The FBI Arrests

The FBI Arrests

In eastern Nigeria a few years ago, a secondary school dropout bought out a chair which a professor was “chairing” to coordinate a wedding ceremony. Many people clapped; “money na power”! The professor carefully left the scene. In Osun state, cocoa farmers would return after harvest, give Police money to deal with their “enemies”; “money talking”. Indeed, across Nigeria, we worship money. That is our national problem.

But the FBI arrests of many Nigerians (especially men from the southeastern part) take this to a new level. It is very shameful, and all of us should be ashamed of how we have gone this low as a nation – at home and abroad. There are consequences to all these things: the lowest among us sets the denominator on how people see us. Who told you that a New York company will hire you to serve as its CFO after Invictus Obi mess even though you were in the game a few days ago?

Some of the suspects

As you know, irrespective of your status, Delta airlines will not allow you to fly from the U.S. to Nigeria if you do not physically present the credit card you used to purchase the ticket at check-in. Mainly Nigerians face that experience. But you cannot blame Delta because Nigerian consular offices in the U.S. do the same. In short, the consulates will ask you to upload card statements just to be sure the card is yours. Yes, people steal credit cards to apply for Nigerian passports and visas depending on their situations.

I do not have much to write – our contributors have made the case. One thing I will add here is this: there are consequences when international media project a nation in this way, with hard facts. Today, a U.S. investor planning to invest in a startup in Lagos pulled out after reading the Jumia mess. The investor, an American and a former schoolmate, has lost confidence in the numbers which the startup had shared.

I visited the startup last time I was home. But unknown to the three founders, there is another force that will take that opportunity away: a mess in Jumia. Yes, we are all connected, directly or indirectly. We can all swim together or destroy this nation called Nigeria. Our value system must change: money cannot be our god. It must not – and Nigerians must live to that in ways we behave and act!

This week events will block opportunities for many Nigerians in America. Yes,  everyone is a victim, and that is why we must reject unfounded wealth in our communities at home and abroad.


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14 thoughts on “The FBI Arrests

  1. Hard Truth Prof. You said it all. It is another big blow to our already battered image. “The Love of Money Is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains”-1 Timothy 6:10.A timely warning from the Holy Scriptures. I wish those who have ears are reading and learning from this classic example.

  2. I am compelled to comment on your analysis of the national consequences of the FBI arrests in LA. this week. This is symptomatic of misplaced intelligence and values, which is common to man through out history. I was reading an article on ” Who can be an entrepreneur?” and one of the category named, is A Person with a Criminal Mind. I was shocked, but thinking of this deeply, I realized that the righteous use of common sense is Entrepreneurship. My take is that we cannot do any significant thing, or take any immediate steps to change the values of the Nigerian adult that is fully formed. There are significant gains to be made when we continue to show good examples of legitimate wealth, through academia, business education and innovation, for which many Nigerians are known for in the USA and all over the world. The news from the criminally minded few will always out sound the majority that are good. Let us working on our youths and children and Nigeria will attain social and economic equilibrium in time.

  3. Condemnable as this crime sounds, let us also take our minds back to the time of colonialism and slave trade. Today, we all are lending our voices to condemn all acts of criminality for which the culprits must pay the price under the dictates of the law.

    A question keeps bothering my mind: Who paid the price of colonialism and slave trade which is also crime against humanity?

    1. “Who paid the price of colonialism and slave trade which is also crime against humanity?” I do not understand how that changes the discussion today. Irrespective of who paid the price of slavery (Africans paid) if you do not understand that criminality is not just happening because FBI arrested some people, it is happening when politicians embezzle public funds, bank managers rake deposits, etc. If you wait for slavery pains to be normalized to understand the evils of these attitudes, we will not make progress. We cannot say “because the West enslaved us, we have to enslave our people by stealing government money in Abuja, Nairobi, Accra, etc”. The FBI arrest is a small unit of that attitude.

    2. You have a point… But I would not say, because your grand father stole from my father, so I will take laws into my hand to steal from you as well…. Unfortunately I may spend some real time behind bars… Let’s do right no matter the situation and obey the law.

  4. The issue at hand is hydra headed. That brings to limelight our core attititude to crime, irrespective of whose ox is gored, and who is at the receiving end.

    Remember the NPF campaign against crime “Crime Fighters” which focused on the weak and powerless criminals amongst us while “Pen robbers” weren’t paraded in media in like manner as their weak and not so powerful counterparts.

    The ripple effect of the high and mighty criminals in corridors of power is what we are reaping in the society. A gainfully employed mind is less wnclined to social vices, not withstanding exceptional cases.

    Also, societal values readily come to mind. The expectation of kinsmen who celebrate wealth irrespective of how it was acquired. Often times, one of our local saying “He who scales the iroko tree should pluck firewood cos the opportunity to be up there rarely presents itself twice” and whereby you are public spirited and served without enmassing wealth, you are seen as a failure by your people when you quit service. This also is one of our problems.

    Massive orientation should be geared towards correcting this notion cos it breeds greed and manifold crime in the society.

    My thought tho.

  5. It is a Shame where it seems are values lie. I once went to an ‘interview’ where someone praised money over knowledge and went home baffled at such outright display of ignorance. This problem is at root of some vices in the society. An average youth seeks for money-quick avenues. Little wonder the prevalence of cybercrimes and fraudulent interactions online. The recent paraded ones has really dented the image of Nigeria especially the south east. Only a move on reorientation can curb this imminent danger.

  6. This is indeed shameful in all ramification. I remember when I moved to Germany, and some people kept asking if I was a #Nigerian because I do not behave like #them. I had to point out that I am an individual and the #criminality of a few can not define us all. Unfortunately the worship of money in Nigeria is not helping matter. No one is asking how people make their wealth, that is why few months ago thousands of “Nigerians” took to twitter to demand the release of an musician that sang about internet fraud…We have gone so low that we can go any lower. This pain is bore most by those who have left Nigeria to make a life for themselves elsewhere.

  7. Well said but one thing you said that’s not true, with all due respect ,is that the Nigerian consular offices or Consulate in the US would ask you to upload card statements.
    The name on your application has to match the name on the card you are using to pay, and if you are a family with the same last name, then that can go through.That’s the policy of Innovate, the 3rd party the Consulate uses for payment.
    Let’s educate people well.

    1. “That’s the policy of Innovate, the 3rd party the Consulate uses for payment.” You did not make a point – who hired Innovate? You want to tell you that your school is not responsible for the performance of the teachers!


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