History of Scam 419 in Nigeria

IN Nigeria a sudden twist and style toward the use of vice to get wealth took its toll during the early ’90s this began with the formation of doubtful banks which exhausted investible money from the citizens. When this began to reduce another one took its place nick-named 419 which is simply a scam.

The cheats went around duping foreigners and Nigerians of their hard earned money. It didn’t take long before hard drugs dealing crept into the system and before long Nigerians were uncomfortable all over the world and tagged drug pushers.

Those without sufficient knowledge, skills or finances to connect in the above mentioned vices went into armed theft. Thus killing crowned it all as the by-product of dispute and clashes of interest of those involved.

All this created a huge gap between the rich and the poor and eroded the ethics of working hard in the society. Our role models became those given to ostentatious display of wealth.

This prompted those who are hard workers to become dishonest, and fraud took over our corporate system. It began to seem that the only true way to become wealthy was by indulging in criminality.

The resulting mindset that working hard do not pay overwhelmed our ethics. And what soon became popular was a saying like “anyway is a way” meaning it’s doesn’t matter what you do to acquire wealth, either good or evil. This also found its way into our school system as students quickly lost interest in studying hard.

The fateful result is the examination misconducts that have become extensive and the increasing penchant of lecturers and teachers in taking advantage of desperate students to enrich them in exchange for passing these students when they do not merit it. This also explains why our universities have now become a perfect environment for aggression and cult activities.

Year 2000 computers and information technology made major inroads into the country and soon an internet crime tagged “yahoo-yahoo” was born.

This explains individuals who send scam mails online in order to trick their victims into transferring funds to them. This rapidly spread among the youths and soon young boys with no qualifications, trade or vocations were seen driving big cars, drinking foreign wines and lodging in five star hotels.

A related fraud-based crime currently in fashion is ATM fraud and many have lost their deposits to fraudsters specializing in this.

Newly kidnapping became the order of the day. Individuals are snatched at gun-point and taken to unknown locations where they are kept until a ransom is paid to protected their freedom.

Another cause for concern is the increasing resort by some ladies and young girls to prostitution due to unemployment and frustration. And for them, “runs” is now the name of the game. Runs is simply sleeping with a man for financial gain.

Nigeria has come to be identified in the world today with the unpleasant tag of a corrupt nation. Young Nigerians see comfort living as a sign of success not knowing that true wealth is maintaining a standard of living that endures.  Ritual killing is another saddening reality that came about because some people want to be wealthy.

Some of them try to engage in vices over there while some do genuine jobs but in the long run they bring a large portion of their savings back with them to Nigerian, albeit sometimes with wrong motives. Some don’t even think of returning till they are deported.

The ones left behind fear for their lives and their finances. This is why they are always looking over their shoulders because of kidnappers, 419 con artists, armed robbers, and etcetera.

To reduce the spread of these vices what Nigeria needs first and foremost is the application of the rule of law mantra. If majority of culprits are brought to book through strict application of relevant legislations, perpetrators will be forced to quit.

We should also employ moral suasion in promoting as models  those who acquired wealth through legitimate means by giving them awards and creating situations where others can learn from them.


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