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419 & The Nigerian Factor
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)http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781359.html