Posted by News Express | 9 January 2013 | 4,673 times
A Nigerian diplomat yesterday afternoon told the shocking story of how international fraudsters, known locally in Nigeria as 419ners, successfully infiltrated and occupied elevated positions in the country’s apex bank.
Ambassador Femi George, a former Ambassador to Canada, said he first encountered one of the fraudsters when he assumed duty in the Nigerian diplomatic mission in Washington, DC, USA.
“The first letter I received in 1974 on arrival in Washington, DC, was a 419 letter,” George said while representing Foreign Affairs Minister Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru at an event in Nigeria’s former capital, Lagos.
George, spoke of how he kept sending reports on the need to “deal” with the fraudster, whom he said was a Nigerian well known to him, “but nothing was done about it.”
He disclosed that he later came across more crooks in the course of his diplomatic service, lamenting: “Regrettably, two of them later worked in the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
While not mentioning the names of the fraudsters, George disclosed that they were recruited by the apex bank “during the time when it was the vogue for fraudsters to write to Europeans, saying they worked in the CBN.”
“I was not surprised,” the diplomat said amidst sighs by the full house at the event – a colloquim to mark the 50th birthday of frontline adman, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, CEO of CMC Connect, Lagos.
The event, held at MUSON Centre on Lagos Island, attracted eminent speakers such as former ministers Ike Nwachukwu (foreign affairs) and Dora Akunyili (information and communication). It had as theme, “Managing Nigeria’s Image: Whose Responsibility?”
Speaker after speaker bemoaned the country’s battered image, identifying the brand eroders to include international fraud (419), corruption and the penchant of Nigerians to demonise their country at international fora or via the international media. The consensus was that managing the country’s image is everybody’s responsibility but with the government leading the way.
•Photo: CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
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