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419 & The Nigerian Factor

Updated on July 16, 2011
Run from Nigeria...Run!
Run from Nigeria...Run!


1. Transparency International in 2004 rated Nigeria the 3rd most corrupt nation on planet Earth – next only to Bahrain and Haiti.

2. The term ‘419’ comes from section 419 of the Nigerian constitution that deals with financial crimes and fraud. Violators of the code are referred to as 419ers.

3. The Nigerian factor is a popular term used to refer to those combined factors that affect or contribute to the overall working of the nation. These factors are mostly negative, such as corruption, fraud, lack of respect for rule of law, and others.

View on Transparency International’s Survey

Can you believe that stuff about the 3rd rating! Well, I’m sure you probably can, being that you have or at least know someone who has received a scam email from a Nigerian. But the factor for coming up with these numbers are more based on leadership than by any other factors. But I gotta admit – I mean, I’m not gonna make any pretences about it, Nigerian leadership does suck, and half the time we’re worrying about what happens to our money than anything. Really! But here’s what I figure, if politicians in the most populated black nation on Earth can’t figure out how to subtlety play the technocratic game, like their western counterparts then maybe we do deserve to be the 3rd most corrupt nation on Earth!

When the 3rd rating hit the nation, naturally everybody went berserk; you had to see the leaders tabling their arguments and all – blasting TI, blasting World Bank, and everybody. Opinions were divided, though. A lot of people felt it was time that the leaders listened to the voice of reason. But did they? Hardly.

Nigeria no doubt has had a long history of looting and embezzlement by its leaders. It’s this oil thing. Nothing good ever comes from it, in my opinion (except for a lofty seat in OPEC, but who cares!); No one knows or can even begin to estimate the amounts of dollars and pounds stashed in Swiss and offshore bank accounts by past heads of state; especially in the military era (Nigeria began civilian rule in 1999); the military was crazy – but that’s the way it has always been in military dictatorships, isn’t it. Nigeria is barely trying to get on her feet! But someone might argue, isn’t 10 years a long time for Nigeria to still be getting back on her feet? My answer is no! Imagine, a nation who for decades have been ruled nearly by unscrupulous, greedy men in uniforms – men who had looted its treasury without end, neglected to provide basic needs such as food, water, shelter, power and other amenities – imagine that, and just think how the effects of that eat into the fabric of a nation, into its spirit, and how it will after decades decay the mental workings of its citizens, subduing them to a point where they have no faith in their country, no patronage, even a point where they would do anything to get the hell out of the country, even if it means paddling a canoe miles across turbulent ocean waves – or if worse comes to worse, do whatever it takes to earn. I do not condone corruption; it gives the nation a very bad image, to the point that it affects even the lot of us who like to think they’re honest.

View on 419ers

I walked into a bank sometime ago, to open a domiciliary account that allows me to make International transactions. I’m into Web/IT Services and Consultancy, and I run a company in that regard. But naturally, they interviewed me and drilled me like I was a fraudster. It took a really spirited speech (I can be pretty darn good with those) for me to convince the manager to hook me up with a dom’ account, presto. But I felt pretty bad – I didn’t blame them, though, they we’re just being cautious. A banker chick, who had been watching me make my spirited speech and all, called me aside afterwards and explained to me how a lot of guys use fake ids to open up dom’ accounts with the bank, only to use it fraudulent reasons. She told me about a young dude, who had been nabbed by the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission); whose account was frozen, and now he’s locked up. And so the bank had to adopt strict rules for opening dom’ accounts, since then. She was pretty cute, too.

The Scammers called Yahoo Boys

Over the past couple of years, a new trend has been birthed among the Nigerian youth known as Yahoozee. I don’t know how it came about, but these Yahoozee or Yahoo boys as they fondly call themselves prey upon the innocence and greed of foreigners who want to make some quick cash or gain. They have various methods which they use to waylay unsuspecting victims into paying up. After they have hundreds or thousands of emails from notable sites, using Email Extracting software, they are able to send bulk emails or spam to these people, requesting them to deposit money for so and so reason, or for a little charity work or something. These days are more elaborate and some even own well-developed web sites for their work. And these kids are hauling it in, you gotta see, they drive around in cars you can only see on rap videos. It’s sad, really – and to be honest, I really don’t have much to say about it.

View on the Nigerian Factor

Hogwash! That’s all I have to say about it. But people fear Nigeria now like a plague. No kidding. Many Nigerians in Diaspora are even ashamed to admit that they’re Nigerians. I’ve heard about corporate places in western countries that have stickers in their workplace saying, DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH A NIGERIAN! They must have had it pretty rough by Nigerians. It’s really that bad.

But you know what; a scammer can’t get you, unless you’re the greedy kind. For instance, a scammer will always tell you how much you stand to gain if you only you can front a certain amount – the amount you’re supposed to gain is so unbelievably enormous, that you have to be either dumb or greedy as hell to fall for it. Or check this, all those billions of dollars being laundered away by past heads of state to Swiss banks and what not – are you telling me that those banks didn’t know that it was stolen money, the nation’s dough? Of course, they knew, but they took it anyway, and did business with it. We’re talking amounts reaching 60 to hundreds of billions of dollars in single deposits. C’mon, the banks are as much thieves as the leaders. You wanna see a fraud, check out a Swiss bank. Half of their entire money comes from money laundered from 3rd world nations. But Switzerland isn’t rated anywhere near the 3rd most corrupt nation. Hell no! As a matter of fact, they’re rated 7th most incorrupt nation . Just think about it.


The Federal Government in an effort to combat financial crimes came up with two agencies – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC); and for the first time Nigerians saw their leaders being tried and persecuted.

The EFCC went full throttle, arresting countless Yahoo boys nationwide. A lot still needs to be done, no kidding.

According to the last TI report, we’re rated like 33rd out of the 193 countries of the world! Okay, so TI says that 13 nations are not included in the survey, due to wuchmacallit – unsubstantial material. So that leaves 180 nations. Nigeria being the 33rd on TI’s corrupt nation’s list. And guess who’s numero uno now on the organizations list?


I wonder what they have to say about that, hah!

(View full list from Transparency International – know where your country belongs, lol)


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    • Uzochukwu Mike profile image

      Uzochukw Mike 3 years ago from Oba

      The truth is that the present government in Nigeria is working hard to minimize the level of corruption in the country. Nice piece.

    • profile image

      Elaine DeCarmo 6 years ago

      Please let me know of any ways i can help to stop the scamming and help put these intelligent minds to better use to improve Nigeria.

    • profile image

      ksim 7 years ago

      love this piece.but will love to ask if u do not feel that nigeria is still in the process but unfortunately the tools in place presently are just not the right ones ?

    • fierycj profile image

      fierycj 8 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

      Thanks Rosa. You're very kind. I consider you a very good friend. Glad to know such a graceful soul.

    • rosariomontenegro profile image

      rosariomontenegro 8 years ago from NEW YORK

      FIERY, I'm writing here because I didn't know where else to do it.

      I just read (in the thread you opened and was closed) about the atrocities against your people.

      I'm really sorry for all these terrible things that are happening.

      Just wanted to express my sympathy, and wishing that the situation is, indeed, controlled. And never repeated again.

      You be a good man, my friend, it's your best contribution for things to get better in your country. I know you can do it.

    • fierycj profile image

      fierycj 8 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

      Hey Darkside, thanks for dropping in. Too bad about the scams you get. It is what it is.

    • darkside profile image

      Glen 8 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for this unique look from within. I used to get a lot of 419 scam emails, and even had an ongoing discussion with one scammer as I played the part of a bumbling idiot, so the Nigerian Scam reputation fascinates me.

      It's interesting to hear it from someone who has felt the effects in a different, though much more immediate and real way.

    • fierycj profile image

      fierycj 8 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

      Thanks Viryabo. I take it you're Nigerian. Thanks for dropping in.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 8 years ago

      Great hub Fierycj.

      My 1st comment a few minutes ago was wiped out, maybe because i expressed my true feelings about the leaders. So i will re-word a bit more nicely..

      THE LEADERS ARE ASLEEP at the moment. Disgusting and sooooo sad. It makes people like me so depressed with the way the system is run. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

      i hope this comment goes this time. I've met you on the forums and decided to check you out.

      Great hubs. Going back now to read more of your hubs.


    • fierycj profile image

      fierycj 8 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

      James, well, my take is that there'll probably always be crisis in the Niger-Delta as long as the foreign Oil companies think they can just render the locals' God-given resources while polluting their land. I'm not in support of militancy, but It's only natural that humans will rebel against maltreatment. It isn't nearly as bad as it looks, though. Oil is big business as you know, though.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks for the link. I read the story. What's your take on it?

    • fierycj profile image

      fierycj 8 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

      Hey, Jude...Thanks. very elaborate comment there. I agree with every word.

      James, it was a fire on Wednesday. Here's the link:

      Yeah,'re so right. Thanks.

      Thanks for the compliments, Cindy.


      Hey, Pearldriver...shush it, dude...I think that's like our private joke now, huh! Thanks.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Shush it Dude!!! Your work's pretty damn good here. I agree with Jude. Use your talent to bring about change CJ.

    • profile image

      \Brenda Scully 8 years ago

      knew you would get noticed one day.........

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

      Fierycj, this was brilliant and one of the best hubs I've read in ages. Just love your writing style!

    • Eaglekiwi profile image

      Eaglekiwi 8 years ago from -Oceania

      Interesting hub and as I understand it many Governments are corrupt. Smaller countries are easier to highlight and media dont have to look too far for 'greedy' people who get caught out by even bigger greedier people.

      Since being in the USA for example , not one day goes by when a spammer doesn't call offering 'too good to be true' offers. via the phone...used to be called telemarketing ,but its hard sell in your face now.. and sooooo annoying!! ,some of the calls are even automated .I know its big business selling email addresses etc.....we are the product of our own demise huh.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      Hey fierycj! What happened at that Chevron facility over there?

    • profile image

      Jude 8 years ago

      It is an obligation to every Nigerian to ensure that the National image is protected as it concerns every citizen. It is dissapointing that people only think about them selves and their house holds, and same people find them selves in public office positions(What do you expect?). And it continues from generation to generation.

      Like they say, it takes trees to make a forest. Nigeria's development can only come from a unified effort. If every Nigerian can think positive for each other, regardless of ethnicity, or negative factors, but for the fact that we are one Nigeria, then our progress is not far fetched.

    • profile image

      Jude 8 years ago

      For Nigeria to move forward, diminishing of curruption should be Nigerians top priority.

    • fierycj profile image

      fierycj 8 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

      There really isn’t any point to this hub, except to merely talk about the concepts that give Nigeria a bad image in a light-hearted manner, bereft of political jargon. And if you really wanna know – that kinda stuff bores the living daylights outta me. Most people who talk political stuff about their country always make themselves to be like some freedom activist or something. What I’m I? Mandela. Lol.