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Inside the Lagos enclave of teenage Yahoo boys

Inside the Lagos enclave of teenage Yahoo boys

“They occupied an entire building. The landlord rented it out to them and everyone in the compound is a Yahoo boy… we call it Yahoo Boys Quarters.”

Ade Alade

In a single of the homes on Makinde Road in Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State, not lower than 30 younger boys have been seen cavorting, toting bottles of totally different manufacturers of beer, and dancing to the tunes enjoying in the background. Having fun with the social gathering with them was a rating of women presumed to be their friends. Passersby merely concluded that the event was a birthday bash. What was baffling was the approach the youngsters have been consuming alcohol which was fairly reckless for his or her younger age.

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The youngsters have one factor in widespread. They have been Yahoo Yahoo boys, a cool time period for web fraudsters. The occasion was their annual get-together to have fun their successes, to match notes on present tendencies of web fraud and to agree on the most effective modus operandi.

“They are Yahoo Yahoo boys. This is how they celebrate every year. Most of them are still in secondary school and yet you can see the type of cars that they ride,” stated the business motorbike operator who drove Saturday Solar reporter throughout the road, as he pointed at the fleet of unique automobiles that littered the slender road.

Mafoluku is a small group inside Oshodi Native Authorities Space that’s closely populated by low-income earners. The neighbourhood was incessantly rocked by violence in the previous because of its big quantity of jobless touts and their occasional battles to regulate levies paid by business transporters. The world was additionally infamous for theft, particularly housebreaking.

Mafoluku, in current occasions, has loved some calm and it seems to have grow to be comparatively crime-free. That’s as a result of it has progressively reworked right into a Yahoo Yahoo haven the place juvenile delinquents readily deserted the extra harmful crimes and embraced the newfangled web fraud profession.

Though, in Mafoluku, Yahoo Yahoo boys are simply noticed at joints throughout the day, or of their numerous lairs embedded in residential areas, after years of police raids of enterprise centres, these brigades of internet fraudsters have develop into more proficient at escaping scrutiny and are more and more troublesome to trace. With low cost cellular knowledge, they will function from anyplace.

Why I selected that path

At a well-liked hangout in the neighbourhood, the reporter, in the course of the investigation, was fortunate to share a desk with one of these younger Yahoo brigands. The younger man, who gave his identify as Omoniyi and his age as 19, was a dropout of one of the schools in Mafoluku who was launched to scamming by a good friend.

Unaware that he was conversing with a reporter, he freely gave a complete perception. “Whereas I used to be in Class four, I attended a party organised by my senior. It was an enormous one, although none of his relations was there. The celebrant was simply 15 years previous. I used to be informed that he was a Yahoo Yahoo boy.

“My parents are very poor, and could barely feed us. My father has three wives and 14 children, all of us living in the same compound. It’s the survival of the finest. It was then that I realised how my stepbrothers suddenly became rich. I learnt how to do it, all I needed was to buy a phone and connect Facebook and Whatsapp. This was how I started and I am satisfied with the progress I have made.”

He, nevertheless, declared: “I do not wish to take it any further, because I cannot do what they (Yahoo Yahoo Plus boys) do.”

The reporter feigned curiosity and requested extra particulars, prompting additional revelation from Omoniyi: “As for Yahoo Plus, if you want to go further in this business, you need the help of a native doctor. They will tell you what to do. The most common is that of underwear and used condom. I pity prostitutes because they are always the target, although, some of them are wise; they also have charms and they will never allow you to take away used condom.”

He continued: “If they successfully take a lady’s panties, she will automatically become barren or sick; gradually, her condition will worsen until she dies. Here in Mafoluku, girls don’t spread their panties outside anyhow.”

How then do the Yahoo Plus boys function? The reporter requested.

Omoniyi replied: “We rely on secondary school girls––buy them an expensive phone and they will open their legs.”

The remaining is straightforward in response to him. “You simply dope her drink so that she will not know when you remove the used condom or use tissue to clean her private part.”

Declaring, “I am not part of them,” he outlined his personal mode of operation, which is strictly preying on ladies and ladies he befriended on Fb or Whatsapp.

“It is easy to get phone numbers of people nowadays. All you need is to belong to a Whatsapp group, and you can access all the numbers. A lot of men and women are vulnerable, especially the men. I use the picture of a female model as my display photo and start chatting with men. There are a lot of nude pictures on the internet that you can download and forward to them as your real picture. Without seeing you, a lot of them would send money to you. Once they send, they will keep sending until they are tired.”

Persevering with, he talked about a extra dangerous mode of operation, which is stealing individuals’s SIM card or ATM playing cards.

“The risk is that some of these boys will come with stolen ATM cards and before you know what is happening, police will arrest you. The easiest way is to attend big clubs and make friends with society women. They are very careless with phones and ATM cards. All you need is to ask them to allow you to make a call with their phones. You will dial a code that will give you automatic access to their phones even after you have returned the devices. They will lose money and no one will suspect you.”

These strategies, he claimed, “are safer than killing someone because of money. I cannot do it.”

The teenager, by his personal evaluation, has not finished badly in the Yahoo commerce.

“With the little money that I have made, I have rented a flat for my mother and sibling,” he avowed, “Life is better and I pray that God will not allow them to catch me. I pray that I will get enough money and start my own business.”

On how he manages to evade police arrest, Omoniyi stated: “They (police) know us. As long as you cannot provide an identity card to cover your back, they will assume that you are a fraudster, but my cousin is a soldier and anytime they catch me, I’d call him. They know me in this area. So no one disturbs me.”

The social gathering witnessed by the reporter earlier was organised by one of the Yahoo boys.

“We enjoy organising parties every week,” Omoniyi affirmed. “The one you are talking about could be a birthday party organised by one of us. Even if the police should come there, it’s a party and they can’t arrest anyone. We also have an association, the aim is to help one another in case of police problem, but if anyone is arrested over the death of anyone, we will not come to his rescue. Yahoo Plus is an individual decision,” he stated.

Mother and father fear

Mother and father in Mafoluku are apprehensive about the rising development. A petty dealer, who launched herself as Mama Seyi, condemned the rise in the actions of these younger fraudsters. Mockingly, she additionally claimed she had no qualms if any of her sons or grandsons have been to make a fortune by such means.

“I am a poor woman who can barely afford to pay for a room in this area. If I am lucky to have a son who is intelligent enough to deliver me from poverty, why should I ask what he does for a living? Every other boy in this area is a Yahoo boy, and I will be happy that my son is not an armed robber.”

She stated additional: “I believe the reason they are not disturbing them is simply that they are not robbers. Crime in Mafoluku has reduced because of Yahoo Yahoo activities.”

One other father or mother, Iya Shehu who lives near Ayogu, one other infamous Yahoo haven, complained that they hardly sleep at night time. “They occupied an entire building. The landlord rented it out to them and everyone in the compound is a Yahoo boy. It is not a secret; we call it Yahoo Boys Quarters. They organise parties till late at night almost every day. There are gunshots most of the time. Police would storm the house and arrest them, but in less than 24 hours, they would all return.”

Iya Shehu needed the police to raid the neighbourhood and pressure the landlord to evict his Yahoo tenants.

She stated: “I had to send my two sons to Sango to live with my mother because I am scared that they will abandon their studies. When I caught my 10-year-old son with an expensive phone, and he said it was given to him by one of the boys, I had no choice but to relocate them.”

Based on her, “in my compound which has so many tenants, you dare not spread your underwear outside. It will just vanish. We are afraid of these boys. The most annoying part is that they are mostly teenagers.”

One other mother or father, Mr Nwosu, referred to as for an emergency cleaning of the space.

“I am a businessman. I am proud to say that I have trained so many young boys. But in recent times, it is now difficult to get an apprentice. The last set that I admitted turned me into one of their victims. Before I realised what was happening, they have gained access into my accounts and stole from me. It is a terrible situation. Our youths are now lazy.”

He highlights one other lethal dimension of Yahoo Plus. “The most alarming of their activities is the new style of ritual killing. In my area, there is a brothel nearby. Some of the girls kept missing and because they do not have any known address, no one is looking for them. They will only make noise and cry.”

Nwosu sounded an ominous word: “It is dangerous to raise boys in this area.”

Based on him, “Secondary school boys are now part of them. You need to visit these areas when they organise parties. They have a very strong association that no one dares them when they gather. You will even see security men dressed in police and army uniform. I guess they are fake or on illegal duty.”

Nwosu, too, avowed that the improvement, as malodorous as it’s, has led to a drop in crime price in Mafoluku. “In the past two years, no one has come to knock on my door or break into my house while asleep. I guess they are now making more money defrauding people,” he stated.

How they fund safety

Saturday Solar learnt that the majority safety males posted to the Mafoluku axis, particularly policemen, don’t pray for switch.

A supply stated, “It’s not a hidden thing; police, army, civil defence and the recent neighbourhood watch operatives are on their payroll. They are not even ashamed of it. They walk into their joints in broad daylight and collect their money. Once in a while, they raid the area, arrest the young boys, take them to the nearest ATM point and make withdrawals. Those who are able to settle very quickly will be released at that point. Those who failed to do that are dragged to the nearest detention point. If you doubt it, go and sit around the airport junction, early in the morning or late at night, especially on Fridays.”

A policeman who spoke on situation of anonymity didn’t debunk the sharp follow, however relatively blamed the authorities for failing to fund the police. “Take time to visit the police stations within this axis. They all lack operational vehicle. We do not get sponsors from the community because 90 per cent of the residents are very poor. They cannot afford to take care of themselves and their children. These boys are the ones who indirectly help the police to function, and most importantly, haven’t you noticed that violent crime has drastically reduced? If they don’t have any other source of livelihood, these boys will start breaking into people’s houses and the police do not have enough manpower to checkmate them.”

On claims that police intentionally permit them to proceed their actions with impunity, “it is not true,” he refuted. “No policeman or security agent will put his career at risk because of these ones. The current Commissioner of Police will not take it lightly with anyone who is indicted in that respect. That is why every officer is very careful. If such a thing happens, then the policeman is on illegal duty.”

He concisely defined why police are impotent in Yahoo instances. “We know that they are out there, but without any proof, you cannot arrest them. Those that were arrested and charged to court are released in less than a week. They come back and continue from where they stopped. We are doing our best. It is not only in Mafoluku, but it also happens everywhere. Nigerians just have to be alert.”

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