Don’t call me a cock-blocker

I don’t want to seem like I am bashing him, you know? I don’t want it to sound like I have anything against him or anything. After all, who am I to judge? Everybody has their weaknesses. Everyone has their dark side. Granted his is uniquely weaker and darker than most…

But he paid his debt to society and I think we should stop holding his being in prison against him. Moreover, there is a school of thought (and maybe they have a point) that argues that we are a bit unjust when treating drug dealers. They ask, how come we don’t punish the buyers, too? Isn’t it the buyers who tempt people like him to start selling drugs?

Okay, well, it IS true that the buyers in this case were little children, but the decision to sell coke outside a schoolyard was not born out of evil — it was born out of cowardice. There is a difference.

Besides, it wasn’t that bad. As the subsequent fraud conviction proved, he wasn’t even selling pure coke. He was mixing it with maize flour, so he didn’t do as much damage as if we had initially thought.

I’m not saying what he did was not bad, it was reprehensible, and I condemn the act as much as you do, but he really had very little choice. His circumstances forced him to it. There was hardly any other job he could find after the sexually-transmitted leprosy caused his fingers to drop off. 

It was a terrible sight to watch him try to get by after that happened. Especially when the scabies got onto his ass and he couldn’t scratch it without hands. The poor man drastically needed the money to get some sort of treatment.

And he wasn’t getting much from his job. His business was doing very poorly. Demand for a gigolo dries up when it is discovered that he has both leprosy AND scabies. Very few women are that desperate. In the end the only clients he could get were men, until the scabies destroyed the last fleck of commercial value his ass had. 

And then his family abandoned him at his time of need. His kids didn’t even want to be associated with him. All fourteen of them turned their backs on him. They all said the same thing: That they would not help him just because he abandoned them when they were born and kicked their mothers out. Literallly kicked them out. He assaulted them. 

But they say the tendency to wife-battering is congenital—that you inherit it from your father— so I don’t want to judge him just because he beat up on every girlfriend he ever had. Okay, some would say “beat up on” is a overly mild way of referring to abducting someone, locking her in the pit latrine all day long and only letting her out at night so he could whip her bloody, but these seem like the acts of a sick sick man. He needs help, not condemnation.

All I’m saying is he seems to have put that all behind him now. He looks like he has changed. He even bathes regularly these days—certainly doesn’t smell as much as he used to. There are much fewer flies around him. You cannot fail to notice that. So, if you ask me about my friend, who slipped you his number at a party last weekend, and seemed  nice, and you wonder whether you should call him, I guess I would say, I don’t really have anything to say against him.

Bayo the Phisherman and the email scam

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.

Big Brother's Bayo Okoh is a Nigerian stereotype. Probably the one sending these emails

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…

 

Juliana. Not the one
Juliana. Not the one

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.

To: EBazanye@newvision.co.ug 

Subject: Re: Urgent Response Needed 

Hello Earnest, 

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. 

thank u. 

“Julianna”

 

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?

 

I r baboon
I r baboon

 

He soldiered on. Like the slimy thief he truly was.


To: EBazanye@newvision.co.ug 

Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 13:30:13 +0000 (GMT) 

Subject: Re: Urgent Response Needed 

Dear Earnest, 

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. 

thank u. 

“Juliana”

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.

“Non-Juliana”

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.

An email From Nigeria requesting money

 

In my capacity as the current sitting Ernest Bazanye, Fresh Prince of the Showbiz Press, I often find myself in the company of glamorous and talented people. I hope you don’t hate me for this. I assure you that even though I be rolling wit da stars like dat, I remain very down to earth and will never forget my roots. In fact I spend a lot of time in those roots. Even though I spend that time name-dropping.

Some of the celebrities I meet are insufferably vain and odious. Others are just normal people who happen to sing or dance or act or deejay or TV-present very well and can be pleasant and affable people when you meet them at a cocktail event sponsored by a beer or phone company.

Some of them turn out to be so nice that they will send you spiralling to depths of gut-churning guilt because of all the mean things you said about them in your newspaper articles. Or your blogs. Like Doreen Kayongo and Melanie, just to mention two.

 

 

Doreen Kayongo, fifth Best TV presenter 2004 in a New Vision poll. Hated on by sections of the press
Doreen Kayongo, fifth Best TV presenter 2004 in a New Vision poll. Hated on by sections of the press

 

I truly believe that no one in the business of entertaining the public is above criticism, but I really feel bad about saying those things about Doreen Kayongo and I am so so so sorry. So sorry. I like you.

There are some, though, who we can all respect and admire for the ass they kick, such as the celebrity in this story. Even though we are not bossom buddies and I am not likely to be a part of her wedding entourage, we are acquainted well enough: I am a big fan and she doesn’t find me repulsive. No, I am not going to tell you who she is. What about. Let’s say she is, um… Karitas.

No, it is NOT Karitas, that is why I am saying it is. If it was Karitas, I would say it is someone else. Like Marcus Kiryowa or someone. Go face.

On the 13th of October I received the email below:

How are you? Hope everything is ok? I just want to know if you can be of help to me.Something terrible happened to me on a trip i just made to Nigeria. I was robbed of all my belongings at the hotel i planned to stay in and i also lost my cell during the incident which makes it impossible for me to reach out to people at home. I have spoken to the Embassy andthey are not responding to the matter effectively. 

Please i need you to lend me about $1850,you can help me have it sent via 

Western Union Money Transfer so i can re-arrange myself and return back home. I will surely refund the money back to you once i get back. Below is the information you might require in sending me some money. 

Name: Karitas Karisimbi 

Please, kindly let me know if you can be of assistance as I’m seriously in need of your help. Thanks and waiting to hear from you 

Regards Karitas Karisimbi.  

 

Most of you can see instantly that that this is nothing but a load of Nigerian 419  scamsterism. It makes no sense. First of all, anybody who knows me well enough to borrow money from me knows me well enough to realise that I have never even been in the same philosophical region as $1,850 ever, and so, if they were stuck in Nigeria, they would ask me to send prayers to God, not send money to Western Union. 

 

has got money. And your ticket out of Abuja
$teve Jean: has got money. And your ticket out of Abuja

At the very least, they would ask me to call Steve Jean for them. Steve is rich. Steve knows what $1,850 looks like. He probably has $1,850 in his sock right now. 

Things that fell out of Steve Jean's sock
Things that fell out of Steve Jean's sock

 

 

For those of you not acquainted with 419, it is the legal code in Nigeria for emails that lie to people and con cash out of them. Usually the scammers claim to be Foday Sankoh’s nephew and want to give you 45 million dollars in exchange for your bank account number, but this scam is different. They hack into your email address, then send messages out to everyone in your address book, claiming to be you, trapped in hellish, perfidious, treacherous Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt or Kamwokya and in dire need of fast cash to purchase an escape.

It is people like these that give Nigerians a bad name. People like these and Bayo.

 

Big Brother's Bayo Okoh is a Nigerian stereotype. Probably the one sending these emails
Big Brother's Bayo is a Nigerian stereotype. He is probaby the one sending these emails

 

Have you, my dear readers, ever met a Nigerian? One thing about them is that they hate the generalisation (and I do realise that I just generalised). The idea that Nigerians are thieves must be as offensive as, well, being instantly associated with Idi Amin once you identify yourself as a Ugandan.

So, with this in mind, I responded to the email.

From: Ernest Bazanye <EBazanye@newvision.co.ug> 

Subject: Re: Urgent Response Needed 

Date: Tuesday, 14 October, 2008, 12:20 PM 

 

Oh my gosh. Karitas, my sister! You are stuck in Nigeria! That is terrible! 

I hear that Nigerians are merciless thieves and that the place is very insecure. I don’t even know what made you go there, to a country of criminals. Nigerians are nothing but crooks. No wonder they stole all your belongings. 

I hope you are okay. Sit tight and don’t worry. I am going to call Amos Nzeyi and I will have that money ready in a few hours. You know he owes me cash, anyway. In the meantime, don’t trust anybody you meet there. Let me get on right now. 

Uncle Ernest

 

And because blog posts are never ever ever supposed to go above 1000 words, I’ll take a commercial break now. Oh, yes, he replied…