Routine activity theory and cybercrime investigation in Nigeria : how capable are law enforcement agencies?

Bello, M and Griffiths, M ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2040-1077 2021, 'Routine activity theory and cybercrime investigation in Nigeria : how capable are law enforcement agencies?' , in: Rethinking Cybercrime : critical debates , Palgrave Macmillan, Switzerland, pp. 213-235.

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Abstract

The evolution of the Internet amidst a rapidly growing global economy has created a completely new environment in which traditional crime prospers. Equally the convergence of computing and communication has changed the way we live, communicate and commit crime. Cybercriminals in Nigeria commonly known as ‘419 scammers’; a word coined from the Nigerian criminal code that penalises people from obtaining money under false pretence cost the Nigerian consumer $13.5 billion dollars in losses in 2012 (Clarke in European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 10: 55–63, 2004; Sesan et al. in Economic Cost of Cybercrime in Nigeria, 2013; Grabosky in Social and Legal Studies 10: 243–249, 2001). Previous studies have focused on the causes and effects of cybercrime in Nigeria (Hassan et al. in ARPN Journal of Science and Technology 2: 626–631, 2012; Adesina in Canadian Social Science 13: 19–29, 2017); laws penalising against misuse of computer (Olusola et al. in The International Journal of Engineering and Science 2: 19–25, 2013; Saulawa and Abubakar in Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization 32: 23–33, 2014) and have focused relatively on financial cost and socio-economic effects of cybercrime (WITFOR in Social, Ethical and Legal Aspects, 2005; Sesan et al. 2012). Even though some studies have tried to explore cybercrime from the perspective of law enforcement Agencies in the UAE and Jordan (Maghaireh in Jordanian Cybercrime Investigations: A Comparative Analysis of Search for and Seizure of Digital Evidence, 2009; Alkaabi in Combating Computer Crime: An International Perspective, 2010), none has been done holistically from the view of law enforcement and members of the Cybercrime Advisory Council in Nigeria. Adopting a classical criminological framework of Routine Activity Theory (RAT), this research examined particularly cyber-enabled crime of advance fee fraud in Nigeria within the scope RAT which argued that for crime to take place, three requirements must be present namely; a motivated offender, a suitable target and an absence of a capable guardian. The research examined the factors that motivate an offender and what elements make a target (i.e. victim or computer) suitable for a crime. In the process, it considers the suitability of law enforcement officers and some members of the Cybercrime Advisory Council (CAC) as capable guardians and what factors limits their capabilities in mitigating the activities of cyber criminals. The research has been framed on an interpretivist paradigm and relativist philosophical stand, with focus on an inductive qualitative approach involving semi-structured interviews and documentation. These involved policy makers, members of parliament, telecommunications and ICT regulators on one hand; and investigators, prosecutors, forensic analyst and media practitioners particularly from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is a leading law enforcement agency in the fight against cybercrime. The multi-dimensional evidence explains the role played by each of the stakeholders, the measures and partnership deployed in tackling cybercrime, and the challenges and recommendations needed in the international effort to tackle cybercrime globally. Findings suggest that the proliferation and lack of effective policing of the internet enabled by the greed of individuals and lack of enforcement and collaboration of relevant stakeholders have led to financial losses to victims. The findings further show how lack of proper education and awareness of individuals, and adequate training and provision of tools for law enforcement officers contributes to the high prevalence of cybercrime in Nigeria. Evidence is provided that documents the way members of the Cybercrime Advisory Council and especially the EFCC have attempted to overcome these challenges through partnership, capacity building and enforcement of relevant laws and policies aimed at addressing the issue of cybercrime in Nigeria. The finding equally extends the criminological understanding of deviant behaviours and furthers the current discussion on the role of law enforcement in policing the Internet. Previous studies have focused on the causes and effects of cybercrime in Nigeria (Hassan et al., 2012; Adesina, 2017); laws penalising against misuse of computer (Olusola et. al., 2013b; Saulawa & Abubakar, 2014) and have focused relatively on financial cost and socio-economic effects of cybercrime (WITFOR, 2005; Sesan et. al., 2012). Even though some studies have tried to explore cybercrime from the perspective of law enforcement Agencies in the UAE and Jordan (Maghairah, 2009; Alkaabi, 2010), none has been done holistically from the view of law enforcement and members of the Cybercrime Advisory Council in Nigeria. Adopting a classical criminological framework of Routine Activity Theory (RAT), this research examined particularly cyber-enabled crime of advance fee fraud in Nigeria within the scope RAT which argued that for crime to take place, three requirements must be present namely; a motivated offender, a suitable target and an absence of a capable guardian. The research examined the factors that motivate an offender and what elements make a target (i.e. victim or computer) suitable for a crime. In the process, it considers the suitability of law enforcement officers and some members of the Cybercrime Advisory Council (CAC) as capable guardians and what factors limits their capabilities in mitigating the activities of cyber criminals. The research has been framed on an interpretivist paradigm and relativist philosophical stand, with focus on an inductive qualitative approach involving semi-structured interviews and documentation. These involved policy makers, members of parliament, telecommunications and ICT regulators on one hand; and investigators, prosecutors, forensic analyst and media practitioners particularly from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is a leading law enforcement agency in the fight against cybercrime. The multi-dimensional evidence explains the role played by each of the stakeholders, the measures and partnership deployed in tackling cybercrime, and the challenges and recommendations needed in the international effort to tackle cybercrime globally. Findings suggest that the proliferation and lack of effective policing of the internet enabled by the greed of individuals and lack of enforcement and collaboration of relevant stakeholders have led to financial losses to victims. The findings further show how lack of proper education and awareness of individuals, and adequate training and provision of tools for law enforcement officers contributes to the high prevalence of cybercrime in Nigeria. Evidence is provided that documents the way members of the Cybercrime Advisory Council and especially the EFCC have attempted to overcome these challenges through partnership, capacity building and enforcement of relevant laws and policies aimed at addressing the issue of cybercrime in Nigeria. The finding equally extends the criminological understanding of deviant behaviors and furthers the current discussion on the role of law enforcement in policing the Internet.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Owen, T and Marshall, JL
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School > Salford Business School Research Centre
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9783030558413 (online); 9783030558406 (print)
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Marie Griffiths
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2021 08:59
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 11:17
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/59252

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