Recently, an old man walked into the popular Mama Sadiatu, a roadside restaurant not far from the entrance to the estate where my neighbour lives. With his face mask neatly placed on his face, he walked gingerly to the far corner of the shop, in observance of social distancing from other customers, and sat down.
Before long he had picked enough details about the subject that had passionately engaged the attention of the two customers who sat on the bench directly behind Mama Sadiatu’s serving point, with their plates of rice and stew in front of them, barely touched. One customer said the man is from Miami, while the other said the colour of the Lamborghini was blue. One customer said he bought other things apart from the Lamborghini, including luxury jewelry and expensive clothes, the other said he spent lavishly on some dating websites.
One said the man obtained the money for the purchase under false pretense, while the other said he should call it by its real name, 419. The other customer insisted it was not 419 because it was not so called in the statutes in Florida. And they could not proceed beyond that point, each man insisting his position was right. Soon their voices began to rise, the texture carrying a worrisome feel, and the gesticulations becoming more animated. It was not heading anywhere good, the old man reasoned. He looked around him. Mama Sadiatu appeared worried but said nothing. Yet in her eyes were boldly written, “Please old man, if you can do anything, help me.” He thought he had got his cue, so he asked the gentlemen: “Which is easier, to say a Florida man took Covid-19 aid to buy a Lamborghini or say some Nigerian officials took NEDC, NDDC, NNPC, EFCC, NSITF resources to do likewise?”
The reaction was instant. It was Bullseye! The tension inside the restaurant came crashing down as a puzzled look took over the faces of the two customers. The look on Mama Sadiatu’s face was one of instant relief. The old man was not done:
“But that you may know that the capacity to deceive others and obtain by false pretense, regardless of the coloration, lies within every man. In some it is dormant, in others it is active. Yet because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of some men in Nigeria, is fully set in them to do evil.”