Hush Policy: We can’t move on like that!

by Shona Olalere

Introduction

Last week, there was rage on the internet following the release of the video that detailed the arrest of “HushPuppi,” now known as Nigeria’s most-wanted hacker, Ramoni Igbalode. Many tweets and social media posts shamed him while people in government were not left out in the pool of commentators. Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCom), Abike Dabiri was among those who gave their remarks about this subject and subtly tried to reinstate that such an act does not exhibit the true hardworking spirit of Nigerians.

Two days after the release of the video, there is hardly any discussion about Hushpuppi on social media. To put it the way Nigerians say it, “We have moved on | We move.” As a person in the field of policy and governance, I have spotted some issues that needs to be addressed, areas that “we cannot move on with.” I am interested in making people see the threat, opportunities that this recent event has brought.

His skills can be an asset

What do you think the United States of America (USA) or the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would have done if they had a citizen that had such wit to defraud over 1,926,400 people to the tune of $435.6 million? Don’t be deceived, first, they may never publish a documentary about it. Second, they will rechannel such individual intelligence into their system and for the country’s benefits. In a decade where soldiers do not have to fight on the ground, countries are now trying to build an army of cyber-experts to exert their authority. The new battleground is not on the ground but in the cyberspace.

Black Lives Matter

Make no mistake to think that the release of this video, coincided with a time when there has been a steady protest across the U.S and Europe. In a few months, we will begin to see some countries tightening their borders against Africans because of the documentary. What are we supposed to do? This is the time when the Nigeria Ministry of Foreign Affairs need to harness the full power of the media to tone down the negative narrative about Nigerians by pushing messages of how Nigerians in other countries are impacting the world. It is all a PR stunt people, Dubai is trying to push a narrative of its superiority in cyberspace.

To think that just 5 tweets from Abike Dabiri would do this is nothing but a joke.

Where is the money going?

The ‘Hushpuppi money’ can be likened to Abacha’s looted fund. In the Operation Fox Hunt 2, Police officers were also able to seize items worth 150 Million Dirhams after they claimed 21 computers, 47 smartphones, 15 storage devices and 4 hard disks containing 11950 files. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also stated that many Internet frauds in Nigeria had been traced to Hush Puppi. Yes, some of the people scammed may be citizens from other countries but can we get a fair share of the money returned to the people he scammed or the national account?

Maximise human resource

Unemployment is not an excuse for crime. After all, he is not the first person to be unemployed. Absolutely! However, our culture gives no reward for innovation. This is why brands would rather fund unnecessary shows instead of funding innovative community projects. A coherent and cohesive policy, that holds businesses and the government accountable, needs to be implemented to maximise the human capital in Nigeria and other African countries.

These issues raised are key policy issues I have been pondering on since the release of the video. More than the social media naming and shaming; the Dubai social media stunt that has been the focus of this issue, I intend that this article will redirect us on the underlining issues that have not been addressed.

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