Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, of the United States of America uncovered one of the biggest crimes in the history of the country, where 77 Nigerians were reportedly arrested over internet fraud crime related issues. The US authorities had in a statement claimed that the suspects either played major roles in the alleged fraud or acted as accomplices to the crimes.
The suspects, according to the statement were accused of conspiring with federal and state agents to perpetrate the crime, apart from being involved in schemes that resulted in the transfer of at least $6 million which was obtained fraudulently. The suspects, most of whom were Nigerians were also alleged to have been involved in the attempted theft of at least an additional $40 million in internet scam.
As if that was not enough, the Saudi Arabian Government had in a statement on Saturday, August 24, 2019 revealed that no fewer than 23 Nigerians were on death roll on drug related offenses. This was coming few weeks after the Saudi authorities executed Kudirat Afolabi for drug trafficking and Saheed Sobade, another Nigerian, who was reportedly nabbed with 1,183 grams of cocaine in Jeddah.
And indeed, before these incidences, there were several other crimes allegedly perpetrated by some unscrupulous Nigerians in foreign lands, which have gone to stereotype even decent Nigerians as common criminals. For example, few months ago some armed robbers of Nigerian extinction launched an attack on a bureau de change outfit in Dubai and they were arrested. As someone has rightly mentioned, “one drop of dirt is enough to make a basin of water impure”, and unfortunately, this is our predicament as a nation, but of course, we are not criminals.
We note that the reason behind these crimes and criminalities cannot be far-fetch, considering the fact that some Nigerians have been infested with the get-rich-quick syndrome, which has been the bane of our development as a people. Nigerians have the propensity to accept largesse and monetary gifts and lavish social ceremonies from these set of people who make their wealth through dubious means, without recourse to investigating the source(s).
It is sad and unfortunate the Nigerians have the nag for profligacy, decadent opulence and vanity which have over the years gone to encourage crimes and criminality. No wonder, in August, 2016, while a Nigerian drug dealer’s head was being severed in Indonesia, his funeral witnessed a boisterous gathering of his kinsmen back here at home who, without shame were calling him a hero. And of course, there have been many instances like that where people with questionable wealth take advantage of our gullibility to cow us into believing in their lives of profligacy and decadent opulence.
While we condemn these acts of criminalities among very minute number of Nigerians, we refuse to accept the generalization and stereotyping, because the Nigerians perpetrating these criminal acts are just a handful of the population of a country with over 200 million people. If truth be told, Nigerians are generally, law-abiding and hardworking people wherever they are, whether in the Diaspora or here at home.
Therefore, we implore the Federal Government, through its anti-graft agency, the EFCC to willingly cooperate with the government of the United States and in accordance with the laid-down universal human rights and due legal processes in the interest of our nation, track down the suspected internet fraudsters indicted by the FBI to serve as deterrent and save our country from this avoidable shame.