Finders Keepers: The code of fraud in Nigeria

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA — Fraudulent activities have become something of a mainstay in modern Nigerian society.

With methods ranging from petty schemes where the masterminds pose as authorities or service providers to community-scale scandals, and at the top tier, entrepreneurs gaining infamy internationally; few Nigerians can claim not to have had some sort of experience with the problem locally known as ‘419’ (after the Criminal Code section) – or more recently “Yahoo Yahoo”.

While the act is proscribed as a punishable offense under Nigerian criminal law, this seems to be little deterrent for those who still choose to engage in it.

Looking at the conflicting local attitudes towards it also provides interesting information. Primarily, 419 is seen as theft. However, in a nation with an unstable economic stance and recurring allegations of leaders pocketing public funds, it is almost as if the average citizen’s ability to extort and amass wealth (especially oversees), has become likened to winning the lottery; a simple matter of luck.

Notable entertainers, businesspeople and other personalities caught red-handed can even become more popular or be congratulated on their success up to that point.

What is your opinion on fraud in Nigeria in recent times? Share it in the comment section.

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