From Analog ‘Yahoo’ to Digital, and Back!
There has been an increase in incidences of ritual killings and associated diabolic acts by several individuals in search of power and quick-money. The social media is plastered daily with one gruesome event after another. This makes the literate mind wonder what-on-earth is going on, and how people can be stupid enough to believe that it is possible to use the human head or organs to invoke money.
The logical thing is to conclude that these anti-social behaviors can only be accounted for by stupidity and ignorance.
But, again, it is important not to dismiss them because of the obvious illiteracy of individuals caught in the act, as well as the obvious silliness associated with the tales presented, especially when these tales are drenched in female underwear.
Way back in the late eighties, when ‘yahoo’ was still in its initial analog phase, as a university student and defender of rational thinking, quite a few of us disbelieved the possibility of writing a silly letter to foreigners and suddenly wearing a Patek Phillppe wristwatch, driving around in a BMW 635 CSi and buying buildings in a blink of an eye.
We spent fruitless evenings arguing over this phenomenon. We believed the ‘yahoo’ guys were highway robbers (which some were), that those vehicles and properties did not belong to them (which were true for some) and that foreigners were extremely intelligent and un-hoodwink-able (which many were).
The nature of these letters, as the sample below attests, calcified our belief that something else was going on, even though right before our eyes, we saw hordes of young men posting bag full of letters and enduring sleepless nights in order to reach their goal.
To muddle up things further, known ‘Yahoo’ boys regularly paid tithes both to the church and the police. As weird as it may look now, the average scam letter read thus:
”I maaalm ahibaba own oil well. Me want share money with whiteman wei go help me get money out of country fast fast…. Kai me nini! I give money plenty plenty.”
This phenomenon continued for a long time and as the scammed got wiser, the scammers resorted to more diabolic approaches that culminated in the ‘Otokoto saga’. These latter day scammers upgraded to the killing of foreigners who wanted to come to validate business deals. The foreigners were usually lured into the country and then forced to make fund transfers or sign cheques at gun-point.
By the time it became clear, even to the most hardened skeptic, that this phenomenon was true, many of these scammers had moved out to foreign countries in order to expand their trade.
About the same period this was happening, a top-level software executive of an American computer manufacturer trashed the legend that computer viruses were real. He claimed that it was just a rumor and that if anyone were to know, they would be the first to.
I learnt a very important lesson and resolved not to fit everything into one’s knowledge base, or dismiss something because of its apparent irrationality.
With the advent of the internet, ‘yahoo’ went digital but by then concerted effort had been made to inform the public of the phenomenon. Luckily, several spam blocking protocols and banking reforms were instituted to minimize the impact of these fraudsters.
In response to Google-Plus, since the real Yahoo had no answer, these ‘yahoo boys’ have resorted to what is now termed ‘’yahoo-plus’’. Jumping off the digital network back to an analog one, ritual killings and female underwear have now become part of the tools of the trade.
Like in the old days at the university, a lot of people couldn’t wrap their minds around it so they kept insisting for an explanation on how it’s possible to convert these items to money. Some postulate that they may be exporting human organs to retrofit ailing western kidneys and livers (which is a known global trade), scamming others by incriminating them for murder (which is also true in some cases), using them as gateway to enter secret cults so that high-end fraud can be protected (which is still a possibility) but they totally reject the possibility of any process by which rituals can be used to generate cash.
But, what exactly, has the mass of people been able to wrap their minds around? The Economy? Electricity? Or the inner-workings of a 4G network. By this, I do not mean the dumb man-on-the-street, but the telecom guy either in the office, in front of a Huawei or Cisco equipment or up on the mast fitting transmission equipment. He usually follows instructions from an illustrated idiot-proof manual – fix this cable to this port, mount and align the antenna thus, key-in this configuration file, remember to turn on the power-button , and then press ‘’Enter’’ for the magic to begin.
So, how does this ‘yahoo-plus’ work? In all fairness, the most competent person to ask this question is the popular Nigerian female musician, Omawumi. But, since you are not likely to get audience with her, listen to her track: “If you ask me (Na who I go ask?)”
TRC – Python and the Rainmaker.