Letter from Africa: Why Nigeria’s internet scammers are ‘role models’

Letter from Africa: Why Nigeria's internet scammers are 'role models'

Within our number of letters from African article writers, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani laments that internet scammers are becoming part models for most youngsters in her own nation.

The Federal Bureau of research (FBI) in america has indicted 80 individuals - 77 of these Nigerians - in exactly what it defines as the "largest case of online fraud in US history".

But many shocking for Nigerians was the arrest that is separate of internationally celebrated company tycoon, Obinwanne Okeke.

The pinnacle of Nigeria's Invictus Group, that has passions in sectors which range from agriculture to real-estate, he had been known as by the Forbes that is respected magazine certainly one of its 30 top African business owners aged under 30.

Now Mr Okeke - or Invictus Obi while he could be popularly understood - is accused because of the United States authorities of stealing $11m (Р’Р€8m) in one single online scam alone.

He pleaded simple in court the other day, and ended up being remanded in custody.

Biblical links

The FBI publicises likewise sensational busts every several years, usually accompanied by quick beliefs and jail that is impressive.

Yet this does small to deter more Nigerian guys from participation in just what is revealed as a widening network of worldwide cyber fraudulence.

Whenever Nigerians first achieved notoriety within the 1990s for defrauding Westerners of millions of bucks, the frauds became referred to as 419 following the element of the Nigerian penal code which tackles such crimes.

Nigerians, that are generally speaking spiritual, additionally connected the aptness with this quantity towards the Book of Psalms, chapter 41 and verse 9 (41:9), which generally seems to explain the typical advance charge fraudulence: "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in who we trusted, which did consume of my bread, hath lifted their heel against me personally."

Today, the frauds, that are carried out mostly online, via e-mail and messaging apps, are also known as Yahoo Yahoo.

They normally are love frauds, or phishing, which FBI agent that is special Nail once known as "modern-day bank robbery".

"You can to use house in your PJs and slippers by having a laptop computer, and you will really rob a bank," he stated.

On line safety advice

  • Crooks whom commit relationship fraudulence trawl through pages and piece information that is together as wide range and life style, so that you can manipulate their victims
  • Police can investigate which help to supply help, but usually cannot have the cash back
  • It is extremely easy for fraudsters to pay for their songs by masking internet protocol address details and making use of unregistered cell phone numbers
  • Never ever deliver cash to some body online you've got never ever met
  • Think hard about publishing information that is personal might be utilized to govern or bribe your


The wave that is first of 419 scammers had been mostly uneducated crooks.

The group that is next young, educated males have been aggravated by the possible lack of formal jobs within an economy ruined by a number of armed forces dictatorships and several years of mismanagement.

They noticed the uneducated scammers wealth that is accumulating esteem, and made a decision to join them.

From then on followed a batch that just admired the scammers.

'Training school raided'

That they had seen the scammers establish genuine companies from fraudulent funds, and start to become philanthropists that are respected politicians in senior leadership roles.

This type of person the motivation for several up-and-coming scammers, and several young Nigerians think about scamming a vocation course and a legitimate revenue stream.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), raided a "Yahoo Yahoo training school" in the commercial capital Lagos, arrested the proprietor, and eight students who were allegedly being taught skills to carry out cyber fraud in May, Nigeria's anti-corruption agency.

The FBI's periodic busts constantly result in nationwide surprise and embarrassment, and a time period of collective soul-searching regardless of how brief.

The area news has furnished a blast of headlines and commentary about Mr Okeke and also the other men indicted - who we should keep in mind are innocent until proven bad in court - while different specialists have actually recommended what you can do to make young Nigerians out of the wide and wicked course.