Sunday, August 5, 2007

Oprah should blame both Nigerians and Americans

Dear Peter,

Nigerians have made a bad reputation even in Africa and amongst Nigerians. It behooves me to state my nationality else people think I am trying to be the devil’s advocate. I am from Cameroon; precisely from Southern Cameroon; a league of Nation and UNO protectorate. To those who want to say that I am talking because it has not happened to me I will be very personal. The last Nigerian I kept in my house stole my ID, committed a crime and right now I am fighting to clean my name. So I have been a Nigerian victim. But I am a real victim unlike those ones Oprah and the American public are defending and sympathizing with who are crooks. They are thieves who made a bad adventure. It is no different from having illicit sex and picking up some disease. You would have thought of it before having sex. They are not victims because they were assisting the scammer to steal money they did not work for simply because they wanted a share of the booty. If they had succeeded would the Nigerian still be a scammer? I bet you he or she would have been a sweetie. Take the case of the Dr who was conned with black papers. Is that what he was taught in school; that to make money he should cut papers and throw chemicals on them? You smile; don’t you?

Out of 14 people that have lived with me 8 have been Africans and 6 Americans. One American and his wife stole my electronic devices, very expensive wristwatch with other jewelry. The other one (with the wife) stole my satellite phone while the third stole my checkbooks that he wrote at will. The fourth only stole all the whisky we had to entertain visitors. You smile; don’t you? Only one African (Nigerian) stole (my ID) from me. Looking at the statistics would it be fair for me to say that every American is a thief? Where would I be keeping all the trustworthy Americans I have met? Those Americans who group people are the ones who have not traveled. They only hear about people on TV and Radio. Those that have traveled don’t care what country you come from.

When I moved here I went to a church and introduced myself to work with them. The minister told me he does not want to deal with Africans because they are crooks. As I went further I realized the Africans he was referring to were Nigerians. With all serenity our Nigerian neighbors have to do more to polish their image. It has reached a point where even Nigerians are scared of themselves. I know most Americans do not trust Nigerians. So create opportunities for them to know you. Do not forget that trust is earned. By opening up you might be saving the generation behind you.

Nonetheless, Americans and others must learn to judge people as individuals. Take a look at these nefarious criminals and tell me which one was Nigerian: Andrei Chikatilo, Pedro Alonso Lopez, Anatoli Onoprienko, Henry Lee Lucas, Ottis Toole, H.H Holmes, Fred West, Erzebet Bathory and Hitler. Al Capone was no Nigerian.

In 2003 I sat in a workroom and heard colleagues running down a young lady. She came in, greeted all of us and they were all praising her dress. Immediately as she left they began again tearing her apart. I could not contain it so I asked them: “why don’t you guys tell her what she is doing wrong’? Someone said that: “it is more polite for us Americans to gossip than to confront people because it would be interfering with their privacy”. No one objected to her response. After work I walked to her and said: “why are you dating this man and he is married?” She said they were just dance partners and nothing more. Who was now the sinner?

It would be wrong for anyone to classify every Nigerian into that scam pot. The evil nature in man is not relative and not selective. That means; no color is more evil than the other and no continent or country has more evil citizens than the other. The US speaks of religion more than any other country on earth but can the US be the moral compass of the world? From the priest to ministers, Ted Haggard to Dennis Rader: from Ted Bundy to H. H. Holmes. These Americans have shown that any country has the propensity to raise Lucifer’s cousins.

The Bible affirms that no color is better than the other (Rom 3:9), that all have sinned (Rom 3:23), that the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9-10) and that initially man was made perfect but he went astray (Ecl 7:29) with the entry of sin into the world (Rom 5: 12). That means you will find very reliable Nigerians just like you will find very unreliable ones. You will also find very crooked Americans like you will find very honest ones. It is mere racist and prejudicial tendencies that influence some people to think that they are more superior to others.

It is unfortunate that some Americans after teaming up with some Nigerians to scam African governments blame only the Nigerians? The Americans wanted to transport the money they knew was ill gotten. They too should be prosecuted. They are not victims; they are accomplices. If you are not a thief why would you want to transfer money you have no clue where it came from simply because you have been promised a fair share of the spoil.

Each time I think of one of my best friends Godwin Azubuike I grin. He invited me one day to mediate between him and his friend. The guy accused him for calling him a woman being and Goddy asked: “you are not a woman being are you an animal being?” Then I think of Nnamdi a very honest business man. How on earth would I say all Nigerians are crooks when I have lived with these guys? How on earth would I say all Americans are dishonest when I have lived and eaten with many honest ones? Such is treachery and nature has a way of rewarding turncoats.

One day a colleague asked me if it is true that everyone from Africa has HIV. I retorted the next day by emailing to most my negative HIV test result that was a week old. That is good testimony that eschews gainsayers.

Therefore, honest Nigerians must live their lives as an open book so that those who group all of them as dishonest may be ashamed when they find out the truth. Let us keep shaming those who are tarnishing the image of the few Nigerians remaining. Nigerians should not be angry when people raise those accusing fingers. Instead they should shun them off by living right because the effects of 419 is affecting even the innocent.

Until then, If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

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