RSN™ Insights: Art & Life In Nigeria
Commentary by Nigerian Artist named “Jekein“
“They’re called Yahoo Boys. The name comes from the old days when they used Yahoo email accounts to scam people. I first started seeing them when I went to the University of Lagos. They form little gangs. They travel in convoys where all the cars are the same color. They’re always on their laptops. These days a lot of them are legitimized. They rent office space. They refer to their targets as ‘clients.’ They start charities. They put their fraud money into other businesses. Some of them have Instagram accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. They post pictures of their cars and clothes. They never mention where they got their money– but everyone knows. A lot of them buy art from me. Since a lot of their scams are emotional fraud, they’ll even ask me for advice on things that women would say in a relationship. Or they’ll ask me to pick up their phone and pretend to be a secretary. I never participate. Recently I’ve even stopped selling them paintings. It’s cost me a lot. But I can’t take their money without feeling complicit.”
Tell Her We Admire Her Courage To Just Say NO To Scammers!
In another post Jekein writes …
“It happened in May. I was driving my friend’s Mercedes to school because my car had broken down. And suddenly I got pulled over. I turned on the interior lights. I showed the policemen my ID. I called my friend on the phone and asked him to explain the situation. But they said: ‘Not enough, get out of the car.’ They started calling me a prostitute. I told them I’m an artist. Then they saw my laptop in the backseat, and they tried calling me an Internet scammer. They asked me to open my computer and type in the password. I told them it wasn’t possible. Then they asked for a huge bribe, and I told them it wasn’t possible. That’s when they cocked their guns at me. One of them got in the front seat. He pointed his gun at me and told me to drive to an ATM. I brought him to this exact spot, and he escorted me to the machine. I left the car running. I maxed out one of my cards, and told him that I have go back and get another one. Then I locked the door and started driving away. That’s when he started shooting at me! All of this was captured on surveillance cameras. I sped away. I was taking short cuts and back roads. The whole time I was thinking I’m about to get killed. When I got home, I found four dents in the car from where the bullets hit. Afterwards I contacted the police, and they said they wouldn’t even speak to me unless I deleted the story from social media. I said: ‘I’m not doing that. I’m a law student.’”
This is the best example of how Africa is not a lost cause, but until their governments make the decision to end corruption these systems will remain.
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