I accept friend requests of people younger than I am after taking a trip to their walls on Facebook. If their wall looks original and they are making lots of common sense, I accept their request. What they do for me is to help keep me abreast of trending issues I might not be quickly aware of. Like trending music, artiste rivalry or happenings in higher institutions among others. So it was on one of such walls that I first got the hint that Azeez Adeshina Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, a Nigerian artiste of the popular Issa Goal fame, was going to be arrested.
Why? Naira Marley in a video glorified cybercrime a.k.a Yahoo Yahoo that the ones behind it are responsible for keeping the economy solvent, criticising the politicians for embezzling money and stashing it abroad. He also said that Yahoo guys are simply taking back what the colonialists had stolen from our country.
The furore that trailed his statement caused him to release a collaboration with another artiste, Zlatan Ibile, known for the famous catchphrase “GbeBodi e.”
Together they made a song “Am I a Yahoo Boy?”Some of the lyrics read: See me see trouble/Am I a Yahoo Boy?/ E ra mi e gba mi o/ Sheymojooromo yahoo ni? Emi o moSars/ Sarst’emimo is Sarz on the beats/Olopako le muwa/TaniSarsfe mu lo ibi?
This has sparked further debates and even caused so much division among Nigerians. ZlatanIbile continues the flow: Government nabarawo/Bloggers na armed robbers/Imam deygbadun/ Pastor na enjoyment, etc.
Before I could blink, Naira Marley was arrested. While he probably thought it was still a child’s play, he was charged to court for cyber and internet fraud. Before we could adjust our seats, he was arraigned before a Federal High Court in Ikoyi on an 11-count charge ranging from internet cybercrime to credit card fraud.
Now there have been various agitations, commentaries, postulations and perception of this trending event. I have even read that a group of Nigerians have gone ahead to form some sort of Marlian Movement, agitating for the release of who is believed to be their hero.
What I find very strange about Nigerians is the fact that our fights are selective and that’s why we can hardly go far. We collectively condemn a particular act but when it affects someone we love, we turn around to say we are all sinners and so the offender ought to be released. We speak from both sides of the mouth.
Without an iota of doubt, Yahoo is trending with many youths joining the business. But why has cybercrime taken root in Nigerian culture? Is it purely the greed of today’s youth? The quest to get rich quickly? Or is it an offshoot of the failure of a nation who has abandoned all values for the acquisition of filthy lucre and our youths growing into it to expect nothing better.
Firstly, parents are training their children mostly for a future that no longer exists like before. You got into school, got opportunities to train or school abroad, come back to find a ready job and contribute your quota, get married, have kids, train them……..and the cycle goes on.
Bad governmental programmes have scapped the middle class. What we have is the extremely rich and the dismally poor. There is no solid middle class anywhere and if there are, a straggly few. We should stop glorifying how good it was instead begin to plan how we can make our children hold their own in a competitive world they are finding themselves. Many developed countries are not about the rush to get into school, but about how children will find where their natural abilities lie and pattern their career and profession there. That’s why a builder is one because that’s what he enjoys, a chef is one because that is what he loves doing best, same with a software programmer, a carpenter, among others.
On many fronts the Nigerian education system is mostly a scam, the unpreparedness for the future leaves many disillusioned and confused about exactly how to go about their path. Truthfully, Nigeria is a very difficult place to live. We pray for and are thankful for the haphazard provision of our most basic needs which should be a given. With news bombarding us every day of disappearing funds in our commonwealth, the off shoot is an angry generation who conversely seek wealth by defrauding others through the internet, an act that has morphed into rituals, whilst the Yahoo is a cover-up in many instances.
On the other hand however, the resort to crimes as excuse of a difficult life holds no water as some have come from hard knotty routes to break through. Hardship is a poor defence to a life of crime because there will still be a small remnant of people who will never resort to crime, believe it or not.
Yahoo fraudsters get arrested from time to time, at least I have walked upon two different cases in court quite recently, Naira Marley’s matter gets more hype because he is an artiste. Recall that sometimes ago, an artiste by stage name of Small Doctor was arrested for being in possession of fire arms and was subsequently released. We watch with patience this trial, if the prosecutors are able to prove their case or if this will be another flash in the pan.
Despite the controversial statement made by Naira Marley, we cannot ignore some truths. Cybercrime is not to be glorified but then the fight against corruption should be in every sector. We should fight leprosy with the same strength we fight the ringworm.