Virtual sermon: Hushppupi, The Nailing of A Thief–Mike Awoyinfa

 

“Hushpuppi was born in Kwara State to a poor family.  He cut his first teeth for wealth and opulent living when, as a teenager, he sold Louboutin accessories to rich clients across Nigeria.  The idea of getting rich by any means was forged in that crucible of wealth amid pandemic poverty of his own neigbhourhood.”

How can a young man so blessed with talents, computer-like brain, human and artificial intelligence, sell it all to the devil, like Esau, for a mess of pottage, and end up as a cautionary tale and a lesson on vanity?  

What does the son of the preacher man say about vanity?  Turn your Bible to the Book of Ecclesiastes.  Read Chapter 1 and the whole of the 18 verses which says: “Vanity upon vanities, all is vanity…What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?…That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered…For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”    

With his digital brain and expertise in computer hacking, he could have been the Bill Gates and the Mark Zuckerberg of Nigeria, if he had used his talent positively, but he used it criminally and today, he is languishing in prison, on the verge of wearing the orange uniform of shame.  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul in the end? (Mark 8:36)

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Until my son Babajide drew my attention to his shocking story and suggested him as a good topic to sermonize about, let me confess that I didn’t know much about Hushpuppi, the high-flying Nigerian scammer, who has used his talent in amassing stupendous wealth along the path of chicanery of the highest order, bringing tears, sorrow and mother of agonies to his victims all over the world who lost their hard-earned money in millions, in dollars, pounds, dirhams and other global hard currencies to an evil genius from Nigeria—a country with the bad reputation of breeding the likes of Hushpuppi, a 419er whose real name is Ramoni Igbalode Abbas.  He is not alone.    

Hushpuppi, the Nigerian smart guy who outsmarted the law but ended up at long last in the inescapable long arm of the law.  The hacker hacking into the fortified computers of the rich and financial institutions around the world and stealing their money in millions with glee, all by subterfuge.  The artful dodger who had evaded the FBI and security agencies of this world and laughing out loud to the bank with his loot.  The vanity king brazenly showing off his automobile trophies.  Which car doesn’t he have?  Lamborghini, Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Rolls Royce—he has them all and he poses with them like Ozymandias, that beautiful poem on vanity, broken statues, fragility and futility, by the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley whom I read for my A-levels.  Like today’s Ozymandias, Hushpuppi is constantly on Instagram like the boastful Goliath of crime, mocking all those who don’t have his knack for making easy money.  Deriding those who toil, work hard, yet there is nothing in their bank accounts.

At a time when hardworking, honest Nigerians in the diaspora—doctors, nurses, professors, novelists like Chimamanda Adichie, boxers like Anthony Joshua, soccer stars, entertainers and computer scientists like Phillip Emeagwali—are showcasing the best of Nigeria, Judases like Hushpuppi are betraying Nigeria. They are reconfirming the old stereotypes of Nigeria as a country of scammers. They are exposing the dark side of the Nigerian moon.  It’s sad!  So sad!   

I enjoyed this brilliant piece I read on Eagle Online by Taju Tijani, my London-based friend, an avid reader of my “Press Clips” column since his secondary schooldays, since my Weekend Concord days.  It’s titled “Hushpuppi: Hushed, hacked and hunted.”  It reads:

Ramoni Igbalode Abbas, globally known as Ray Hushpuppi, will now be writing a new chapter in his fast-paced life of opulence and luxurious lifestyle.  This man who loves to wrap his ego in the daily oxygen of social media would be out of circulation for a long time.  To put it simply, they got him!!!  He is accused of multiple internet scams, fraud, duplicity, and hacking.  This playboy is a 21st century wonder.

Not known from any rich, social background.  He has no known skill, competence, or credentials as a highflier to have qualified him for the kind of opulent lifestyle he daily displays on his Instagram and other social media platforms.  What he has is just uniqueness and that mogul capacity to redefine the meaning of haute couture on a lavish, fairy scale.

Hushpuppi was born in Kwara State to a poor family.  He cut his first teeth for wealth and opulent living when, as a teenager, he sold Louboutin accessories to rich clients across Nigeria.  The idea of getting rich by any means was forged in that crucible of wealth amid pandemic poverty of his own neigbhourhood.  Nothing will stop that desire until he got it fulfilled albeit through the most ingenious ways.  He chose Malaysia as a base and from there the sky of fortune began to give way for this youngster.

Who did this rich dude offend?  Well, Hushpuppi was said to have been on the radar of both FBI and United Arab Emirate elite e-Police under a covert operation code-named Fox Hunt 2 for some time.  On the D-Day of operation, they were able to hunt down 12 Nigerian Yahoo-Yahoo hackers, including Woodbery.  Singularly, Hushpuppi was allegedly arrested because he diverted $35 million COVID-19 test kit meant for native American patients into his own Gucci wallet.

How did he do it?  It was alleged that he specializes in Business Email Compromise.  He will send out identical emails to legitimate emails and through that digital interception, would then start monetary diversion into his account.  That is, Hushpuppi is a hacker’s delight…He is a dark genius who loves to reap where he does not sow.”

(For the continuation of this piece, you can Google “Hushpuppi: Hushed, hacked and hunted” By Taju Tijani)  By the way, Taju Tijani has promised to do a piece for me on Naira Marley.  Watch out.  

         

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