:External image of a country is the entirety of all perceptions, feelings, and judgments that people make about a country especially at the international community.