Who is a fraudster?
Ah well, the joke is on you if you didn’t already know that. For clarity though, the Merriam Webster dictionary defines a fraudster as “a person who engages in FRAUD”.
Of course, country dey hard. There is a latent lack of proportion between the teeming population and the number of employment opportunities available. There are no real jobs to meet the excessive demand. Every year, Nigerian tertiary institutions churn out an average of about 500,000 graduates. There are no jobs, no accommodation, and no viable prospects for the active population. Wealth distribution in Nigeria is a myth. The rich continue to get richer, while the poor remain where they are.
Truth be told, we mainly have ourselves to blame for the sorry state of affairs. More shocking though, are the choices we make as rulers with a view to taking us to the so-called Promised Land. The Academic Staff Union of Universities frequently embarks on protracted strike actions to the tune of an annual ritual. Students are kept out of school, idle and without any certainty as to their future. Where do they channel their energies to? Yes, you guessed correctly; sports betting, fraud schemes and ritual practices.
Social media and its attendant pressures do little to ameliorate the situation. Your favorite musician posts an update on newly acquired automobiles. The comments pour in on that Instagram page, and everyone aspires to hit it big, with no questions asked in respect to the source of income.
Prayerful mothers of online scammers are just as culpable. A young man has no notable foreseeable wealth generating scheme, there is no letter of employment or term of contract in writing but come month end, he sends home N250, 000 for upkeep and his mother accepts with no sense of curiosity. In fact, on Sunday she takes out time to pray for him and his “business”. Is she not an enabler? She even uses him as an example to his siblings and cousins.
“Be like David, he knows what he’s doing.”
Politicians steal public funds with impunity, but nobody bats an eyelid. Thousands still turn up at stadiums to cheer them on as they spell out their political aspirations. In Nigeria, businesses are hardly investigated and companies are really lax with taxes, so it’s very easy to launder money. The police would rather take bribes than charge defaulters to court. Banks that also receive these questionably large sums somehow end up not alerting the authorities.
In the words of musical icon David “Davido” Adeleke in a recent song, “see, in this life, just have money”. The same can be applied to our Nigerian clime today: in spite of whatever infractions are committed, money is a sure bailout channel. Integrity and honesty are character traits that are frowned at.
Recently, “Reggae Blues” crooner Harrysong did a giveaway on his Instagram page and two brothers impersonated widowed mothers to collect part of the giveaway. Harrysong found them out and put them on blast on his page. Instead of his followers to join in the reprimanding, they turned on Harrysong asking if the busted fraudsters were the first to do such a thing, even poking fun at him in the lines of “how much did you even give out, to earn you the right to make all this noise?”
An author met someone online who scammed him. After the scam, the author confided in Emmanuel (Scammer), the hero of the book, to expose how he scammed people. After Emmanuel disclosed all the evidence on how he executed his scams. He went on to state his reasons for scamming in the first place, highlighting the fact that he ordinarily wouldn’t scam people if things weren’t so hard in his country. The author understood his plight and forgave him, and in addition, promised to bring him to the United States to harness his intelligence.
He asked that readers should open a GoFundMe account so that Emmanuel could repay all the people he had scammed. I personally think that bit is the biggest of the scams.
From all the evidence, it is clear that like all forms of crime and corruption, fraud has been engrained in the Nigerian society, complete with operant conditioning systems that ensure both protection and reward for all fraudulent activities. We simply cannot rely anymore on the law or its enforcement to rid of us this social ill. We must appeal instead to our moral conscience and high selves as a society to do better. For this too, I remain ever so skeptical.