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Why Nigerians are Sympathetic of Yahoo Boys

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The Nigerian social scene is yet reeling from the arrests made by the EFCC at Club 57 in the early hours of Friday morning, 11th May 2018. Suspected fraudsters were arrested and their luxury vehicles were confiscated.

This move by the EFCC, crippled Lagos night over the weekend, that many fearfully stayed home or used Ubers to go around, as driving a luxury car was synonymous to being harassed by security operatives.

The arrests made by the EFCC marked the beginning of an all out war between the anti-fraud unit and ‘Yahoo boys’. Presently the agency has arrested six men who are suspected yahoo boys in Abuja and their belongings confiscated.

While some Nigerians applaud the efforts of the agency to stem the spreading menace of cyber crimes and fraud, there are those on the other side of the divide who sympathize with Yahoo boys at what they call a witch hunt of “hardworking young men who are about their hustle”.

Two Nigerians who have been at each other’s throat on the matter of EFCC vs Yahoo boys are Noble Igwe and motivational speaker Onyemekke.

While Noble Igwe applauds the anti-fraud agency and give them more pointers to what kinds of individual they are to investigate, motivational speaker Onyemekke falls on the other side of the divide.

He is more sympathetic and say Yahoo boys provide a means of livelihood for young people who have been abandoned by a failed government. Thus it becomes easy to applaud a fraudster who throws money around, having never experienced the sting of a his crime.

Clearly he is not alone in this opinion, as former Big Brother Naija housemates, Efe and K Brule, have indirectly shown their support by defending Yahoo boys and glorifying their ‘hustle’. Even worse children do not aspire to be lawyers, doctors and engineers anymore, they proudly say that they want to be ‘Gee Boys’ when they get older. The highflying lifestyle of fraudsters directly question the merits of hard work and honesty.

Nigeria is a country where money is god and those who have it are worshipped. Thus it is less important how you make money. So many Nigerians are quick to defend these fraudsters and blame the government for their life of crime. Afterall Yahoo boys feed their families and are employers of labour.

The scenario is no different from robbing Peter to pay paul, many Nigerians also posit that if politicians who loot are left to walk free, there is no reason for Yahoo Boys to be persecuted.

Whatever justification many are quick to give, there is no excuse for choosing a life of crime, not the failure of the government or the deplorable economic situation. Nothing justifies choosing to embrace a life of crime as a fraudster, because there are many facing the same hardship and choose to hustle legitimately.

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