The scam called NGO in Nigeria – Ojukwu
By Chief Ojukwu
In the Northeast especially Borno and Yobe, the number of NGO representatives on ground are either equal to the number IDPs or more. In some parts of Maiduguri town, I thought I was in ABA. A lot of my people (Ndigbo) loading trucks with indomie, rice, pampers etc.
They hustle security operatives to give them escorts so they can enter into risky areas to donate stuff to displaced people. All of them are armed with cameras or use their cellphones to take pictures. Once in a while they give cash or items to security operatives and you thank them for their kindness. What many people see as people being kind and going an extra mile with great risks to themselves turns out to be a HUGE SCAM.
Although not all are scams but 99% of NGOs operating in Nigeria are scams. Let me tell you a story about Somto (not real name). Somto was based in South Africa with his South African wife until he fell on hard times. Not being able to provide for his family led from one domestic issue to another until his wife eventually divorced him and threw him out of the house. Broke with nowhere to go, he kept moving from one friends house to another until he got frustrated and decided to return to Nigeria.
Somto spent a few months sleeping in the living room of his friends apartment at wuse zone 6 Abuja (a two bedroom with 5 grown men) until they came up with an idea. One of them being a lawyer helped them in registering an NGO. Next move was setup a website and a bank account (domiciliary (FX) and regular checking account).
Then two of them set off on a trip to Maiduguri. Armed with camera’s, they took pictures with IDPs, made videos of poor toilet facilities etc. They desperately pleaded with a senior army officer to help them get to chibok where they concentrated more on taking pictures of churches and discussing with the people how it was difficult to go to church.
It never crossed the mind of the soldiers that these men had a plan, an elaborate scam. After spending 9 days in Bornu, they eventually returned to Abuja. Then they put the next phase of their scam into motion. They uploaded pictures and videos on their website. They setup social media accounts where they uploaded pics/video daily.
Then they started scouring the net for churches in Europe and the US who had social media handles and emails. They kept bombing them with messages and pictures. One day they got a message from an old Italian woman who said she was too frail to travel but her son would come visit Nigeria to see things for himself.
They picked him up at Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, checked him into an hotel. After a few days they flew to Borno. After visiting the IDPs, the Italian went back home. Few days later he and his mum sent the sum of 5,000 euro in 2 tranches by money Gram with a promise of more to come.
Somto and crew swung into action, they loaded a truck with Indomie, rice, some old cloths but instead of going to Borno they went to the IDP at Kuchingoro Abuja where they took pictures distributing the materials to the IDPs.
They went as far as singling out two orphans who they dressed properly, made them take a picture holding cardboard signs that read ‘grazie mamma Carina e zio Piero (thank you mama Carina & uncle piero)’. BOOM! The donations started flowing in from Italy non-stop!
Mama Carina was so proud she took the pictures to church and everywhere she went to showing off how she was affecting the lives of Christians being persecuted in Nigeria. Her church started a weekly contribution which they sent through her to Somtos NGO! Her son Piero and his wife own a vineyard, so they processed and sold Italian wine.
After his visit, they made sure 10% of all their sales found its way to Somto! Thousands of Euros and all Somto and his crew did was buy a few cartons of Indomie, pampers, pads etc and took pictures to smoothen ‘their job’.
Diversification they say helps businesses grow, so they diversified. Next branch, Kaduna! They would wait for news on attacks in Southern Kaduna, find hospitals where they go take pictures with victims, go to locations of attacks take pictures and then include newspaper links.
All these they send to to potential ‘mugus’. On their website they upload pictures where they claim the plan is to wipe out the entire Christians in Northern Nigeria, they even say how they are being hunted by law enforcement for exposing the genocide.
They find handles of foreign celebrities, Politicians etc who they send all these too. Money keeps coming from different parts of the world; $500 here, €2,000 there, $17,000 there and now Somto drives a brand new Prado with a duplex he bought in life camp. He also owns two houses in Lekki phase 2 he put out on rent.
All these he acquired within less than 2 years. There are many Somtos on social media! 99% of our NGOs are nothing but scams and avenues to launder cash.
Written by Chief Ojukwu