When certain crimes thrive, they do because the society is complicit. Crime is a social thing and would not have persisted if there was no form of social acceptance.
Consider the FBI 80, a ring of online scammers most of whom were Nigerians whose names were published by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation and some arrests made, also Saudi Arabia beheading scores of people like an abattoir for drug trafficking, you want to ask, did they fall from Jupiter? Evidently, they are part of us and to some extent, we inhibit them.
As a Nigerian, I have seen many young folks breaking barriers, inventing stuff and doing great for themselves and society through dedication and persistent hard work. It will be a prejudice to claim that all Nigerians are fraudsters. In fact, a survey reveals that Nigeria makes 1 percent of all online fraud, drug and scam related crime worldwide.
Mexico, Brazil, The United States, Panama, The Caribbean, Eastern Europe are some of the places whose depth of fraud related crime will shock the animal world. However, the concern here is how did we manage to inhibit the few bad eggs among us?
Firstly, the most important issue is the glorification of prosperity at the expense of hard work. Families and friends and indeed the community equate financial prosperity to success. The biggest spenders receive the greatest honor and praise in a society that do not ask questions about their source of wealth. Musicians celebrate these high profile spenders at parties with such emotional high pitch voice with that will make the head swell. Music videos celebrate money and girls too. By the way, both are like Siamese twins. It is based on the belief that beautiful girls can be attracted with great wealth. Who wants to marry a poor, struggling man these days.
I was at a church some years back and a lady in her early 20s had just gotten a visa to Dubai. The Pastor made the whole church dance for Mary (imaginary name) for almost 5 minutes as he shared the testimony to the glory of God. I guess you would say Hallelujah to that, Amen. However, to some of us who still got our thinking brains on, we knew that was never a miracle. In fact, by spiritual standard, it could be the most unfortunate thing to happen to Mary. Many young girls find themselves in that country and are caged to engage in prostitution. These folks weren’t concerned about her spiritual stand and well-being. To them, Mary will start sending money from overseas for church projects. The religious institution, which used to be the custodian of moral values is failing.
Africa’s economy is no doubt having effect on its religious form and practices. Even fraudsters may receive anointing oil from their pastors, prayer water from Imam or spiritual objects from traditionalists and apply same to their laptops, hands or mouth to ‘charm’ their victims for speedy release of funds. People are in a hurry to make it and make a statement by any means.
In many families, children who constantly send money to parents and family members are the cornerstones. Parents are quick to pray for them and family meetings are not done without their presence. They must wait for the valuable son and daughter. We make them sit in high places and we love to celebrate them as the special ones (even Jose Mourinho will be jealous).
A society that glorifies money against values will produce more criminals. To many, money, cars and houses are direct measurements of glory, where we celebrate the output or result without knowing the input or means.
An adage says, “your child is not into laundry and dry cleaning business, yet keeps bringing in new clothes.” Let’s call a spade a spade. A thief is a thief and we must denounce them, report them and ostracize them. It will take courage for religious organizations and communities for instance, to reject donations by someone who may have stolen from his work place. When their criminal acts are exposed by the international community and investigation agencies, unfortunately, they will suffer alone. Girlfriends will desert them, people who have benefited from their philanthropic gestures (fraudsters are the biggest spenders) and lavish spending will suddenly erase anything associated with them. If they are not caught, we associate with them, if they are, we leave them to their fate. This is wickedness.
Header Image Credit: MZansi