"There is no country that does not have prostitutes and
criminals but definitely most countries don't have cannibals, and we
don't have cannibals in this country. We don't eat human flesh, it is
definitely unacceptable," she said.
That's good to know and I'm sure the Nigerian tourism industry will jump at the news.
The controversy comes as Africa's most populous nation
seeks to shrug off its image as an epicenter of corruption, epitomised
by "419" email fraudsters named after the article in Nigeria's penal
code that deals with advance fee fraud.
A better way to shrug of this image is to actually stop trying defraud people. I recall one scam where I actually replied and was invited to visit. Heaven knows what would have happened to me, at least I know now that I wouldn't have been eaten.
For example this web site claims:
The Nigerian Scam is, according to published reports, the Third to Fifth largest
industry in Nigeria. It is the 419 Coalition view that the elites from
which the governing classes of Nigeria are drawn contain 419 Scammers
which can make it difficult for victims seeking recourse in these matters.
Sony had to edit an advert for its PlayStation 3 gaming
console in which a customer asks the price, and was originally told:
"You can't believe everything you read on the internet, otherwise I'd
be a Nigerian millionaire by now."
That's just a sign that it is part of the culture. Take a look at the ad here.
This funny article interviews some of the scammers, responding to the financial crisis by scamming harder than ever.
"We are working harder. The financial crisis is not making it easy for
them over there," said Banjo, 24, speaking about Americans, whose trust
he has won and whose money he has fleeced, via his Dell laptop. "They
don't have money. And the money they don't have, we want."
Banjo is a polite young man in a button-down shirt, and he is the
sort of guy on the other end of that block-lettered missive requesting
your "URGENT ASSISTANCE" in transferring millions of dollars. He is the
sort who made Nigeria infamous for cyberscams, which experts say are
increasing in these tough times.
One of the many sports available on the Internet is baiting scammers. If you want to try, you can get some tips here.
Still it seems that Nigeria may in fact be trying to do something about it. There is a fraud and corruption division of the Ministry of Finance, which is telling in itself (does fraud really finance the government?). One ex-pat says that the stock market is a fraud.
In March, the government launched a rebranding campaign with the slogan: "Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation."
Good luck with that.