By Tunde Asaju
I just read that the UAE has released Raymond Abbas Igbalodey (too many names) to the Americans. I laugh because Dubai, our new London, is fast becoming the Achilles heels of the Nigerian political ruining class and their fraudulent comprador-bourgeoisie come-raids.
For years, the Western hemisphere was the hiding place of the wantonly affluent Nigerian yuppie. They stole us blind, then picked a ticket to London, Potomac and all the lazy islands where bank rules are less strict including Switzerland . For years the leaders of those countries pretended not to know as they did with slavery, waiting to make the best of the slush funds before taking action.
One day, they all ‘woke’, changed their financial rules and regulations, tightened the noose and began to look for the evidence they already had.
That was how, when Nuhu Ribadu’s hot heels almost caught up with and could have embarrassed the emergent Nigerian political class; the fraudster Ibori jetted to Dubai where, obviously he had homes – like Dino Melaye, Tukur Buratai, Nasir el Rufai (it is alleged) and Atiku Abubakar. Ibori was happy living in Dubai, a country that founded oil the same year but has built itself into a formidable tourist destination and a financial hub of the middle east while ours remained a beggar nation. God bless the child that’s got its own!
Before Ibori could say Dubai, his golden chains had metamorphosed into steel handcuffs as he was being bundled into a cargo plane (na me add that one) en-route London. In London where he is a serial convict hoping to wipe clean his slate of convictions, Ibori would reap several years in real prison and forfeiture of his priced assets bought with proceeds of greed. Ibori is back in Naija enjoying the loot he left here.
Now Husspuppi is on his way to America to answer for the crimes he committed against that country’s social security system. He’ll be joining other infamous pranksters who give the rest of us a bad name.
Yesterday, our sister in sense and logic, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju made a post about how many of us have bought ‘houses in the abroad’ and many at home. For those earning legitimate money, I have no problem with what they do with their money or how they invest. The trouble is there are very few Nigerian humans earning true money.
Today, the road to turning London, New York and the Swiss Alps into vaults for hiding loot is closing in. UAE’s leaders are very wise and wily, like their western counterparts. They have opened their economy to us greedy lots; because come to think of it, very few earn good money from doing legitimate things in ‘the abroad’ then invests it in Dubai. Nigerian millionaires of dubious character do get attracted by the bling of today.
Take note that I predict that someday soon, all that you have siphoned and hidden in Dubai would be taken from you. You will be asked to justify those assets from your legitimate earnings and to produce the documents by which you moved them in.
Trust me, I live ‘in the abroad’ albeit against my deepest will and I know how hard it is to maintain an account when you are a visitor. They want proof of legitimate earning and taxes paid on them. They’ll call you a million times. They’ll ask for receipts and proof of earning. They’ll make you feel that while your money is good for their economy, you’re not really wanted except you have brains and something they could exploit. That’s it.
That day is coming, when the coal tar of Dubai’s highways and the cement coating of their malls would scorch the sandals and designer shoes of all wealthy Nigerians who now hide their wealth there or call it home. You have a good reputation as ‘wanted guests’ now, but on that day, you will seek and not find anywhere to hide. That day is coming, when your Naija or ECOWAS passport would become a snare to you.
That day is near, when even with your hard-earned or stolen wealth, you will be ejected from the malls of Dubai and their glitzy hotels and a hitherto welcoming airport. We did it in London, elsewhere in Europe, the Americas and around the world – from wanted guests to loathed villains.
When that day comes, where are you gonna run to – brotha! Meanwhile, I say to Husspuppi and his friends waiting to join him, have a safe flight and enjoy your training in America’s notorious jails. Some of your mentees openly say they prefer those jails to living in the best part of Nigeria, so please don’t forget to write a memoir for them – something to make them want to go quickly.
I foresee many other famously infamous Nigerians making this journey – first for tourism and relaxation and then ending up in someone else’s jail like an animal in a zoo.
Mo ti fo tem. I have said my own. Mo wi temi na. Na fada nawa.