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NIGERIA: GLOOM OR BOOM?

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Nigerians have generally become upset with the recently published names of fellow countrymen who have either been apprehended or declared wanted for financial crimes in the United States of America.

The actions of Nigerians like Thank You Jesus, Advanced Mega Plus Ltd, Williams High School, Fanta, Ryan Giggs, He is Risen, Happy Easter, CTA Finance Source, Son of God, Mansion, Zero, Mystical, GodisGod, Code, Blade, Dee Dutchman, Chima Russia, Smart, Mobility, Boss Iffy, Ifeanyi Soccer, Humble, Pastor Kc, Slim Dad No1 and a host of others including one Adegoke have severely crashed the reputation of Nigeria and Nigerians across the globe.

Unfortunately, a lot of social media reviews of this list have passed through ethnic filters and we know the reason why this is so. I’ll repeat it here again, do not do ethnic or religious profiling whenever it comes to crime. You will not like it at all when it is your turn to reap what you sow.

Some Nigerians have been mocking the EFCC whenever ‘yahoo boys’ get paraded. They question why the cops go after harmless young men and women who are only trying to survive. I am not sure if these Nigerians have also mocked the FBI and the DOJ because of joblessness. I hope they see now that such crimes are not tolerated globally and EFCC clamping down on home-based scammers is nothing extraordinary but part of their job description.

Some have tried to downplay the severity of this type of crime by comparing it to kidnapping and terrorism. I’m not quite sure these crimes are markedly different; one can even argue that these internet scams are the precursors of some ‘worse’ crimes. A scammer creates a fake persona with a name like Invictus for example and preys on vulnerable individuals to defraud them of their money. Some others are more daring and infiltrate bank accounts and corporations to siphon money. These individuals generally have flashy lifestyles and many of them have part or most of their loot in Nigeria.

Other young people envy them and covet what they have. Some learn the ropes of scamming people but a few others are pushed to crime. Some of these scammers may require protection for themselves and their assets in Nigeria and can either have government agencies in their pockets or simply finance local violent men to do the job. This may be applicable to those who do drugs as well as other shady business across the globe.

One American woman who was a victim of such crimes lost almost $30,000 to a Nigerian who posed on Facebook as an American soldier in Afghanistan. Her husband shot and killed her, her father and himself in December 2018 when he found out she was still communicating with him even after some things had been exposed about the affair. Be careful before concluding that these crimes are harmless and without casualties. There are people who have committed suicide, individuals who have been bankrupted and families that have been scattered because of these criminals.

Poverty has been blamed for pushing these men into crime but I’m sure that even poverty will deny them. I suspect greed is the major culprit. We have had cases of dismissed policemen and soldiers who either sponsored or actively participated in armed robbery; they were probably dismissed in the first place because of their greed and bad behaviour. There are not a few former bankers who defraud their employers before fleeing out of the country to enjoy their loot in saner climes; was it poverty that opened their eyes to crime? Criminals abound in government and religious organizations; I dare say that criminals who are privileged and greedy far outnumber those who are genuinely poor.

These men who defrauded thousands of people in America, did they get free visas, travel documents or tickets to get to America? Many of those paraded by EFCC are students of one higher institution or the other, will we say that they all come from poor homes hence the need to commit cyber crimes?

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

Some want to drive vehicles, some want to impress females while some others will say they want to liberate their people. Why cybercrime when football is there if they can’t wait for education to yield reward? There are truly poor people who have learned a skill or a trade and who have done well for themselves. We are a people that will sneer at a young man learning carpentry or plumbing but will celebrate those who appear from the blues with blings and wads of cash. We’ll probably give them front row seats everywhere and have them in all our TV and radio stations to talk about how they made it.

We know those who churn out pangolo music but who claim to make more money than Grammy nominees and winners but we don’t care and wish to make it like them. I hope those who gave Invictus their platforms to promote himself will inform young people of his crimes and ensure such never get airtime again.

The almost 80 Nigerians in this first list are definitely going to end up in the US prison system. They are fortunate that this is not Thailand or Indonesia so they can look forward to having long lives. Their investments and property in Nigeria will most likely be sold off or taken over by other opportunists so those who will return to Nigeria after their terms are not assured that they’ll meet anything intact.

The really smart ones among them will take advantage of the American prison system and learn a skill or earn a certification if they have none. Those who ‘learn sense’ may get out earlier for good behaviour while some will eventually become truly saved. I think America will correct their defects ultimately except ‘village people’ corrupt the reset drive.

It appears America is very serious this time around and more lists may be published and more Nigerians caught in the net. Some say cybercrime is payback to the masters who are long dead; they probably forget that a lot of the slave business involved Africans selling Africans for gin, mirrors, gun powder, royal garb and ornaments. An eye for an eye will only land one in jail in this day and age.

If you love that home or foreign based family member whose ways are suspect, hurry up and call an emergency family meeting to plead and pray with them. These feds are not smiling at all. They know all our aliases and fronts; they clearly have access to all the backend servers Rigobert Atiku is looking for.

Asking people to live within their means is not an endorsement of poverty, it’s probably the best advice a young person can get before lust creeps near. Fellas must understand they need not deceive to impress and ladies should not fall for fellas without origin and insertion. Parents should not push their children to take up lifestyles that’d destroy them; encourage handwork and contentment.

To the almost 80 Nigerians on list one; when there’s life, there’s hope.

 

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Dr. Jide Akeju

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Africa speaks

Nigeria’s migration paradox

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Nigeria’s middle-class is increasingly opting to emigrate, with mixed fortunes for the country. Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos is the nation’s busiest airport.Credit: Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)/Ventures Africa.

Although Nigeria’s economy is causing its professionals to literally think on their feet, their efforts are propping it

Ahmed had every reason to feel euphoric about Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling commercial centre, in 2014. He had landed his dream job heading the legal department at a multinational, a position that carried a plum salary with perks—and conferred a foothold in Nigeria’s professional elite. He promptly married his longtime girlfriend and nestled into, by most standards, a comfortable middle-class life.

Yet 5 years later, he chose to quit his job and country to start over in Alberta, Canada, nudged by a sense of foreboding. “No matter how much you earn, it won’t guarantee some things for you. In fact, the more you earn, the more you will become fearful,” said Ahmed (not his real name). After weighing his economic and security prospects (armed men burgled his home thrice last year despite living 3 houses from a police station and repeatedly reporting suspicious neighbourhood activity), he relocated with his young family in April. “Leaving Nigeria is the best decision I’ve ever made,” he said.

 Ahmed’s story reflects a growing pessimism about the future within Africa’s largest workforce. One in three Nigerians has considered emigrating, estimates research network, Afrobarometer, citing lingering socio-economic frustration. They are increasingly flocking to Australia and Canada, attracted by skilled worker programmes, living standards and relatively migrant-friendly cultures. Canada’s Express Entry report in 2018 recorded a 900% surge in Nigerian migrants over 3 years. Nigerians currently account for more refugee protection claims in Canada than any nationality; and incidences of overstaying visas, from North America to Europe, are on the upswing.

It’s noteworthy that around 247 million people live outside their country of birth — 90% of whom are voluntary economic migrants. At least half of them moved from developing to developed countries, and a sizeable portion are educated to university level. Skills-based emigration is neither new, nor has it ever been chiefly a Nigerian — or African — preserve.

Also Read: How This Tanzanian Is Building An eLearning Platform For Students To Learn, Discuss and Network

 The talent flight could further erode a country already grappling with a human capital problem it shouldn’t have in the first place. As Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, Nigeria constitutes one-fifth of sub-Saharan Africa’s workers. The UN predicts it will become the world’s third most populous nation—surpassing the United States—by 2050. Its 85 million-strong labour force is distinctive for its youthfulness (74% is under 44 years) in an aging world, with towering rates of urbanisation and entrepreneurship.

Amid strong demographics, Nigeria captures approximately half of its human capital potential, lagging 6 and 16 percentage points behind the sub-Saharan African and global averages respectively. A mixture of shortfalls in education, employment and skill entails that the nation is not optimising its population dividend.

The government, now in its 2nd term, has had scant success in substantively rebooting a hamstrung economy compounded by seismic gaps in infrastructure and public services.Unemployment has risen through 15 straight quarters, percapita income is at a 4-year low and still falling; while inflation is in double-digits. Consequently, Nigeria now harbours most of the world’s extreme poor people, according to the World Poverty Clock.

But the country has always retained a flair for contradictions. If brain drain highlights Nigeria’s deficiencies, it also hints at its possibilities. PwC reckonsNigeria makes up a third of all migrant remittance flows to Sub-Saharan Africa, with last year’s figures up to 11 times greater than the country’s foreign direct investment proceeds in the same period. Inbound remittances for 2019 are projected to reach $25bn. And that’s from official channels alone. The African Development Bank thinks unofficial remittances.

are about 50% of the official total. That would peg total migrant remittance inflows at around $40bn — roughly 10% of Nigeria’s GDP and over 3 times its oil-generated revenue.

“[Nigeria’s] biggest export is not oil, our biggest export is Nigerians,” writes Dr. Andrew Nevin, Chief Economist at PwC Nigeria. “People with skills are saying their skills cannot be monetised here…but we cannot deny that the only thing holding up the economy is the incredible Nigerian diaspora.”

If the government does not enact reforms to stem the outflow, or tap into its diaspora capacity, Nigeria could ultimately concedea chunk of its most promising generation yetand possibly their children— to this wave.

Author

Chidi Eke is a corporate communications professional and freelance writer based in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Africa speaks

When was the last time you checked your EGO?

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Ahmadou DIALLO – Storyteller and Coach

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by the Airbus Leadership University team, Nelida Al Husseini and  Paul Conway, to participate in their yearly event: “Partners’ days” in the Toulouse campus. It’s a two days yearly event where they invite all the partners (coaches, connectors, facilitators) to thank them for their support. They are helping add values to our journey as Airbus employees via coaching, trainings, workshops and team events.

It was a thrilling experience for me to be part of these two days and I could feel the positive energy in the room for those two days. What was even more exciting for me was the possibility to meet coaches that provided me with some trainings that were life changing for me.

One of those coaches was  Olivier LASSERRE, who provided me with a training on how people can make the difference in project management. It was almost 10 years ago since I attended that training and as of today, I have a vivid memory of those 5 days we spent together.

Olivier introduced me to three books that will go to change my life:

  1. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy by Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides) by Marshall B. Rosenberg
  2. Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson
  3. How Full Is Your Bucket? from  Tom Rath

I cannot tell you how often I was frustrated by people and how using nonviolent communication helped me, both in the professional and personal aspects of my life.
I embraced and welcomed change in my life after reading the book “Who moved my cheese?”. This is the first time I realised that ly comfort zone is my dead zone.

While reading the third book, “How Full Is your Bucket?”, I learned a lot about myself and how it was important to fill my bucket with positive energy. Talking about energy, one of the main sources of depletion of our energy is our EGO:

  • E as Energie
  • G as Go
  • O as Out

I found that, by checking my EGO from time to time, I was able to protect my bucket from depleting. I found myself having more willpower because I let things go more quickly and I don’t lose my energy and my time trying to bend the universe beyond my sphere of influence.

So I would like to thank you Olivier LASSERRE for the impact that you had and you are still having in my life.
“The best athletes in the day, the Gretzkys, the Michael Jordans, they all had a coach. Still to this day, the best have coaches. Because the coach can see what you can’t see.” Tony Robbins

During those partners’ days, I was surprised to see Olivier again as part of the partners. He did not recognise me. I went to him to remind him about our encounter and how he has impacted my life. He has his own coaching firm: Vert Girafe. If you happen to look for a person that can help you see the unseen, go to Olivier and say  to him that “Mad sends his regards!”. And thank you to Nelida and Paul from the Airbus Leadership university for giving me the opportunity to be part of the partners’ days.

Also Read: How this African Diaspora is keeping the tradition of African storytelling alive

When was the last time you did an EGO check? 

How full is your bucket?

Who is your life coach, and why?

By: Ahmadou DIALLO


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Africa speaks

Resilience

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Thato Belang

It is only when we get kicked down that we see what we are made of. It is easy to be positive when everything is going well, but the heart of all great endeavours is the ability to stagger back to our feet and keep moving forward, however grim it gets”. ~ Bear Grylls

This is one of the most difficult and yet necessary skills to learn and master. Resilience is defined as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. It is through moments of adversity that our resilience is tested and gets developed. Without adversity, there is not room for resilience. The great news is that we all have the innate ability to rise up from challenges;the question is how deep within are you digging to reach this strength to overcome the difficult times?

My resilience was put to the test during the long illness and ultimate passing of both my parents. This period lasted for exactly two years. It was the most difficult time for my family and I. There were moments where I felt that I was going to break but my siblings and I stuck together and fed each other with strength in those weak moments. During this time I had to tap to the higher power, in addition to the support from my siblings, relatives and friends. I had to see the light and silver lining amidst the dark cloud that was hanging on our lives.

I had to have the courage to carry on with life when the two people who had always been there for me, carried me, fed me, sacrificed for me, loved me, cared for me and would deny themselves so that I can have – could no longer physically do that for me and my siblings. I had to trust that I can be able to do all these things myself, without them. I had to cut all dependence from them and tap into my inner strength. I had to stand firmly on my feet and keep moving forward.

In hindsight, going through this hardship was necessary for me to do that which I was born to do. I had to endure the pain, to learn how to let go of the people that I mostly treasured and to also trust the process. The irony is that as I’m writing this, I’m going through another phase of adversity in my life; a different kind of adversity. I’m reminded of this past experience and only hope that this is yet another opportunity for elevation.

Resilient people are often admired by others. People would ask questions such as, how does she/he do it? How do they manage to keep on bouncing back? Well, I’m here to tell you that it can’t happen without going through the difficult, uncomfortable process and being stretched. It is their ability to endure the process that makes people resilient. They don’t let adversity define them nor define their destiny and they have scars to show their experiences.

They don’t allow the difficulties to paralyse them. Instead, they use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate themselves and seek growth opportunities.

How can you use your scars in a positive light? How can you turn those storms into rainbows? I believe that the storms happen for a reason. Don’t let those experiences go to waste. Don’t just survive adversity and go through it in vain but transform and triumph through it. Granted, the process is not easy and it is not fun at all. But the key to this transformation is persevering.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

Having tenacity during the difficult time will bring meaning to the experience and in the process you will have a sense of accomplishment. You need to commit to making an effort and to take small steps, as long as you are moving forward.

Thato’s nuggets on building resilience:

  • Actively remind yourself of the strength you have and continuouslyharness this inner strength
  • See the effects of adversities as temporary rather than permanent
  • Build the spirit of gratitude; every day, find things to be grateful for
  • Always have positive thoughts and images of the future; let this push you to do more
  • Completely get rid of the victim mentality!

“It is through adversity that our resilience is tested, that we get renewed, that we grow and that we get prepared for the next phase in our lives. Adversity is necessary and cannot be avoided”. ~Thato Dineo Belang

 

Thato Belang

Speaker| Coach| Writer

Johannesburg, South Africa

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