Sunday 1 September 2019

FBI 77 and the Criminals Amongst Us

I was thinking this morning.... about the unapprehended criminals amongst us. This past week, news broke that the US Federal prosecutors had indicted 80 people on charges connected to participation in online scams that raked in millions from unsuspecting victims in the United States and abroad. The FBI released the names of these cyber criminals amongst which were 77 Nigerians that are now referred to as the FBI 77. As the story broke, my heart broke as well because again we are on the global stage for the wrong reasons. 

Before I could move away from that story, my mind did a rewind to one month ago. Just 4 weeks back, one name on that list, Chika Odionyenma was better known as a member of one of the sub-committees that inaugurated Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo State and was subsequently appointed to a committee for the recovery of looted properties. Another name,
Obinwanne Okeke (Invictus) was featured by Forbes as one of the Forbes 30 under 30. He's been on BBC, given a Ted Talk, spoke at London school of Economics Africa Summit. He has a conglomerate spanning across many African countries dealing on oil, agriculture, infrastructure, solar energy etc. He had a lot of International awards celebrating his achievement, but that was yesterday. Yesterday, these two young men with 75 others were seen as successful, but today, they are referred to as the FBI 77.

The whole drama got me thinking about how one can be a champion today and a villain tomorrow. I reflected on how our political office holders, governors, reps, ministers and others are looting our commonwealth but are being celebrated by many. Imagine N17 billion being budgeted for the entire Nigeria Police Force in 2019, while 469 lawmakers budgeted N139 billion for themselves. This sum and much more will be looted before the year runs out. Not to worry, something tells me that the Lawmakers, governors and ministers of today will tomorrow be known as EFCC 469 or ICPC 36. 

As I mused, there was the Daily Trust headline 'Bandits kill 3, kidnap dozens on the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway' and another on Friday August 30th, 'How Kidnapping is making Families Poorer: Banditry - 1,460 deaths, 330 attacks in 7 months -FG.' I immediately asked, who are those perpetrating this evil in our land? Why are they so elusive to the security agencies? The answer was obvious. They live amongst us in the day and commit their crimes under cover. I am aware that many of these criminals (like Taraba kidnap kingpin, Bala Wadume) may be champions amongst us today but I also know that tomorrow, they will certainly be known as the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) 22.

'I agree with you', some will be saying. What about the rest of us? I considered the millions amongst us stealing from their employers or their church. Contractors cutting corners and giving kickbacks. What about those coveting their neighbour's wife or properties? Most people will not be caught like the FBI 77 or come under the radar like EFCC 469. But one thing I know is that all will form part of the 'Judgement Day 144,000.' While I join millions to condemn the act of cyber fraud, I admonish all to look inwards and be wise because 1st Corinthians 10:12 says 'Let he that thinks he stand take heed, lest he falls.' You may not be part of cyber crime but are you part of any vice bringing this nation down?

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

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