As a continent, Africa has long been, though unfairly been associated with bad things ranging from ritual killings to corruption and terrorism. Indeed, to the outside world, the image of Africa is of a place where all kinds of unheard things happen. In some cases, Africa has given doe justification for these views while in some cases these views were borne out of a wrong view about Africa.
However, to be particular, our country, Nigeria, who prides herself as the giant of Africa had come into the limelight in recent times as having citizens whose mainstay is internet fraud. In truth, ‘Yahoo’ boys as they are famously called, have been in the country for some time with the government trying its best., though not sufficient to clamp down on them. However, on the back of recent economic hardship in the country, this fast killing virus, has once again brought Nigeria and her citizens to the limelight.
To begin the whitewash of the country, a thirty-one year old Nigerian, in the person of Obinwanne Okeke, popularly known as ‘Invictus’ Obi who was featured on Forbes as one of the African millionaires under thirty was indicted by the FBI after a yearlong investigation to have committed computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud to the tune of $11 million US dollars.
As if that was not enough, the United States released a list of 80 Nigerians who has committed internet fraud; not only that, names of 23 Nigerians were published by authorities in Saudi Arabia among those who were to be executed for drug related offence. Also, in an investigation done between January and July, it was discovered that Nigerians had defrauded citizens of the United States to the tune of $1 billion US dollars’ that is not to mention the hordes of Nigerians scattered across the world in prisons in Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar amongst others for crimes related to fraud and drug dealing.
How then did we come this far and how did this fast-killing virus threatening to kill our already sick reputation get it? First, we have to take at our values. What happened to them? Did they die? If they didn’t die, all tribes in Nigeria, have values that totally reject stealing and any form of it. It means that if we have Nigerians both home and abroad who have engaged in any form of stealing, they have lost the core values that any tribe which they come from in Nigeria stands for.
Another important factor that has contributed to the way Nigerians now see internet fraud as a means of livelihood is the fact that the successive governments in the country have succeeded at failing Nigerians. What this has caused is that Nigerians have become desperate and thus have resulted into any possible way to get wealth. This has thus made Nigerians, particularly young people to see internet fraud as the way to get wealth.
Given the fact that internet fraud has become a fast-killing virus eating at the image of Nigeria., which way do we go? We need to put our house in order. It is clear that with the way we are going, no sensible investor would want to invest in a country that is now famous for fraudsters. How do we put our house in order? Th key is for everyone, both citizens and government to work hand in hand; the government playing her role to make Nigerian citizens not to see fraud as the only means of livelihood. On the part of citizens too, we have to renew and reorient our minds to the consciousness that this country is ours and we cannot continue to be ambassadors of fraud. By so doing we would rid ourselves of this fast-killing virus.