Establishing the particularities of cybercrime in Nigeria: theoretical and qualitative treatments

Dissertation, University of Portsmouth (2020)
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This thesis, which is based on six peer-reviewed publications, is a theoretical and qualitative treatment of the ways in which social and contextual factors serve as a resource for understanding the particularities of ‘cybercrime’ that emanates from Nigeria. The thesis illuminates how closer attention to Nigerian society aids the understanding of Nigerian cybercriminals (known as Yahoo Boys), their actions and what constitutes ‘cybercrime’ in a Nigerian context. ‘Cybercrime’ is used in everyday parlance as a simple acronym for all forms of crimes on the internet, whereas ‘cybercrime’ in a Nigerian context is rooted in socioeconomics and determined by it. In particular, the defrauding of victims for monetary benefit is the most significant theme that emerged from the analysis of Yahoo Boys. While all six publications are situated at the intersections of multiple fields of study, they all share a common endorsement of the constructionist/interpretivist position. The six published works comprise: [a] three conceptual publications; and [b] three empirical publications. The conceptual publications deconstruct the meanings of multiple taken-for-granted concepts in cybercrime scholarship and develop more robust conceptual lenses, namely: (1) ‘Digital Spiritualization’; (2) ‘The Tripartite Cybercrime Framework – TCF’; and (3) ‘The Synergy between Feminist Criminology and the TCF’. These new conceptual lenses represent the candidate’s contribution to developing theory in the field. Alongside this, the empirical section includes three sets of qualitative data, which include: (1) interviews with seventeen Nigerian parents; (2) lyrics from eighteen Nigerian musicians; and (3) interviews with forty Nigerian law enforcement officers. These diverse sources of qualitative data provide a more fully-developed understanding of ‘cybercrime’ in the Nigerian context (and elsewhere). All six-published works, while individually contributing to knowledge, collectively shed clearer light on the centrality of cultural context in the explanation of ‘cybercrime’.

Author's Profile

Suleman Lazarus
London School of Economics


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