With all that has happened with ovarian cancer patient Ahmed Mayowa Shukurat the question that pops up is why some Nigerians have misgivings about donating to causes online.
In December 2015, lifestyle site Bella Naija wrote a feature article on fake Instagram vendors scamming innocent of their hard earned money. "Unfortunately, most victims will not get their money back" the article highlighted.
It's not only Instagram vendors that have made it sceptical for Nigerians to give out money online. Fake Charity drives and shady social media campaigns created to help donate funds for someone is sick has left a biter taste on some people's lips.
The #SaveMayowa campaign and what has transpired within the last 24 hours has raised many questions about online efforts to save sick people. The concerns about the authenticity of the campaign to raise funds for stage IV cancer patient Ahmed Mayowa Shukurat's treatment abroad is similar to the dust raised during similar fund raising attempts of some high profile cases.
In 2012, Debbie Idiagbonya Osarere went viral as attempts to save her from cancer went viral. She needed the sum of N6m for her surgery to get rid of chest cancer. The fund raising attempt proved to be successful as many Nigerians moved by emotions donated to save Debbie's life. However, during the fund raising drive several people went online to state that it was a scam and Debbie actually needed less than N6m for her surgery.
Michella Jonathan who spearheaded the social media campaign to save Debbie's life had to employ the use of rap legend Rugged Man. The veteran rap shared a clip of him with Debbie which helped to squash the rumours that the fund raising initiative was a scam. "It was used on the social media together with the video clip and it helped dispel rumours that the fund appeal was a lie" Michella Jonathan told Information NG in 2012. Debbie was flown abroad for her treatment. Unfortunately, she passed away on April 1, 2016.
Another high profile case that was met with its own share of scepticism was that of late maverick music producer OJB Jezreel.
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In July, 2013 veteran music producer OJB Jezreel revealed to Nigerians that his two kidneys had stopped working. In an interview with Encomium Magazine he revealed he had a few more months to live if something wasn't done urgently.
OJB Jezreel needed $100,000 to travel to India for a kidney transplant. Thanks to the effort of Nomoreloss (who unfortunately is now dead) the money was raised. However there were whispers that the money needed to save OJB's life wasn't up to $100,000. A vocal critic of the fund raising effort was the Ghanaian actress Juliet Ibrahim who was sceptical about the amount of money needed.
Nomoreloss and Juliet Ibrahim appeared on NTA 2 Channel 5 to argue about the amount of money needed. At the end of the day both of them saw eye to eye that a man's life had to be saved.
Why are there controversies in regards to online live saving attempts? It has to do with the Nigerian culture. A culture that makes us believe that the next man is trying to pull a fast one us. An average Nigerian is paranoid that he is about to be played by his neighbourhood. This is why we are always on our guard. This is why when we see so much money being raised for a cause, at the back of our minds we think something fraudulent is going on. It's just the Nigerian way to think like this thanks to decades of misappropriation of funds and corruption.
While Nigerians will always be sceptical about these type of things you can't take away the fact that Nigerians are compassionate people. If you want a Nigerian to do something for you appeal to his or her sense of compassion and use the name of the Lord also. Miracles will happen if you do this. We are sentimental people and if you pull our strings right anything can be done.
Hopefully, Ahmed Mayowa Shukurat will be treated successfully. At the end of the day no matter the questions you have, Nigerians came together to save the life of an innocent, young woman.