Advance-fee-fraud victims deserve no apologies, says Mark
From Alifa Daniel, Asst Political Editor (Abuja)
ADVANCE-FEE-FRAUD is a crime for which the country is infamous in the comity of nations. But while the Federal Government abhors and condemns the fraudulent practice, Senate President David Mark yesterday told an Irish economic team which visited him that the nation has no apologies for those whose desire for quick wealth had made them victims of Nigerian swindlers.
Indeed, Mark frowned at the country being made a scapegoat for the fraudulent tendencies of others, warning foreigners not to see Nigeria as a goldmine to milk dry. He stressed that “we have no apologies for victims of fraud”.
Mark said Nigeria would not take responsibility or accept blames from foreigners who are victims of advance-fee-fraud, otherwise known as 419, because the baits used by the confident men were often illegal in nature and ought to put off any honest individual.
He told the Irish economic delegation, led by the country’s Minister of Integration, Mr. Conor Lenihan, that “anybody who falls into the booby traps of fraudsters is also fraudulent.”
“I have no apology for victims of 419. Somebody asks you to bring, say $200,000 in order to get $20 million in return without investing anything concrete or rendering valuable services and you go ahead to do so. If you are ripped off in the process, you should blame yourself and not the system,” Mark was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Paul Mumeh.
He told his guests, including Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Kema Chikwe and her Irish counterpart, Kyle O’Sullivan, that anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) had been strengthened and repositioned to fight the war against corruption.
The Senate President stressed that “Nigeria upholds the sanctity of the rule of law, respect for human rights and has a vibrant, dynamic and free press, all geared towards enhancing and sustaining democracy.”
Mark assured that in spite of the global economic crisis, Nigeria remained a haven for investment because “our economy has been reasonably insulated from the financial meltdown.”
He solicited the support of Ireland to solve Nigeria’s energy problem, asking the delegation to help facilitate the development of solar energy as an alternative source of power.
Mark assured that the National Assembly would continue to provide the legislative framework for the executive to perform, stressing that “we are determined to provide good environment for investors to thrive.”
Lenihan noted Nigeria’s potential, saying the nation was destined for greatness. He called for mutual cooperation between Nigeria and Ireland for the benefit of both nations, disclosing that his country has about 40,000 Nigerians in different walks of life contributing to its socio-economic life.
His words: “We need to work together for the benefit of our citizens.”
Its a truth that must be told, and yes, its cold.
If we turn the tables around and imagine that the advance fee fraud pays off for the victims in the end, would there be any complaints by the victims? No. If $200,000 was used to make back $2Million, without any value added, or any services rendered, – in an economy like ours: Nigeria, Africa, is the business transaction legal? No.
All the same, I do not support 419 fraudsters and their victims also. A spade should be called by the right word: a spade.