Yahoo Yahoo boys are getting a free pass and the red carpet treatment in Nigeria. We should stop normalising fraud please.
The EFCC operatives had stormed Club 57 in search of internet scammers otherwise called ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ boys in local parlance.
While some of the suspected ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ chaps were apprehended, others reportedly fled the club, abandoning their exotic cars in the parking lot of the Club.
In the wake of the raid, a popular blogger ran a Twitter thread which sought to direct the EFCC to more businesses in Lagos who are fronts for the thriving Yahoo Yahoo business.
According to this blogger, estate agencies, record labels, online stores, automobile dealers and of course night clubs, are daily aiding and abetting Yahoo Yahoo in the Lagos Island area.
Soon after this blogger’s 'expose', an Instagram personality shot a video in which he rained loads of insults on the blogger for whistle blowing and threatening the lives of several businesses.
“You are stupid…If they call out Oloshi, Mr X will answer present sir. You are a very stupid man, sir! Are you the FBI? Stupid man, grown ass man behaving like a child!”, the Instagram personality raged in an admixture of Yoruba and English.
I am yet to see a more invective laden video this year. And all because someone did a Twitter thread highlighting other places in the Lagos area where ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ artistes are possibly hiding in plain sight!
We really are in trouble as a nation.
I have been going through my phone since the rants from this Instagram personality and I have to say we should be very worried as a people. A few young Nigerians are on the side of the Instagram fella and an equal number have taken sides with the blogger 'who blew the whistle'.
Those who support the outraged Instagram ranter are going: “Don’t demonize Yahoo Yahoo boys, after all, your politicians are worse. Why aren’t you hanging government officials for stealing public money? Why hang the young boys who are only using their brains and skills to scam unsuspecting ‘Oyinbo’?”
This school of thought seeking to normalise the illicit trade that is internet scamming, isn’t new. A few months ago, popular rapper Falz was almost hung out to dry for admonishing his fellow artistes not to glamorise Yahoo Yahoo trade in their songs. A few artistes have gone on to name-drop internet scammers who are buying exotic cars and erecting posh houses from Lagos to Abuja--in their songs.
The Yahoo Yahoo boy who is living the good life in Malaysia and flaunting the proceeds of his trade on Instagram, is getting hailed back home and held up as a role model for young people.
Everywhere you look these days, the Yahoo Yahoo boy is being held up as a modern day Robin Hood. He gets a red carpet treatment when he shows up at Clubs and bars, because that means drinks are on him the whole night.
The Yahoo Yahoo artiste is daily receiving validation from the community and his illicit trade is regarded in several circles as a source of employment and a boost for a fledgling Nigerian economy. The Yahoo Yahoo scam artiste is getting validation from pop culture.
Some have even referred to the art of scamming foreign nationals as repatriation. “We are only collecting back our wealth from the people who stole it during the slave trade era. I don’t see anything wrong with that", one Yahoo Yahoo boy confessed to me shamelessly as we watched a game of football in a packed Lagos pub a few weeks ago.
Right before our very eyes, financial crime as frowned upon in section 419 of the nation’s criminal code, is getting a free pass. We have to stop it and stop it right now!
There’s nothing noble in conning people of their hard earned money. There's nothing noble in setting up a business to hijack corporate accounts. There's nothing noble in visiting a witch doctor or 'babalawo' so you can have more powers to scam people. There's nothing noble in carrying out human sacrifices so that you'll never be caught as a Yahoo boy.
An internet fraudster is a thief and should be regarded as such. An internet fraudster who fleeces whites or blacks shouldn’t be held up as a role model in any circle. He should be called out for who he is—a thief!!!
And whether politicians are bigger thieves or not in a depraved society, doesn’t change the fact that the internet scammer is a thief. Are we grading thieves now? Seriously?
It’s time to begin calling out Yahoo Yahoo boys for who they are and stop normalising a trade that has deprived legitimate hustlers of opportunities in the developed world.
Cut that crap right this moment!