‘Yahoo Boys’ shift base to Alaba International Market

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By Wisdom Patrick, Senior Correspondent, Lagos

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) constant invasion of FESTAC Town, the former base of cyber criminals commonly called ‘Yahoo Boys’, has forced the internet fraudsters to relocate.

A competent source at the EFCC office on Awolowo Road, in Ikoyi area of Lagos said that, the crooks now carry out their activities in places like Alaba International Market, Ojo Military Barracks and the Trade Fair complex all within Ojo local government area.

The source stated further that, the criminals might have found their new locations a viable one to operate in. "They have many clients especially in the idle hands that abound in the barracks. The recent reports we have been receiving from our overseas partners indicate that 70 per cent of scam mails from Nigeria are from these new locations."

It was also gathered that operatives of the anti-graft commission have mounted surveillance at the places for close to a month and concluded that cyber crooks have infested the market and were actually carrying out their activities there.

The source stated further that, already the commission has written to the management of the market informing them of the recent development and also on the plan by the commission to storm the market without notice.

When Saturday Independent visited the market recently, almost every strategic building within the complex had been taken over by operators of Cyber CafÈs. "Here we open at night because that is when we are sure of patronage. Our customers are mostly Lagos State University (LASU) students; they would stay till day break browsing and sending mails," a cafe agent said.

The agent who simply gave his name as Monday Chukwuma, stated that on the average he makes between N10, 000 to N15, 000 everyday. He added that the bulk of the money comes from his night customers.

Asked about the legalty of their business by allowing people to send scam mails outside the country through their facility, the operator answered in the negative, insisting that there was nothing wrong with what they or those that are patronising them are doing. "We cannot go and steal so this is what we are doing. If anybody is saying that this is illegal then that person should get work for us.

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Being a Festac resident since 1977, though I left for these shores over 20 yrs ago, but my family home is there and has been since that time. My elderly mum and young nephews and nieces still live there so I'm glad the 'Yahoo Boys' have shifted base.

My husband was 'stopped and searched' in Festac last year while on holiday to Naija and on a visit to see my family, by 2 policemen. The policemen later apologised profusely and asked my hubby what 'gift' he had for them etc.. Their exact words were: "wetin you bring for us sir"

My family says, these sort of searches on innocent Festac residents and/or visitors became quite a nightmare because of the 'Yahoo Boys'. So, I for one thank the Lord the 'Yahoo Boys' have shifted base.

But I feel for the innocent, law-abiding residents of Satelite Town, Ojo, Okoko etc. They are now going to experience hell.

Alaba International Market is another world entirely. I went there once or twice all those years ago and each time was glad I came away in one piece.

The CYBER CAFES are a thriving business. From scams to browsing porn sites you name it, you get unlimited rein from them I've been told. Even underage children are allowed to browse porn sites so long as they pay their money. Not suprised most of their customers are students.
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