Nigerian author presents human side to email scam,14 April 2010


Nigerian author presents human side to email scam
Wed, Apr 14 10:37 AM

Wasfia Jalali New Delhi, Apr 14 (PTI) Her debut novel relates the stories of people who took the notorious but lucrative email scam route to riches in Nigeria, and author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani says her work was an attempt to present the human side of the story that may have left many a people bankrupt. Adaobi”s novel ”I Do Not Come To You by Chance” is an insider”s account into Nigeria”s ”419 frauds”, as they are called, and was adjudged the regional winner for Africa for the Commonwealth Writers” Prize this year.

In the capital recently for the final ceremony of the Commonwealth Prize, which she lost to Australian Glenda Guest, Nwaubani hopes her success helps by example, the many Nigerian writers who have failed to get the deserved recognition as they do not have the backing of any major publishers. “The book is about the struggles for survival that led many people in Nigeria take up the email scam route, and how the riches, no matter ill-gotten, changed their lives and the society,” she said.

Emails announcing a mammoth lucky prize or a fortune bequeathed by someone unknown or for that matter help required by an orphan, have tricked many into losing money. They are what has come to be known internationally as the 419 fraud that originated in Nigeria in the 1980s, taking its name from a section of Nigerian law that deals with cybercrime.

“I have tried to relate how the email scams changed our society, how girls who would have been prostitutes because their brothers could not get jobs, could actually go to University,” she told PTI in an interview. “I don”t say it is a positive side of the scam or that it was in any way the right thing to do, I have only tried to relate how that money, tricked out by illegitimate ways, many a time from Westerners, brought riches and development to the poor people of Africa,” said the 33-year old writer.

In her own words, she is one of the very few Nigerian authors who have made it big on the international scene, without moving out of the country, Adaobi now hopes her success gives the much-needed stimulus to other talented writers in her country. Most of the Nigerians who have received international recognition in the field of writing are based outside the country, mostly in the West.

And her success in many ways has broken a barrier, she says. In Nigeria, Adaobi says, most of the writers self publish their works, in the absence of access to international publishing houses who can package and market their works well.