By Fred Chukwulobe
I recall Abike Dabiri-Ereuwa, of the Diaspora Affairs office, taking to social media to tag criminals, who were arrested overseas “in the line of duty”, as Igbo instead of Nigerians. I recall the backlash that followed that infamous and shameful tagging by a federal government official.
Folks of other tribes and ethnic stock took to social media to lampoon Igbos with their ignorance, hate, jealousy and stereotyping.
I remember warning them to be careful because criminals don’t have tribes or ethnicity, but are criminals and they shame all of us.
Ramoni Akanni, aka Hushpuppi, is a Nigerian who has made so much money via internet fraud, the one we call Yahoo Yahoo. He is not an Igbo man. And the internet is quiet because he’s not Omo Igbo.
He fleeced the American government of $100m. Yes, one hundred million dollars. No tagging, except from those who are “retaliating”.
He went on a spending spree, bought a $500,000 2020 Rolls Royce and took to Instagram to celebrate his obscene wealth.
He is always on the internet displaying his loot. And nobody asked questions as to the source of his wealth. And as they say, “nobody asked questions when he was poor”. Therefore, nobody should when he gets “rich”.
I have read many posts on this guy. It reminds me of the warning I posted after some Igbo boys were picked up for similar offences: Invictus Okeke, and many others.
Some tribal jingoistic elements took to Facebook to mock Igbos and accuse us of “liking/loving money too much that we can do anything to make money”.
Each time I check the lists of thieves, looters, ritualists, killers, kidnappers, agberoes, liers, wicked people, lying pastors, lying priests, name them, I see Igbo names; Yoruba names; Hausa/Fulani names; Ijaw, Efik, Ishekieri, Tiv, Biron, Nupe, Bini, names, etc.
But because some people cannot hide their hate for a people, once an Igbo man is caught in crime, they go on the offensive. Bayo Onanuga will tag them: Igbo man bla bla bla.
But today, they’re quiet. Nobody is talking or writing. Like in the US, like in Nigeria. Hatred is everywhere. Racism is as bad as tribalism. Injustice in Nigeria is the same injustice elsewhere.
But that’s a topic for another day.
Today, I want all of us to know that Hushpuppi, a Yoruba man, like other Igbos caught in this crime, has shamed all of us – Nigerians. The World knows only Nigeria and Nigerians. And for now it includes you, me, them.
Akanni has smeared the millions of Nigerians working hard to earn decent living with this terrible brush. He has further damaged our already battered image.
When next you encounter an Oyibo man and he treats you with suspicion or when next you’re denied something by an Oyibo man, remember the Hushpuppis of this world caused it.
These stupid and idiotic criminal elements think the world works like Nigeria where stealing is no “big deal”; where criminals are celebrated and rewarded instead of being punished; where nobody asks questions as to the source of people’s wealth.
They think Americans are corrupt to the extent that they can be bought off from the huge sums stolen. They’re mistaken.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has painstakingly launched an investigation on this thief, and has picked him up. What remains now is to prosecute him and send him to jail where he rightly belongs.
The luck he has is that American jails are better than ours. They’re better than Ajegunle, Alimosho and Mushin Olosha, Aba, Onitsha, Asaba. You can go to school while in prison. And he may not serve life sentence. He may even, while in prison, be conducting his illicit business.
He and Invictus Okeke can team up as Nigerians and enjoy their incarceration. They won’t discriminate against themselves. They’re brothers in crime, joined together by internet stealing.
And when next you see a criminal or read about an arrest of one, and he’s not of your ethnic stock, don’t stereotype. There are criminals everywhere. And when they’re caught, they’re Nigerians and not Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba. And they shame you and me. Period.
A people are not bad; only individuals are.
So long, Nigerian internet fraudster.
Will others learn from this? I doubt it.
And the shaming goes on and on.