It is no longer news that Nigeria is known all around the world for fraud. The country has a very bad reputation for crime and corruption with the accusing finger pointed towards the Nigerian leaders. Internet fraud among other crimes such as human trafficking, kidnap, pipeline vandalism, terrorism, and so on has ‘looting’ by the Nigerian leaders as the main cause.
Our nation has what it takes to be at forefront in the nations of the world as we are endowed and blessed with many natural resources. We have fertile lands for agriculture, while the ‘black gold’ i.e. crude is in abundance which make us one of the largest producers of oil in the world.
Despite all these, Nigeria is the world’s poverty stricken capital. In a report in June, 2018 by the Brookings Institution, Nigeria was said to have overtaken India as the world’s poverty capital. In fact, African Development Bank in 2018 reported that nearly 80 percent of Nigeria’s 190 million people live on less than $2 a day.
How it all began
Agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigerian economy before crude oil was discovered shortly before independence in 1956. The nation experienced oil boom thereafter in the 1970s which was its golden years; the people lived better than ever before as the crude oil turned things around for good.
Nigeria’s economy was depended on petroleum now, which accounted for 87% of export receipts. By the 1980s, the Nigerian dream started to crumble as the falling oil output and prices contributed to the decline in per capita real gross national product, which persisted until oil prices began to rise in 1990.
By the time General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida took power from General Muhammadu Buhari, the nation started to experience a falling economy. The country couldn’t pay its smaller debts, and had to turn to the IMF for loan. It was this time the nation changes its policies as the country was given conditions in the name of SAP (Structural Adjustment Programmes).
The policy was to end the practice of subsidizing petroleum products for consumers as the nation depended solely on petroleum this period. The effect of the SAP shook the nation as the rate of unemployment increased, food prices gone up, and fees were imposed for education and health care services. This was the beginning of hard lives for Nigerians. The naira which was exchanged for around 9 kobo to $1 in the early 1970s and 1980s was exchanged for 17 naira to $1 by 1993 and it has never been better since then.
The collapsing in the 1980s which led to unemployment wasn’t a coincidence that it was the same period advanced fee fraud really started in Nigeria. This was the time classic Nigerian prince letter format popped up (letters from Nigeria started finding their way to the mailbox of many Westerners).
The 80s and 90s were the classic years for 419 scam where a lot of white businessmen were swindled because they fell for greediness on their own part. This time, corruption, military dictatorship, and 419 scam were the three forces eating deep into the Nigerian system.
The Rise of Fraud in Nigeria
Nigerian leaders became so corrupt as the revenue generated from the oil find the way into their pockets. Millions of USD has since been returned by Switzerland for money deposited in their banks by Nigerian leaders most especially Late General Sani Abacha, the country’s former military head-of-state which is suspected of looting between $3 and $5 billion in public funds.
Many of our leaders have therefore taken cue from the late General, cajoling the masses so as to eat out of the national cake. The politicians have therefore become the scam of the highest order and the effect of their looting is telling on the masses.
The SAP by the IBB’s regime may have paid off back then as the Nigerian economy did grow, export sector performing well and rise in oil prices in 1990. This new development was for the greedy leaders as unemployment rate increased as well as bad governance. There are no functioning establishments and the ones on ground left for neighboring countries as a result of lack of social amenities such as good roads, light, etc.
Hundreds of thousands of graduates are been churned out by the Nigerian universities with no establishments to take them in. children who were catered for by the parents till graduation still have to rely on the parents who had thought they helped them secure a better future by providing education for them against all odds.
Many Nigerians (teenagers and youths), therefore, took to many vices as a way out. Kidnap, thuggery, fraud, prostitution, etc. are now means to survive by average Nigerians. For those in communities where crude oil is being explored also had their share of the bad treatments.
The Nigerian leaders kept on embezzling while the people suffer. The rich kept on becoming richer while the poor becomes poorer by the day. All these had made some Nigerians to try and level up in fraud with the ‘chief fraudster’ i.e. the politicians/leaders. Many have taken to internet fraud; an upgrade from the mail letters sent in the 80s as a way out of saving their family in the harsh economy initiated by our bad and corrupt leaders.
This is what some Nigerians had to say on this heartbreaking issue giving us bad names all around the world:
We all know the cause of fraud in Nigeria. Our old, bad, greedy, clueless so called leaders made the fraudsters. They are the criminals catching thieves or the armed robbers catching the harmless tappers. They have pushed us all into this.
If only we had what we should have as a rich and blessed nation we come from, imagine at age 30 most Nigerians don’t know where they are heading to in life.
I stand with beat the corrupt leaders whenever we can. It’s time the Nigerian youths leave the political front they use all these years to deceive us, then face the face and chase the wild hunters down.Mr. Ndu, Anambra
I believe we all have free will to choose between good and evil. If we are saying the country is the reason why people are becoming fraudulent that means free will doesn’t exist.
Though environment has its influence on our life, the decision to work the part of immorality still depend on us choosing not the other way round. Greed id definitely one of the major problem of humanity. Even rich guys want to defraud the poor.Mr. Taiwo, Ondo
Who else is the cause of the problems in the land if not the bad and corrupt leaders that we have in the country. We kept on recycling the same corrupt and old people in government.
They get their children out of the country while some unreasonable youths fool around with them during election periods which they use to scam the masses with failed promises. Their children use posh and fast cars while many couldn’t afford a day meal.
Many graduates are out there jobless until the environment forces them to take to fraud for survival. The system is so corrupt that the Nigerian government cannot do anything about it as they are the origin of fraud.Miss Kiki, Lagos
It is evident that our so called leaders had pushed many Nigerians to the wall making them to be involved in the fraud they have started. Many Nigerians tried to leave the country to find opportunities elsewhere because of the terrible situation in the land. The huge amounts stolen by individuals is more than enough to create opportunities and fortune for the masses rather, it has helped to made fraudsters.
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