Tweets and reactions: revealing the geographies of cybercrime perpetrators and the north-south divide

Suleman Lazarus, Mark Button

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How do tweets reflect the long-standing disparities between the northern and southern regions of Nigeria? This study presents a qualitative analysis of Twitter users' responses (n = 101,518) to the tweets of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) regarding the production and prosecution of cybercrime. The article uses postcolonial perspectives to shed light on the legacies of British colonial efforts in Nigeria, such as the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates in 1914. The results revealed significant discrepancies between Nigeria's northern and southern regions regarding cybercriminal arrest, conviction, and sentencing. Specifically, the results showed that the EFCC's criminalization of Southerners differs substantially from that of Northerners. The contemporary manifestation of inequalities concerning the production and prosecution of cybercrime on Twitter reflects long-standing contestations (e.g., economic, political, cultural, geological) between the northern and southern parts of Nigerian society. Therefore, since the North-South divide in present-day Nigeria originated from British colonization, colonialism is the base that shaped the superstructure comprising political, religious, historical, geological (e.g., crude oil), and economic factors. In turn, the article spotlights that regional differences in educational attainment, originating from differing experiences of Christianization and colonization, interact with regional disparities in the production of cybercrime. More research is required to better understand how these contextual disparities in society interact with the production and prosecution of cybercrime, given that Nigerian cybercriminals defraud victims all over the world.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Early online date27 Jun 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 27 Jun 2022


  • geographies of the illicit
  • Twitter
  • cybercrime
  • colonial legacies
  • decolonizing Yahoo Boys
  • Nigeria-Biafra
  • West Africa


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