By Wahab Shina Omoniyi
I have been compelled to write and express my disgust at the growing spate of internet fraud among our youth. A careful analysis of the problem indicates that the unabated love for money in our society today is no doubt the proximate cause of this menace.
However, this menace can also be traced to the following factors in the society: First is the gradual and unabated rot in our educational system. It is often said that if you want to destroy a society, all that is needed is to destroy the educational system. There is no gainsaying the fact that all is not well with our educational system. Or how do you explain a situation where even teachers and lecturers encourage sorting even right from primary schools. Parents are not excepted from this unwholesome act and in most cases they are the ones that put pressure on the teachers to award higher grades to their wards. The danger in this is that these children will grow up to become adults, fathers, mothers, administrators, political leaders, religious leaders, cultural custodians etc. I read an online news few days ago where a man wrote the Joint Admission and Matriculation Boarding confessing he was involved in an examination malpractice 21 years ago. In a letter to the examination body titled “Restitution on my JAMB Result 21 Years Ago”, the candidate who claimed to be a born again Christian pleaded for forgiveness from the organization. The Examination body in its response stated categorically that they will only forgive the former candidate only if he is willing to forfeit all the certificate he had acquired using the result of the University Matriculation Examination.
What’s more, Timipade Kemepade is obviously not the only one involved in this malpractice thing, but he has been the bold one coming out to lay down his weapon of examination malpractice and requesting for amnesty. Considering the provision of the law regarding examination malpractice and the reliability of evidence for prosecution, the world is watching how the examination body will handle this matter. Notably, we should not forget the possible collaboration of even staff of the examination body and their cohorts in this unwholesome practice. This is indeed a litmus test to post examination malpractice discoveries and confessions.
However, we should not gloss over these apparent systemic weaknesses. It should be categorically stated that it is because the system is porous and creates room for it that this malpractice has continue to flourishing as a business even though we continue to feign ignorance of it simply because of caliber of people involved. We need to stem the alarming tide of examination malpractice among our youths by first admitting that it exists, secondly by sanctioning those involved in the practices including their collaborators and lastly by encouraging those that work hard to get their grades.
Consequently, it behooves on the government and other concerned stakeholders to act quickly to forestall disaster as this trend has caused serious damage to not only the education system but also the entire society as the perpetrators do not live in isolation.
Secondly, the spate of indiscipline in our society today calls for concern. It is an understatement to say that discipline has collapsed in our society today. The most pathetic and ironical of it is that it is those that ought to enforce that are mostly involved in this insanity. Most children grow up watching their parents beating the traffic lights on the streets. They watch their parents throwing trash through the windows of their cars, and they watch their parents cutting corners by not paying the required utility bills at home. These children grow up seeing all these harmful practices as normal. It is normal for people to shunt queue today because those who supposed to ensure orderliness will be the ones to disregard it. Recently, the executives of my community union complained that those that refuse to pay their security levy are always the paramilitary officers. Undoubtedly, these are people that ought to lead by example by educating through their actions how important security is and why every hands must be on deck to ensure everyone participate as security is everybody’s business. Regrettably, the reverse is the case. Unfortunately also, it is indiscipline that metamorphoses into impunity we see in the society today. We cannot afford to throw up our arms in despair and watch everything crumbles before our very eyes while we do nothing. Posterity will definitely not forgive us. The time has come for all of us to put our shoulders to the wheel and help solve this problem once and for all. Like the slogan goes, if you see something, say something.
Thirdly, avarice has taken over the entire sphere of our society. Be it religious, political, social and educational circle. People are offered special prayers according to how much they can contribute. People are awarded mostly according to how much they can offer financially. Chieftaincy titles are given to the highest bidders. With enough money, people believe they can buy any certificate and it doesn’t matter if such certificates are fakes as those that will verify or detect the authenticity also have their own price. The love and desire for money in our society today has gone beyond just love and desire but greed and selfishness. Some are desperately after wealth today not because of the love for it but because they have taken responsibility over and above what their meager resource could accommodate. They must deny their subordinates and contemporaries of their right for them to meet up financially. At a function sometimes ago, I overheard some guys complaining about their boss, how he has denied them going for training programs as planned and even basic working tools in the office just because he wants to meet up with the foreign exchange rate to pay the school fees of his children schooling abroad. As it is today, even the drivers of Nigeria vehicle have no faith in the vehicles they are driving. They only remain the drivers so they can use the proceed to pay for a better vehicle to convey their family members. Most cannot allow their families to board the same vehicles they drive. This is the true state of the Nigeria state today. Of late, there has been public outcry against the ostentatious lifestyle of some of our religious, political and traditional leaders. Needless to say that most of these leaders got their wealth accumulated through the hard labor or ignorance of their followers.
It is no longer news that friends arrange for kidnap of another friend not really to harm him but just to use him to get ransom from such acts. Spouses have arranged for their own kidnap, siblings have done same recently while some even kidnap themselves for family members to raise money and they share with engaged criminals. How mothers aid one of the children to use another child of hers for rituals. The numbers are countless. With all these happenings and no adequate condemnation or rebuttal from appropriate authorities including religious circles, the youths could not but believe these things are normal.
The solutions to this menace are not far-fetched. The moral decadence in the society must be looked into. Our children must be encouraged to embrace hard work as a means to success. Miraculous wealth should not be celebrated as the societal values. Government need to also revisit the lottery policy that has encouraged unabated gambling among our youths. The National Orientation Agency should wake up and start aggressive societal reorientation.
We need to chart a new course in our quest to free ourselves from the shackles of poverty, disease and ignorance in our society and it must be done holistically. It must be stated that it is not only those boys with laptops that are into yahoo business, every Nigerian that carries out any act to defraud another Nigerian of his or her economic rights or that of the society is undeniably into yahoo business.
In conclusion, there is the urgent need to come up with appropriate policies that will sincerely address all these concerns. Possibly, government can come up with a general Amnesty policy or program that will see everyone lay down their weapon of societal destruction and reboot the system afresh. This can be in form of strictly appointing only those that have shown commitment in patronizing domestic products and services into public offices. A one year or six months’ moratorium could be given for implementation. There is absolutely no doubt, we all need amnesty.