I am inclined towards the idea that the Nigerian scamster who attacked me last week was in fact Bayo Okoh. I have no evidence to prove this, but the more I think about it, the more plausible it looks. Consider that the bearlike Big Brother oaf didn’t get a lucrative job co-hosting Studio 53 after the reality show ended so he has to be looking for money somehow. The prosecution rests. It is Bayo scamming me.
Also, I stand corrected. The term is not hacking, it is phishing. I stand corrected not because I easily surrender to technical pedantry, but because that gives me the opportunity to refer to my email correspondent as Bayo as a phisherman.
Before we proceed with the tale, I need to re-conceal the true identity of my celebrity friend. So this time I shall disguise her as… um… who else rocks? Um… Juliana. Because, once again, it is not Juliana. And now, on with the show…
Bayo did not pick up on the dubious discordance between my greeting (wherein I referred to “her” as my sister) and my signing off, (which I did as her “uncle”), so eager was he to get his large mitts off the weatherbeaten Lagos webcafe keyboard and onto some sweet easy non-earned money. He typed furiously back, and I had a new message within hours.
Subject: Re: Urgent Response Needed
Thanks for everything, I was to have a business meeting here in Nigeria before all this happened, I don’t know if it was all planed before i came. Please just help me send what you have so I can make plans to leave here. Immediately I receive the money i will process the emergency travelling document. I need to get out of here as am not feeding well. Once again thanks for you concern waitng to here from you ASAP.
I always bristle slightly over that misspelling of my name, but my annoyance dissipated as I thought of Bayo reading the tirade against Nigerians I had sent, and being forced to weather it silently.
I think his reply was his way of reeling me in gently. He clearly wanted to say: “Yeah. Whatevs. The cash. Send the cash!” but he had been taught at Scam Camp never to jump the gun.
“You have to tease your mark in, Bayo,” the instructor had probably said. “Lead them in gently. Don’t let yourself come off sounding too eager at first. Offer some form of nicety.”
Hence the alleged business meeting in Nigeria and his pause to wonder if this was the culmination of an international conspiracy against “Juliana”.
I figured that the process of gentle in-reeling is not a rapid one and so I could drag things out a bit, too.
My sister in Christ, I am working on the money. I put a call through to Amos, but I was told that he is still in court. However, I am sure he will respond soon. If he doesn’t, I will ask Kashoma to advance me some. By the way, Matembe has told me to ask you whether they stole your methamphetamines when they stole your property. She is very very worried. She says don’t buy drugs from Nigerians. They are unhygienic and besides, they are all witchdoctors. Be strong, sister. Any time now I will be communicating with you.
I was sniggering like a four-year-old watching I.R. Baboon as I hit Send. I was very eager to know what he would make of the “discovery” that he had stolen the email of somebody trafficking meth. Would he panic? Or would he soldier on like the brave and solid warrior he truly was?
He soldiered on. Like the slimy thief he truly was.
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 13:30:13 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Urgent Response Needed
Yes they did, they took it alone. thats why I need to get out of here ASAP. Please just help me send what you have so I know were I stand. Thanks for everything and tell Matembe not to worry that everything will be fine. waiting for you reply.
I noticed how deftly he had phrased this letter. He dismissed the loss of the drugs in such cavalier fashion that I wondered if he even knew what methamphetamines were. He was not going to bother his head with that big word. He wanted to focus on the money.
I opened my desk drawer and removed a box of inverted commas. Then I said to the screen, I will “send” the “money” soon, my “friend” who is “trapped” in Nigeria. As soon as I’m through laughing at you telling me to tell Miria Matembe that her drug mule says her drugs are safe.
That evening I wrote back with the news that I had been on the phone with our old friend Mike Olawale (a name I just grabbed off Naijarules.com), who had agreed to give her the money in person. He was in Lagos and if she would tell him where she was, he would bring two grand over. Cold cash.
I threw in a little lifeline—I referred to Mike as her ex-boyfriend.
The fake Julianna replied with what sounded like rising desperation:
Earnest, Please collect the money from Amos and have it sent to me via western union in the morning so i can make arrangments and leave in the eveing because it’s the best solution to my problem now. I didn’t want mike to know about it. It’s about 8:00pm now and I have not eaten anything today. Please Earnest just have the money sent that way.
Clearly things were, as they say in Kampala, if not in Lagos, getting tight. Time for a lucky break.
Juliana, my sister! Hallelujah! I have got the money!
Amos is still in court. But while I was trying to get in touch with him, I mentioned your situation to Straka Mwezi and guess what? She had some money in her hands right there and then! She was going to take it to the hospital to pay for her mother’s surgery, but I told her how you are in such danger in NIgeria of all places, so she agreed to give me the money on the condition that you pay it back as soon as you return, so her mother can have the operation.
I have $1,500 right here with me! Now just tell me how I can send it to you!
And I could see Bayo smile.