Tale Of Mixed Feelings
I wrote this piece back in 2005. It is fictitious but some of the events described were true. But some were just figments of the writer’s imagination. Enjoy it!
The scam and the man
Bode Adeigbe has just returned from an unproductive trip to the United States embassy. He was seeking a student visa to enable him pursue a masters degree in Information Technology at a University in the USA. Bode is a young Nigerian with a passion for Information and Communications Technology. He graduated from University two years earlier; his quest for more knowledge and expertise prompted him to consider doing his higher degree in the United States. The school had already offered him admission with half scholarship because of his high GRE scores, his parents have also promised to pay the rest of the tuition fees. It was therefore a traumatising experience for him when the uncooperative official at the US embassy denied him the student visa. In an attempt to take his mind off the experience, his parents and siblings encouraged him to seek employment in a good company in Nigeria, and maybe later apply to the embassy. He accepted their counsel and started submitting his resume to choice companies, his primary aim being the Telecommunications sector. Months after, he was still on the search.
One fateful day, he went out to check his email and got a message from a friend notifying him of an expatriate oil job vacancy in North America with mouth-watering offers. The advert specified that a consulting company based in the Netherlands was recruiting for the oil company involved. Bode was excited and applied for the job by sending an email with his resume attached as specified in the advert. Six weeks later, he received an email from the consulting company, inviting him for a job selection test in Cotonou, Benin Republic. It was indicated that he was going to be responsible for his travel expenses and other costs incurred coming for the test. He was however assured of a refund of such expenses if selected for the job at the end of the process. This triggered a series of questions in his mind. He wondered why he should leave Nigeria to go and do a test in Benin Republic, he was also curious to know why an oil company that is willing to pay so much couldn’t sponsor the trip. Finally, why would the consulting company not send the test invitation by land mail or call him, but chose to send an email, which is at a very cheap rate. He pondered on these thoughts and decided to investigate the authenticity of the consulting company.
He went to the Internet and browsed their website. The information on the website claimed that the company uploaded the website two years earlier. Bode as an Information Technology enthusiast managed to get to the image directory of the website and discovered that the website was actually uploaded just three months ago. He also noticed that there was no physical address of the company on the website. Prompted by these discoveries, he made up his mind to get to the root of the matter. He sent a mail to a newspaper publishing company in Netherlands seeking information about the existence of the consulting company. A reply came the next day confirming his fears; there was no company with that name in the whole of Netherlands after a search was conducted in the database of registered companies. The reply also pointed out the fact that the telephone numbers listed on the website are mobile phone numbers and not land lines. Bode was very disappointed about the issue. His hope of getting a lucrative expatriate job just fell like a pack of card, the most annoying thing being that he was taken on a roller coaster ride. He was only resolute on one thing: to fish out the perpetrators of the whole deal. He started smelling a familiar scent of advanced fee fraud, popularly known as ‘419’ in Nigeria. He sent an email to the consulting company asking them if they have affiliation to any African establishment. He was replied with the answer that the company only has offices in Netherlands and Ireland and that they do not have any African connection.
At this point, he remembered that he could actually trace the organisation that registered a domain name on the Internet using a special online service. He visited a website that offered such service and in two minutes, he got the address he wanted. The domain name of the consulting company was registered to a company in Lagos Nigeria, a confirmation of his suspicion of online scam. He was so furious that many other people who were invited for the test would go innocently to enter the fraudulent trap set by the criminals. It was time to act fast since the test was to come up in a week’s time.
He gathered all the evidence with him and headed for the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), an agency set up by the Government in Nigeria to handle such cases. It was a very happy Bode that saw the culprits arrested at their office in Lagos.
Interrogations that followed exposed the fact that the test would have held in Cotonou as arranged, then many of the candidates would get the purported job and would be asked to pay a sum of 1000 dollars to process their working permits after which the criminals will vanish into thin air. Bode felt very bad; he now understood why his country was announced as the second most corrupt country in the world. The corruption in the Government was disheartening and advanced fee fraud was growing. He also realized why his student visa application was rejected at the US embassy. Such is the fate of an ambitious Nigerian Youth.