I am certain I am not the only person who has noticed the ever-present, elaborate defacing of buildings with bold lettering announcing, “THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE”, and the almost always present caveat, “Beware of 419”. In a city like Lagos, it is now like a design pattern on houses. Hardly any street, even in the highbrow areas, is free from it. When they are not engraved on the walls of the building, the words are conspicuously placed on signboards around it.
The word 419 gained popularity at the start of the millennium as a result of its modus operandi which typically involves using false pretense to lay claim to a property and inducing another person to pay for it and ‘disappearing’ into thin air with the funds.
The ‘foreign’ version of 419 called Yahoo or Advance Fee Fraud involves promising a victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum. If the victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.
The trend died down a bit after various bodies in the USA began a sensitization program to inform the locals of such frauds with a specific page titled “Nigerian Letter or ‘419’ Fraud” on Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website.
That wasn’t the end of it all. Desperation and greed has apparently brought back the trend often called Ghana Burger or Yahoo Plus where mostly men of a young age engage in ‘improved’ 419 with ‘spiritual’ help (whatever that means).
Why would a young vibrant boy use his skills to defraud people?
Why would a smart articulate person use his knowledge and expertise in manipulating people out of their hard earned money?
What would make a graduate graduate into fraud for a living?
Simple answer: Fear.
These boys are afraid of trusting God for their livelihood.
These men are afraid of focusing their talent on legal sources of income.
These people are terrified of waiting on God to bless them in His time.
These boys are frightened of poverty and clinge to the wrong notion of hope.
They are fearful of the future and determined to make it through hook or crook.
This fear paralyses their consceince, justifies crime, energies evil tendencies and turns them into “monsters”.
What causes this fear?
Simple Answer: Lack of the Word of God.
Searching the Bible, as hilarious as God could be, I realized that 419 and it’s modus operandi was written in the scriptures. Psalms 41:9 (419) reads, “Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me” (NLT). Funny but true.
But also in the Bible is the cure for 419 and proves that God Himself is a ‘419’ God. Let’s delve into Philippians 4:19 (419) which reads, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
If we were to have an improvement on 419, that would definitely be 4110. Now take a look at Isaiah 41:10 which reads, “So fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous.”
Damn. God is good.
Why worry when God has promised to supply all your heart desires?
Why engage in 419 when all you trying to steal from another man could you be yours and more if you simply focus on God not the money?
Why betray people’s trust by absconding with their money when you can trust in God and in the promise of His blessings?
In the words of Elizabeth Elliot,
“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.”
Don’t be in a hurry…….
First paragraph was taken from Daily Times Newspaper Article titled “House Not For Sale”
Main picture was lifted from “The Anatomy of a Sakawa Scam” by Tripwire.com
Other pictures are from Google.com