Lagos, Nigeria -- The most foolish argument I've heard from the never-ending efforts to discourage young Nigerians from cybercrime is that money isn't everything.
Well, lack isn't everything either. There's also the equally common argument about integrity being worthier than wealth, as if a dichotomy must always exist between the two.
No wonder the many 419 scammers -- for whom the specter of a destitute and unfulfilled future is a daily terror -- don't appear ready to budge from their fraudulent ways.
And so it was with a mixture of curiosity and skepticism that I attended an 'Alternatives to Cybercrime' event organized by Microsoft and Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN). What new doctrine did the anti-cybercrime brigade have to preach this time?
My 419 scams-themed novel had earned me an invitation to address the audience of university and secondary school students. Another guest speaker was Adeolu Akinyemi, a young man who runs Street Skills, an organization that rehabilitates 419 scammers. The more he spoke, the more I found myself sitting straighter in my chair with rapt attention.
No, he doesn't warn the fraudsters against the ills of materialism or notify them that money doesn't buy happiness. That grand sermon may wait until after they can afford three square meals a day.