By Ahmed Yahaya-Joe, Kaduna
If we condemn Hushpuppi and his likes as internet fraudsters; the million Naira question then becomes, who is to blame: we, them, our elders or the system?
Collectively we have not only lost values but are on a down slide. One thing is obvious though; in 2018 a total of 1,662,762 young Nigerians sat for JAMB’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam, however only 443,624 of them eventually got into our universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
This 2020, 1.9 million wrote that same exam: how many of them will be admitted? On May 22, 2019, Mr Tony Orilade the EFCC spokesman announced that an “Internet Fraud Training Institution” was raided at 14 Animashaun Street, Progressive Estate, Ojodu Berger, Lagos. The following “matriculated” students that were arrested while receiving lectures and engaged in “tutorials” included Ahmed Musa, 24; Desmond Eze, 29; Preye Kingsley, 23; Benjamin Irabor, 21; Benjamin Opah, 19; Akapo Prosper, 22; Innocent Paul, 20 and Olamide Edun, 20. The “dean” of the institution is a certain “Prof” Chinedo of just 22 years!
Rahmon Olorunwa Abass aka Hushpuppi is just 38 years old – the same age then Head of State Murtala Mohammed was as a 4-star general in 1976. Does this mean our nation is no longer a Land of Opportunity? The question is pertinent because Hushpuppi leads an international group known as “Scattered Canary” that hacked into the US social welfare network and stole Covid-19 palliative dollars just recently.
Another is “London Blue” led by Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry who was also arrested in the Operation Fox Hunt 2 that took down Hushpuppi in Dubai. All these groups are of young Nigerians – our children, many reportedly graduates! No doubt it takes organizational ability, computer education and pure genius to pull off their type of major internet robbery operations. There is also a steady flow of raw talent from the kind of training facility uncovered by EFCC at Ojodu Berger. Obviously, if there is steady demand there must be constant supply by any means necessary.
Recently in Indonesia a group of young Nigerians broke into our embassy in Jakarta and vandalized it. Mind boggling was the way and manner our beloved Green, White and Green was hoisted down and shredded with reckless abandon – all on video.
Let us face it, we are now in a crisis mode in Nigeria. If we don’t create opportunities for our young at home they shall always be a nuisance abroad. And those that can’t flee would torment us at home. Truth is there are too many yesterday’s men and women bestriding our nation. These leeches have eaten their own, that of their children and now moved in on their grandchildren’s share. We should all be highly disturbed and deeply concerned that our economy is not expanding enough to absorb our young bloods.
Classrooms have been built and graduates produced – yet! The challenge is that there are not enough opportunities to go around for everybody in Nigeria. It is all about the economy, the kind of political system we operate. Too few slips pass and make it. The rest are angry, frustrated and must survive!
I am by no means holding brief for internet criminality. I am merely examining the enabling environment that breeds it. We either learn to expand economic opportunities in our nation or perish together!
My heart goes out to hard working and legit Nigerians abroad for whom these few bad apples spoil the reputation of the whole bunch. The topic of conversation should be the collective way forward not demonization. Nigerian economy and political leadership need overhaul; if not, it implies there is an element of Hushpuppi in every one of us!