From Yahoo-Yahoo to kidneys for money?

by Gbenga Kayode

“The fear is that in five to 10 years, what will be left of the African or Nigerian Information society space will be pieces of recycled information about the bad things happening in Nigeria….”

Certain Edward Popoola, a Nigerian, was quoted to have made the above statement in a write-up way back in 2006, as an essential response to the spate of the so-called “Yahoo-Yahoo Boys”, who trick unsuspecting individuals, groups and organisations online to part with their money.

Therefore, it is nothing new that virtually every informed Nigerian agrees that Internet fraudsters or “Yahoo-Yahoo Boys” as they are addressed in local parlance in the country, are doing the most damage to Nigeria’s image abroad.
Nevertheless, in their desperation to make quick money at all costs, scores of these young Internet fraudsters, male and female they are, of late have reportedly changed strategies into more dangerous ones in the course of reaping where they have not sown.

Hitherto, their approaches such as “Yahoo Plus”, “Yahoo Plus Plus”, both described as “challenging, but lucrative and profitable” had been the rave of the moment. These terms simply mean the use of diabolical means to improve their chances of extorting money and other material things from their victims jokingly described as “Magas” online. Now, they have graduated to overseas travel to sell their kidneys for money.

Sadly, recent media reports confirmed that in their inordinate attempts at becoming wealthy overnight, many of them now travel to European and Asian countries, specifically Malaysia, to donate kidneys in exchange for cool cash. In the process, such desperate young Nigerians allegedly travel to sell one of their kidneys each, collect N10million per kidney donated, and head back home to “enjoy their wealth”.

It’s, however, regrettable to note that a number of such young people have given up the ghost, weeks after their return from abroad, without surviving the ordeal to either expend the money or stay alive.

Of about 10 of these boys who had dropped dead in recent was the one on a hitherto promising boy in the Ojodu area of Lagos State not long ago. Amid wailing and weeping by the deceased’s loved ones, a medical post-mortem was said to have been carried out on his corpse, and alas, the result revealed that he had been operated upon. It was gathered, that pressure from the deceased’s family on one his close friends later let the cat out of the bag: he disclosed what actually happened to the late young man in Malaysia.

This latest “kidney-for-money” bazaar by these young, mischievous ones sure continues to hammer the country’s image badly in the international system. A Nigerian businessman caught in the vortex of the ensuing bad impression being created about Nigeria in the global arena was quoted to have summarised his experience thus: “I’m not so much worried about the insult and shame the scams have brought on every Nigerian in the Diaspora than the problem it has caused many budding entrepreneurs in and outside the country.”

How did he mean as regards the direct implication on the fortune of most Nigerian businessmen and women? The man further revealed that many genuine business people who need letters of credit or similar instruments from Western financial institutions, or interact with customers and affiliates overseas are not having it rosy these days.

Interestingly, however, Miss Juliet Ehimuan, Country Manager, Google Nigeria, urged a delightful audience at Broadband Investment Summit 2011, in Lagos lately, that with the increasing awareness and penetration of broadband Internet technology among Nigerians, the country should effectively leverage information and communication technology (ICT) tools to satisfy “latent demand” for Nigeria’s talents that could be turned into good products, including those in entertainment, culture and other unique businesses online and achieve more positive results.
With the determined support of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Information Technology (IT) professionals and the Media, there ought to be continuous, massive national campaigns against online scams.

Parents, guardians, community, political and religious leaders should also assist this nation in teaching morals towards reviving the societal value system. This will further dissuade many of these distracted young people, who engage in all manner of absurdities to make money while risking their precious lives in the process.

Since the current Administration has ‘Human Capital’ improvement and ‘Wealth Creation’ as part of its projected development agenda, it is then, high time it created an enabling environment and partnered with the private sector people, so that more small and medium-scale enterprises will spring up and thrive.

With this compelling measure in place, such unemployed young population can be absorbed and be gainfully employed, instead of turning to crimes to survive these austere times.

Despite that it has been proved medically that the average human can live on just a kidney, those who still contemplate storming Malaysia, or any other country to sell their kidneys for cool money should stop living in a fool’s paradise. What if the kidney being surgically removed from them happens to be the more functional one after all? What will happen to the individual? Indeed, an express invitation to sudden death!

While parents and guardians should be responsible in monitoring their of their children and wards, the Government as well can liaise with the Malaysian Embassy in Nigeria to be more stringent in with their Immigration guidelines, by asking these young ‘ kidney hawkers’ questions before they are issued visa to leave the country for a foreign land. For vigilant and responsible parents and guardians, “a word,” an aphorism says, “is enough for the wise.”

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