Case 1: HushPuppi/Mompha
Hushpuppi, whose real name is Raymond Igbalodely, is a Nigerian scam superstar who base in UAE and is the most recent trending fraud hero in Nigeria and beyond. Since the news of his arrest broke out, there has been various reactions from different quarters. In the same vein, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha, was arrested by EFCC late 2019 on allegations bordering on internet scam.
Most people who criticise these two young men are of the opinion that they shouldn’t have flaunted their ill gotten wealth on the social media. They are more concerned about their lifestyle of opulence and less concerned about the very act for which they are being prosecuted.
Going by the thought process observed thus far, most people who condemn them would not have done so had they not been intimidated by their extravagant showoffs. Some even protested that they spent the bulk of their largess in foreign land and on foreign materials and inquire what they (the Nigerian populace) have benefited from them.
Case 2: Invictus Obi
AKA Obinwanne Okeke, the self acclaimed entrepreneur and CEO of Invictus Group, was once among Forbes Africa’s highly coveted 30 under 30 list. His arrest earlier this year generated a lot of concern from the masses. The case of Invictus is different from those of Hushpoppi and Mompha.
Invictus made enormous investment across Africa in oil and gas, construction, energy solutions, technology and agriculture thus creating employment for a large number of people. On that note, many people tried to justify his act.
Although many people totally condemned him for engaging in fraud, a closer look at their defense is also anchored on the fact that his massive acquisition of wealth, albeit illegal, made them, the hardworking youths, to appear lazy. This reason too is weak as they do not really have problem with his fraudulent ways but have problem with how his ways affects their own perception.
Case 3: Chidiebere Ogbonna
News has it that this man bought a carton of Indomie in Owerri. On getting home, he discovered that 1.8 million naira was enclosed in it. In a bid to remain honest, he returned the money even though there was no way it could have been traced to him and without any guarantee that he would be rewarded. Many have hailed him for being honest.
The vast majority of people who commented on the issue ridiculed and derided him for his honesty and refer to his action as stupidity and foolishness while describing the money as manner from above. Interestingly, many of those who condemn this man equally condemned Mompha and the likes. So how can one person condemn evil and condemn good at the same time?
Average Nigerian does not have any issue with fraud unless he is particularly affected negatively. This explains why communities decorate known fraudsters with chieftaincy titles; people crown them kings; the clergy celebrate them; parents are proud of them; the masses elect them into positions of authority; police worship them and girls choose them over hardworking guys any day any time.
Nigerians as a people celebrate fraudsters and encourage them to do more. Granted, scammers are everywhere, but the kind of hospitality and acceptance we give to scam and fraud has promoted it to the status of culture. We might be passing it on from generation to generation. Sadly, we suffer the consequences together.