“If it is not 400k per month, I can’t work for anybody,” a young boy I was in a car with told me recently.
I looked at him, yes, 400 thousand naira per month is possible, but it depends on what you are bringing to the table. What skill set and expertise do you have that will make a company in this Lagos pay you 400k per month? BSc? Certified in special courses?
“No, I no learn anything and I don’t have BSc, I dropped out of school, what is the point of a university degree when you will still finish to come and be earning 70k? They will talk to you anyhow, you will be doing yes ma, yes sir. Abeg free that thing!”
There was an NYSC cap in front of the car, so I asked him who owned the cap, he laughed and said it belonged to his brother, adding that the boy was foolish, suffering, doing NYSC for N19,800 when he could hustle and make millions. By this time, I was very curious, “What is this ‘hustle’ you talk of?” He scratched his head for a bit, and said, “You know, online, I do stuff online, na there I dey hustle.”
I knew he was a Yahoo boy before we started the conversation, the car although not so flashy, was still above what a young boy could afford but it was his, he had gold on his neck and wrist and finger.
A few days before, I had met another one who dropped out of school in his second year because he could not imagine spending five years studying agriculture in one of Nigeria’s foremost agricultural university.
“But didn’t you know it was an agric school before you applied?” I had asked him, he said he didn’t know he just needed an admission to leave the house. Now, he hustles online and ‘deals’ in forex and bitcoins.
There are a thousand and one stories like these two. Sapele in Delta State is a hub for these ‘online’ workers. They spend money like it was plucked off a tree, sometimes they try to invest their ‘earnings’ in businesses.
When I was home over the holidays, I was alarmed at how much this is now normal. So, I had a conversation with my younger friends and they agreed it is a normal thing. They even justified it that it is not bad, after all, they are not killing anybody, and you don’t have to do rituals, you can just do ‘online dating.’
I was so worried but before I left I made sure to let them know that scam is scam, it is robbery, they are thieves. I asked them how they would feel if their parents’ bank accounts, their life savings are wiped out in seconds – that sobered them up, but to think that young people think this thing is ‘normal’ is scary. Last year, my friend’s Mum’s account was wiped clean by one of these ‘online’ workers; the person even had the guts to call her back to gloat.
There are parents who buy laptops for their sons to learn ‘work.’ There are parents whose kids suddenly start buying houses, cars, expensive things and they turn a blind eye not asking where the money is coming from.
Things are bad; unemployment, poverty, bad educational system and more are the seeds that grew into the problems we now see. How can the government rehabilitate these young people? How can we tell them that there is dignity in labour? The funny thing is how these boys make fun of people with regular day jobs, they sneer and laugh about your peanut salary meanwhile they stay up all night sending emails about inheritance in Somalia. They post photos of their exotic trips, food and clothes on Instagram and everybody likes and hail them, but where is the money coming from? No one asks.
Is it the job of the police/SARS to arrest/track these ‘online’ workers? I think that is the job for EFCC. The police do it now, and then they settle with the boys and it is business as usual.
I heard of one who decided to quit Yahoo, but when he was offered a job that paid about 70k, not even enough to pay for feeding and rent in a month in Lagos, he resigned and went back to his former lifestyle.
I don’t have answers, but this is an SOS, we need to find a solution, and find it fast. Until then, be very careful with your bank details people. Your bank will not ask you to send them your password through SMS/email, or call you to do same, stay safe, people!