Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Enugu has advocated for outright sentence of internet fraudsters without option of fine.
Buba made the call on Thursday in Enugu while sentencing 22 internet fraudsters popularly known as “Yahoo yahoo boys” to one year imprisonment for cybercrime.
The judge, who expressed concern at the rising cybercrime in the country among the youth, said such measures would serve as deterrent to others who intended to engage in the nefarious activity.
“I will no longer grant option of fines to any convict of internet fraud in my court. The number keep rising on a daily basis.
“Today alone, I handled 22 cases and they would go back to the same crime after paying the fines,” he said.
The convicts, who are between the ages of 17 years and 35 years, pleaded guilty to a one count charge bordering on impersonation and obtaining money under false pretenses from unsuspecting foreigners.
The fraudsters were arrested in Anambra, Imo, Delta and Enugu States by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) who arraigned them at the court.
The judge however, granted them option of fine of N1 million to each of the convicts.
Buba ordered forfeiture of their proceeds to the Treasury Savings Account (TSA) of the federation.
The convicts include Promise Ezeanyanwu, Augustine Akposo, Emmanuel Akwakolam, Chukwudi Okeke, Ejiofor Okwuchukwu, Chibuzor Okeke, Ifeanyi Obeta and Samuel Grace.
Others were Jidechukwu Awanya, Tochukwu Nnamani, Chinwendu Oko, Emmanuel Eleanya, Ifeanyi Ike, Gideon Enete, Onyebuchi Eze,Emmanuel Ikechukwu and Emeka Akabike.
Others also convicted were Chibuzo Nwebo, Azuka Michael, Christian Okoye and Osita Utatuonu.
The EFCC Prosecutor, Mr M.A. Ekwu told the court that the crimes were committed through their social media accounts including Instagram, Tweeter, Messenger and Facebook.
Ekwu also said that they did not use their personal accounts to receive their proceeds but through bitcoins, Western Union and Money transfers.
According to him, 95 per cent of the money were not received through their bank accounts.