CAN YAHOO BE CONSTRUED AS UNOFFICIAL REPARATION – 2
NOTE: Our readers will forgive me for going back a few paragraphs from last week – because, otherwise what follows will make no sense. Last week, some charges were formulated against banks either as the principal perpetrators of the financial crimes or as accomplices before or after the crime. For instance, it is almost totally impossible for Abacha to have laundered so many billions of dollars and sent them abroad without Nigerian banks, especially the CBN and the BIG THREE – being involved. What foreigners are repatriating to us, after trading interest free with them for years are proceeds of crime in Nigeria with banks as accomplices.
If any group of stakeholders can be accused of having worked assiduously to sabotage the efforts of the Federal Government to revive the Nigerian economy which was in a recession when Buhari involuntarily left office with the economy in a recession, that group would have to be bankers. If there is any top manager – Chairman, Managing Director, Executive and non-Executive Director of any bank in the mid to late 1980s who is prepared to tell the truth he would confirm what the banks did to ensure the partial failure of SAP. I am not trying to promote my book, but more details are provided in the book IBRAHIM B BABANGIDA 1985-1992: LETTING A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM, Chapter 11. Permit me to quote a passage from that book. “SFEM was supposed to make access to foreign exchange easier and market determined. Instead of helping in achieving the objective, [all the] banks and financial houses stopped lending to manufacturers, as well as other businesses, and went into currency trading full time. The upward trend in the exchange rate was not determined by the end users or the market, but largely by a cabal of selfish bankers. It was also determined largely by the gains from round-tripping which all the banks adopted as official policy. It was deliberate sabotage,…”
Even after crude oil became the mainstay of the economy, every government still attempted to get Nigerians focused on farming in a bid to diversify what was increasingly becoming a mono-product economy. The Central Bank of Nigeria would always provide funds for bankers to lend at low interest rates to farmers. To make the banks comply, penalties would be stipulated if the banks failed to lend up to the limit approved for each bank. Because the penalties were so lenient, every bank in Nigeria from 1980 to 1992 opted to pay the fine instead of providing agriculture with the funds required to sustain the sector. In short, the men and women in splendid designer suits in Lagos stole roughly dressed farmers funds. And, they were happy to do it. Some of the bankers in that era are fathers to some of the Yahoo kids. I know at least one. So, bankers sabotaged agriculture – and they still do.
Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMSE, as well as mini-enterprises were also victimised by bankers. The most senior bankers frequently told Nigerians that SMSEs employed the largest number of people in advanced countries and they urged Nigeria to support them. But, again when the CBN provided funds for SMSEs, the banks re-deployed them to finished goods importers.
There is no need to list seriatim all the well-celebrated bankers did to destroy the economy of Nigeria. They were all heartless. They prepared us for the calamity we now experience from the standpoint of youth unemployment.
From as long as anybody can remember, especially before the Age of Oil, Nigeria thrived as a diversified economy anchored on agriculture. Oil changed everything – including our moral standards. With agriculture as our income earner and employing most of our people, it was easy to determine how somebody got extremely rich. In the Age of Oil, those raking in the money were no longer the men/women (one of my daughters works sometimes on the oil rigs) drilling the crude. The real harvesters were/are people sitting in cosy offices in Abuja and their foreign collaborators. Nobody can read about the amounts allegedly collected as bribes by former Ministers of Petroleum without wanting to abandon any attempt to earn peanuts through his honest sweat and take to crime full time. The Age of Oil which started with General Gowon and is still part of our era also became the Age of Crime as a means of survival.
Prior to the widespread use of computers in Nigeria, the only way those left out could break in was through militancy and kidnapping. But, it soon became clear that the potential victims were limited and most of them were off-shore. There must be other ways of getting money. Political thuggery paid off only every four years, yet “man must whack” everyday. Now Yahoo is becoming a veritable option; cyber-crime aimed at banks and their clients are less risky; don’t require that the worker carries any weapon. Nobody can be hanged for hacking a victim’s account. And, the supply is inexhaustible.
“Money makes everything legitimate – including bastards.” Jewish Proverb.
VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 163.
I left Nigeria for the USA in 1964 after bagging the prestigious ASPAU Scholarship and at a time when a fraudulent official in the public and private sectors could not flaunt his ill-gotten gains. I returned in 1974/75 to a country where barefaced criminals in the public and private sectors were serenaded by musicians and hailed by the socialites. That culture of positive sanction of all sorts of crime is what our kids have inherited from those of us born before 1950. All the kids have added is the internationalisation of crime – which some of the Ibadan Yahoo boys/girls now call REPARATION. And, they mean business. A few of them are busy working on hacking banks in richer countries than Nigeria. They are already quite advanced in duping greedy individuals – because a fool is born every minute at home and abroad. They are now approaching the point of diminishing returns as economists say. They need larger pools of funds to invade and they have already justified their nefarious activities by claiming that they are only taking back for Nigeria what the European countries have cleverly stolen from us.
“What does corrupting time not diminish? Our grandparents brought forth feebler heirs [and heiresses], we are further degenerate, and soon will beget progeny who are more wicked.” Horace, 65-8BC. VBQ p 247.
Nigeria now has created the first generation of kids and the best and brightest among them no longer believe in searching for honest work”—because there is none. They are determined to live on crime. That is the real Nigerian tragedy.
There is a collateral disaster. Some parents now actively encourage their kids to perpetrate the crimes. In Ibadan and some parts of the South West, there is now a Yahoo Mothers Association. They are mothers who although aware that their kids live on cyber-crime actually see nothing wrong with it. My intention to be present in court at Ibadan on one occasion was frustrated by the traffic hold-up on the Lagos-Ibadan road. But, I at least obtained an idea of what happened. The case was called; one accused pleaded “not guilty”. The Magistrate adjourned the case. Several women were waiting in ambush for the Magistrate when the court closed. In unison they shouted in Yoruba “Let him go; he is the bread winner for the family. Do you want to kill his mother? After all he stole a white man’s money.”