The recent viral video of the former Minister of Petroleum; Diezani Alison Madueke, speaking on the impact of cyber-crime on the society is the biggest joke of the year. It’s like Adolf Hitler chairing a committee on racial tolerance.
Indeed, having a man like Osama bin Laden as a guest speaker on non-violence would be an insult to the over 3000 people that died as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attack and victims of other terrorist activities by Al-Qaeda.
Diezani’s intervention on the ills of cyber-crime ranks as high an insult to the spirit and ethos of anti-corruption.
We can all agree that the fugitive madam has a point concerning the scourge called “Yahoo boys.” As a matter of fact, the Federal Government ought to declare a national emergency on cyber-crime. The concern here is not just about the victims or our image as Nigerians; but the negative effects on the thousands of youths involved in legitimate activities adversely tainted by the misguided actions of a few and the negative impact on society.
The point is, progress is a product of conscious decisions. For instance, the high level of literacy in the South West could be traced to the missionaries; as well as the policy of Obafemi Awolowo. Regression is also a matter of certain decisions, both conscious and unconscious. Internet fraud involves conscious and unconscious decisions by both the perpetrators and society. However, the Nigerian society has normalized and accepted it.
In the same manner, Nigerians have accepted madam Dieziani and her kleptomaniac colleagues. Yes! Just like internet fraud; Nigeria is backward because, as a society, we have normalized a rotten moral system; one in which a fugitive is given a platform to speak on morality.
Corrupt officials rarely go to prison, and if they do, supporters storm prison gates to welcome them. Also, there are always willing clergymen for religious or thanksgiving services afterward. Both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s dominant political parties; field candidates facing one corruption case or another at every election.
Nevertheless, ‘yahoo-yahoo’ and corruption are attacks on moral values. Like a virus in either a human body or a computer; it destroys the immune system and gradually the body withers away.
There is no excuse for anyone who chooses to engage in fraud. In fact, fraud is not about poverty or unemployment, yes for some it is; but for many, it’s about quick money and lifestyle. As a matter of fact, there are ‘benefit boys’ even in secondary school. Are they also looking for employment?
A friend who is a freelance that works from home once related his experience. A neighbour brought her son to him to be trained on ‘yahoo.’ Today, society accepts anyone with sudden wealth without question. Indeed, the lure and multiplier effect on production is huge. Why work as a factory worker when you could sit behind the computer and earn millions? Also, a whole economy is systematically being built around it. Several hotels in some South West states depend on patronage from Yahoo boys. Our entertainment industry relies heavily on ‘yahoo’; which explains the periodic outrage when a known fraudster is picked up.
This is also true of corruption.
Corruption creates negative disruption. It weakens the value system and destroy every single stratum of society. In fact, it provides the needed breeding ground for ‘yahoo boys’ who even go on to contest elections with the ill-gotten wealth. There are already people of questionable pasts in the House of Representatives.
So to ‘madam fugitive’ Diezani. Yes, it’s horrendous that youths are now taking ‘yahoo boys’ as role models. But it is also repulsing to imagine the number of persons taking you and your colleagues as role models. Imagine Umar Guanduje being a role model to anyone, or Orji Uzor Kalu, or even Babachir Lawal…
Nevertheless, we will heed your counsel, Diezani. We must terminate the cancerous ‘yahoo boys’. But we will not stop there. We will place greater attention on the senior ‘yahoo boys and girls’; of which you, Diezani and your colleagues are senior members.
Meanwhile, madam former minister, Diezani’s views in the viral video point to another major issue with politicians in Nigeria. They do not see themselves as part of the problem. It appears they don’t see ‘stealing’ as corruption. If they do, Dieziani will not be talking about the value system.
But this is Nigeria…