The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that any hotel that welcomes Yahoo Boys to lodge into their hotels could be arraigned for allowing their hotel to be used to perpetrate cybercrimes.
This message was gathered from the EFCC Facebook page as it reacted to media reports that criticised the agency’s undertaking at a hotel in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
The EFFC stated that “Both the hotel owner and his manager were quoted as refusing to speak on the operation. But the claim is a game of ostrich as their involvement in pushing out the false narrative is discernable. The hotel owner perhaps is ignorant of the fact that he could become an accomplice and liable for allowing his premises to be used for cybercrime, in contravention of section 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act. The section provides that, a ‘person who, being the occupier or is concerned in the management of any premises, causes or knowingly permits the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence under this Act is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years without the option of a fine.”
The Executive Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has repeatedly said the agency under his watch will not deviate from the norm, reiterating that adherence to the rule of law remains a core principle moderating their activities.
Reacting to this statement, stakeholders have said that jailing hoteliers is not the best way to stop crime.
The Dean of Students Affairs, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Owolewa, said hotels are open to customers and that EFCC should stop using arbitrary powers to intimidate or harass hoteliers in their business.
“EFCC was established by the act of the parliament. It can not hide under the guise of fighting corruption to violate the citizen’s rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the FRN. Hoteliers are businessmen/women,” he said.
A Doctor in the Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State, Dr Damilola Taiye Agbalajobi, also stated that this approach will go a long way but it is not the best way.
“Jailing the hotel’s owners is not the solution, there is a need for orientation from the family and schools as the first agent of socialisation to enable people to understand what value is and for us to go back to our value system. Unfortunately, they will be arresting innocent owners who have no say.”
“Even the men in uniform themselves get bribes so how are we sure that they will not be bribed whenever they go to arrest them.”
“Hotels are opened to make money, and so, how will they identify someone who is a Yahoo boy. Is it written on their faces?”
A Professor in the Department of Plant Sc & Biotechnology, AAUA, Professor Victor Olumekun questioned the process of how they want to identify a Yahoo boy.
“Somebody comes in and wants to lodge-in in a hotel, you don’t know who they are. The question is, are the hoteliers equipped with the ability to scrutinise who Yahoo guys are?
“We often believe that most of these guys are into Yahoo but the reality is that some of them are into money rituals and how do you want to checkmate people like that,” he said.
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