The Edo State Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues (MSDGI) has organised a programme to raise awareness of the negative effects of cybercrime on society in an effort to ensure a society free from cybercrime.
The programme, which was simultaneously held in 25 secondary schools in Benin City, the state capital, was designed to inform students about the dangers of cybercrime as part of the government’s overall effort to eradicate the problem.
“Cybercrime is a pathway to self-destruct”, according to Mrs. Kate Bello, director of the ministry’s child development department, who spoke to the students.
She added: “Over the years, we found out that a lot of children are gradually engaging in this activity.
“We want to start our sensitization from your level. We want to catch you young from Junior Secondary School (JSS I) and above. We don’t want you to get to higher levels first and fall to that path before you become aware that this is not something you need to get involved in.”
The Director advised: “I want to let you know that this is not a good way to get wealth, cyber-crime is not good. You need to work hard, study your books and by the time you finish your secondary school and you don’t want to go further, you can acquire skills.
“In the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, we have several units that handle issues that have to do with skills. After your school you can come to us and there are lots of skills including those that are Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-related, and other lucrative jobs as long as you put effort into what you do.”
She further said: “Cyber-crime comes with so many negatives on the individual including lack of integrity, untimely death, waste of resources, hardships on others in the society, among others, and prosecution or even jail term.”
Mrs. Bello urged the students to pursue meaningful and legal means of sustaining their livelihoods rather than succumbing to peer pressure to engage in cybercrime.
The Director of Planning, Research, and Statistics in the Ministry, Mr. John McDonald, clarified that they can make money through legal means without taking any risks by diverting the same intelligence they should have used for criminal purposes into fields like ICT and the medical sciences, among others, in response to questions from the students about how people make money legally and the motivation behind their behaviour.
He emphasised that these will enable them to develop a more dependable and long-lasting source of income, similar to a tree, as opposed to unstable wealth that is prone to crash.