Talking Across National Borders: ICTS and Black Market Economy along the Cameroon-Nigeria Borders at Ekok-Ikom Since 1961 (Published)
ICTs were invented with the aim of facilitating communication at various levels and among different categories of persons. Our today world can be referred to as a world of ICTs because of the ease of communication. This ease of communication has been exploited positively and negatively. The current study attempts to establish the negative influence of ICTs in cross border communication using Ikom/Ekok at the Cameroon-Nigeria border as typical example. The scale of cross-border crime represents a considerable challenge to law enforcement agencies across the Cameroon-Nigeria border at Ekok-Ikom and this has been exacerbated by the use of ICTs by criminal organizations to outsmart security agencies. With so much of our everyday communication in commercial activity now taking place via the internet, mobile phones and other forms of social media activities the threat from crimes is increasingly targeting citizens, businesses and governments in the world over not excluding the Cameroon-Nigeria border Towns. There are criminals in these areas that are involved in child trafficking and smuggling as illustrative points.To attain the above-outlined objectives, an interdisciplinary design of research was adopted given that this study involves issues of trade, criminality and technological advancement. A qualitative instrument of analysis was adopted to establish the negative influence of ICTs in cross border criminality in Africa. A kind of participant/observer mechanism was used by this researcher given his frequent crossing of the Cameroon-Nigeria border at this particular point. Oral interviews were conducted to gather data and the target groups were the operators of this illegal trade as well as the victims. Some secondary sources were equally consulted on ICTs and criminology elsewhere. Cross border crime remains a major challenge in this area and ICTs have further intensified the impact of cross border illegal operations at Ekok-Ikom border. Mobile phones and internet communication are used to beat security networks and facilitate the illegal crossing of goods and persons. In some occasions, these black market operations are successfully carried out with the help of custom officers at the border points. This study extends the frontiers of knowledge on the use of ICTs for illegal operation along border areas.