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Taming youths’ crave for illicit wealth

By Kemi Olatunde

We live in the digital age, where social media makes it very easy to show off wealth, either real or fake, whether wealth is made through legal or illegal means. Every day on social media, going through different feeds, we see posts from different users, most of them showing off, especially youths and this has adverse effects on not only the people but the society at large.

A lot of people are of the mentality that money brings freedom; the more money one makes, the more freedom one gets, in most cases. It is a nice feeling to experience freedom and by extension have money to care for our needs but people fail to pay the price to get money. The wealthy ones of this world have all paid the price but it is so saddening to see people go the extra mile to acquire wealth at all costs irrespective of the consequences of their acts.

According to Investopedia the list of the richest men in the world, and their ages is below; Jeff Bezos — 57, Elon Musk — 49, Bernard Arnault — 72, Bill Gates — 65, Mark Zuckerberg — 36, Warren Buffett — 90, Larry Ellison — 76, Larry Page — 48, Sergey Brin — 47, and Mukesh Ambani — 63.

From the list above we can see that none of them acquired their wealth in less than 10 years. So, why then are youths always in a hurry to make money? Why do they  want to make all the money in the world in just one year?

A middle-aged man who simply gave his name as Dele working in a popular complex that deals in sales of phone accessories and technology gadgets in Akure told The Hope that it is not unusual to see mothers visit the complex with their male children to get gadgets to make quick money.

His words; “Almost daily, mothers visit our complex to get phones or laptops for their sons to  be used for  yahoo yahoo business. There was a particular woman who came with her son to get a phone. The woman approached me and asked if I had a big phone that could enable her son to scam foreigners. When I gave her an expensive phone, the son didn’t have enough money to purchase it and the mother completed it for him. I was shocked because I didn’t expect that she could have that kind of money. Jokingly I asked her where she got it and she said she collected thrift for such purpose so that her son could  be rich and be able to care for her.”

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It is not out of place to describe peer pressure as one of the reasons  Nigerian youths are in a hurry to make quick cash. How does one explain the materialistic nature of ladies these days? Ladies no longer date guys who cannot buy them the latest phone even when their parents cannot afford an ordinary phone.

Recently, a neighbour’s sister-in-law visited her, and immediately after she saw her phone, she fell in love with the phone. She made all efforts to ensure that she acquire  such a phone which she eventually did. When asked how she got it, she said her mother bought it for her. The reason the mother gave her was that she could not stomach her daughter being deceived by a guy due to a phone.

Greed is another factor. Those who are never contented with what they have will always go the extra mile to be like others. When their friends have something bigger than theirs, most times, they don’t care where the so-called friend gets the money in question, they just want to have that experience. Peer pressure is one of the reasons the rate of cyber-fraud (yahoo yahoo) in Nigeria, keeps increasing day by day. Many  youths don’t care how they get the papers, illegal or not, they just want to have the money as fast as possible because of peer pressure. They just want to feel among themselves, they are in a hurry to live life. Peer pressure is by far the top reason a lot of Nigerian youths are in a hurry to make quick cash.

“Although, there are no statistics to prove this. Most youths are materialistic. To some extent, peer pressure has an impact on youths being materialistic. Females are mostly being called out for being materialistic, but the truth is that both genders are materialistic. The more material things you want, the more money you need, therefore the   desperation. The sole purpose a lot of youths want to be wealthy is to buy material things, so they can show off or brag.

There are menial jobs around begging for people’s attention but they cannot pick them up. Agriculture is one of the areas one can enrich oneself but it is a no-go area for youth who cannot soil their hands with dirt. They don’t need money from agriculture but free money without hard work.

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Yahoo Yahoo is no longer popular, what we now hear are  ritual killings with their victims mostly young and promising girls. These girls wouldn’t have become victims if they had been contented but the quest to make quick money will not prevent them from being used as they(victims) are after money.

There is also the parent factor. Not long ago, In the Shagari area of Akure, there was a scene where two women got involved in a fight because one advised the other against her son’s lavish spending. The son as gathered was in SS2 in a government school. The son’s mother in defense said that the adviser was only jealous of the fact that her son was involved in Yahoo while her children were still struggling with their academics. Some Parents encourage illicit wealth too by wrongly advising their children against making wealth legitimately.

Commenting on the issue, a legal practitioner, Kehinde Adeleye who described wealth as the abundance of valuable possessions or money stated that it is the wish of everyone to acquire wealth “especially when much attention and recognition is accorded such person.”

Speaking extensively, he said; “There are various ways through which people acquire wealth; legal or illicit means. It is worrisome these days the rate at which illicit wealth is. This is often a result of unexplained wealth, money laundering, stolen assets, and illegitimate wealth. Greed is one of the  reasons for the ugly trend.

“People at various levels acquire wealth for their unborn generation without any impediment. Shamefully, they receive much respect and recognition from the public for their ill-gotten wealth. This is common in this part of the world. We once witnessed how an ex-convict was welcomed back to his village with a lot of fun fare.

“The recent high-profile cases of corruption and acquisition of wealth by illegal means in Nigeria are worrisome.

    “Government and the general public can put in place various measures aimed at ending the menace which has become rampant globally. It is high time the government started sensitizing the public especially those at the helm of affairs on the consequences inherent in the acquisition of illicit wealth.

This no doubt will send a strong signal to individuals with such intention. There must be  advocacy . Awareness and sensitization will go a long way in discouraging people from it.

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“There is also an urgent need to introduce into school curriculum at all levels the negative effects of acquiring wealth illegally. Students should be taught the importance of dignity and self-esteem.

“Government should be up to its responsibility by ensuring that people who are alleged to have acquired wealth through illegal means are arrested and prosecuted. This no doubt will serve as a deterrent to others with similar intentions.

“Taming craving for illicit wealth may not be an easy task, but with collective efforts of all and sundry, corruption will be put at bay. People should endeavor to stop giving too much recognition to those who acquire illicit wealth and also awaken their consciousness on the punishment that awaits anyone caught.

“If the government do the needful, there will be sanity and the menace will drastically reduce to the barest minimum.”

According to an educationist, Mrs Yetunde Fagbemi, “money is good and God gives the power to get wealth according to Deuteronomy 8:18. Riches can be durable and transgenerational if gotten from the right source (Proverbs 8:18). Riches could also be transient depending on how it was gotten. (Proverbs 23:5, Jeremiah 17:11).  Illicit means unlawful and illegal. It also means activities that are not considered morally acceptable. To tame the quest for illicit wealth is to bring the desire to acquire money illegally under control.

A parent, Mrs Adesola Adebiyi stressed the need for parents to instill good moral values in their children, noting that it is a good way to put the menace under control.

She said; “everyone has a role to play in this especially parents. They should train their children properly, I mean the right way. We should not neglect our culture while bringing our children up. Whatever one works for lasts long. It is shameful to know that parents are encouraging their children, especially the youths to go the extra mile to be rich. In my area, mothers of Yahoo boys have their association, this is heartbreaking! Religious organizations should not look away when they see such  in their gatherings. They should ask questions and not make them donate to the organization with their ill-gotten money. Government must find a way of engaging the youths through gainful  employment.”

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Taming youths’ crave for illicit wealth

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