News flash: “Hushpuppi arrested by INTERPOL for fraud”
The internet has been awash with news this past week of the international arrest of Raymond Igbalodely AKA Hushpuppi. Arrested in Dubai, UAE alongside two of his associates Mr. Woodberry and Efe, the young man is alleged to have defrauded the US government of money meant for Native Americans in the fight against Coronavirus to the tune of $100m.
Only last year, there was also the widely reported arrest of Obinwanne Okeke popularly known as Invictus Obi. Until his arrest that August day last year, Obi was known as CEO of Invictus Group and was in Forbes Magazine’s list of under 30 self-made entrepreneurs in Africa. But from Forbes’ list of Africa’s 30 under 30 Obi fell into the ignominious hands of the FBI. The catch too was internet fraud.
The prevalence of a phenomenon usually follows an enablement by the habitat. In Nigeria, there is an accommodating culture of getting rich quick. I do not scruple to say that, no matter if anyone wants to argue it to the world’s end.
When you hear those loudspeakers blaring from church walls: “God bless you immediately!” on a Monday morning when people should be at work but are instead claiming car rewards and contracts and houses and millions they’ve not worked for, what do you think it is?
Or our musicians singing with delirium that, “I go blow, 2 seconds”, “I go cash out, area scatter, 2 seconds”, “still on collecting, confirmation na must, 2 seconds”, what do you think it is about?
Whilst there’s nought intrinsically wrong in wanting to acquire wealth fast enough in life, there is everything wrong when this craving comes sans breaking a sweat; and the Nigerian’s ‘blow me, 2 seconds’ is an imploration for getting rich quick without any labour. Any society that puts unnecessary pressure on its young to acquire wealth ‘2 seconds’ without any mind to how this wealth is acquired must accept its fair share of the blame when things go awry.
In that sense, Nigeria has contributed to the prevalence of fraud, as with other ills, both within and without its borders by its young.
Make no mistake about it, there isn’t any society without its fair share of evils. Every civilization combats with one or other form of a moral problem, but the seeming expectation placed on people to engage in bad behavior is something exclusive to Nigeria.
You are voted into a political office and you’re expected to come out extremely rich or you’re deemed a failure, a disappointment. You are expected to steal and build yourself a mansion or two when you’re handed (mind, handed is used here intentionally as against winning, for obvious reasons) a contract; failure at which you’re denounced by friend and foe as mugu. It is demanded from you to make yourself wealthy come what may, which is apparent in the daring, unabashed way so many of these criminals flaunt their ill-gotten sucre around these parts.
The latest one to be napped, Hushpuppi has been flaunting mind-boggling wealth on the insta-net for a couple of years even with accusations of fraud hanging over him. Very few seemed to care how he had accrued such riches as he displayed so arrogantly, and even fewer would mind if, as it turns out, it was through fraud. Most would sigh, “him God bless am”, “Baba God when my time go come?”.
In order to get there, Bolanle resorts to wire fraud or ritual killings for money; steals girls’ pants for juju to get luck and/or fortification. The other set delves into do or die politics; whichever the path, destination BLOW ME QUICK!
Ironically, these young men and women could have earned an honest living with the selfsame talent they employ in these criminal activities. When I take into consideration how basic and limited own skillset with the computer is, I know it must take some gift far from basic and limited to be able to hack and do what these men and women do with the computer. But why sweat it out legitimately when you can blow ‘2 seconds’?
Again whether they flaunt it recklessly like Hushpuppi, or disguise it like Invictus, or the hundreds others ‘pressing’ still in the hope of becoming like their bigger, ‘made’ role models on the net, music, movies, politics; the plain truth is that unless there is a shift in our reasoning, the depravity will continue. The glorification of any ideology can have only the one effect: the firm establishment of such an ideology in the mind for its ‘benefits,’ not ills, and in a young mind this whitewashing can be especially disastrous.
Because a child that grew into a man that sings “my landlord go become my tenant”, has a support structure in his ecosystem that allows if not encourages such depravity.
Hold this truth to be self-evident and clear, that as you raise up a child, so he shall grow. QED.