- The story of Nigerian fraud contrasted with Nigerian integrity in two stories that trended online recently. The first was in Nigeria, the other in the United States
The first took place in Owo, Ondo State, in which 34 internet fraudsters were nabbed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Benin Zonal office. The EFCC recovered a trove of treasured loots, including nine posh cars, laptop computers, mobile phones, an array of documents and identity cards.
This followed another episode of bust when the EFCC arrested in Lagos a comedian and so-called social media influencer Nwagbo Oliver Chidera, popularly known as Pankeeroy, who has a cargo of 500,000 instagram followers. They were arrested in their shadowy hideout in James Court, Lekki, in Lagos. Chidera had a Mercedes Benz AMG GLE model worth N36 million as well as cash of over N22 million when he was nabbed.
The American story is a cheering paradox. The same kind of fraudster who fell into the EFCC net had tried to con a credulous white woman in the United States under the cloak of romance, and the woman had released her life savings of $32,500. But, according to the story, she had released the money to an account belonging to a Nigerian business man in Wisconsin.
The Nigerian posted the experience online. He revealed that the fraudsters wanted him to transfer the money to their Nigerian account. But this Nigerian who resides in the United States and has a business partner in Nigeria would not fall for the immoral bait.
Rather, he contacted the Nigerian police who asked him to trace the owner of the money. He did, and contacted the United States police. He drove all the way to the residence of the woman in Indiana with some U.S. police officers. So effectively had the woman fallen into the fraudster’s wiles that even though the police and the Nigerian, who did not reveal his name or business name, had to make an effort to convince the woman that she was a target of an unscrupulous fellow.
The police and the Nigerian eventually rid the woman of her illusion and love-struck soul. She was grateful that she had been saved and her money returned to her in one piece by the Nigerian Samaritan.
It is a story of a Nigerian saving an American from a fellow Nigerian. This is a rare case of rescue. That the EFCC continues to trace and capture many of these underground connivers shows that many unsuspecting and naïve persons in the United States, Canada and Europe still fall into the traps of these daredevil youngsters in this country.
We were all witnesses to the story of a certain fellow called Hushpuppy who made a meretricious celebrity of his fraudulent wealth before the United States arrested him and put paid to his life that showcased other people’s money.
Fraud has become a mainstay of Nigerian story abroad, and it is not hard to see why. In the upper echelon of government, fellow citizens are no longer surprised to hear of the lifestyles of men and woman who are either caught or are under investigations for dipping their icy hands into our treasure and treasury.
Again, only a few ever are found guilty, but find a way to engage the courts in rigmaroles that last years until they disappear into the grimy pile of a cynical judiciary.
We should continue to celebrate the likes of the Nigerian from Wisconsin but he is not at home and may have imbibed the morality of a better-run society. That is cold comfort for us who look harder to see men of integrity, especially in a government that is now a cesspool of graft.