#BounceExclusive: Looking Good Is Not Good Business In Lagos
It took under 3 minutes - the police navy blue van stopped, two plain clothes officer got down, approached the well dressed man and asked for his phone because he looked like a 'Yahoo' boy.
"See I am wearing slippers and shorts and a T-shirt, I cannot dress well, because, the police might thing I am a Yahoo Boy" said Chinedu, a student and up coming rapper based in Ojuelegba.
With many stories of Nigerians being arrested abroad or being wanted for internet fraud or 'Yahoo Yahoo', police in Lagos have decided to deploy men on the streets to find these digital scammers.
''If you are young, dress well, walk with a swag, have an expensive phone, they(the police) will park you. They seem to know who the Yahoo boys (People who carryout internet scams) are. Its just crazy" Chinedu said when he spoke to Bounce News.
''I have spent 21,000 Naira in the Police station. I was arrested thrice and each time I parted with 7,000 Naira to get out of the cell" added Shola, a Fashion Designer.
''Anytime I choose to dress fine to advertise what I am doing, maybe I go to Yaba to get some fabric, police men harass me. They will ask you 'who are you', 'where are you coming from?', 'oya enter our van'. There is a guy that follows them at especially at Yaba, immediately they ask you to enter the bus, they will collect your phone and give it to this guy, the guy obviously knows everything about yahoo, so nothing inside your phone will be hidden to him, so most of the time they harass you like you do not have rights, that is why most times I chose to dress anyhow" he said.
"The only reason that the police are looking for Yahoo boys is because they are looking for money" he claims.
Other sources who spoke to Bounce News also confirmed that the vans were seen regularly patrolling the streets from Yaba through Ojuelegba, Lawanson all the way to Idi Araba, seeking out 'Yahoo' boys at random.
The police officers search phones and laptops on the streets to search for clues, and some claim even in houses of suspected internet fraudsters.
Recently, a United States Federal court convicted a Nigerian, Wiseman Oputa, who set up a number of bank accounts with bogus passports over a year with which he managed to steal at least $500,000 through wire fraud and internet scams.
Another Nigerian couple, in April, were been sentenced to 252 months in a US jail for jointly defrauding unsuspecting victims of millions of dollars. Also in April, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI, declared a Nigerian, Kelechi Declan James, wanted for a $5 million e-mail scam.