by Toluwanimi Onakoya
Microblogging platform, Twitter has been abuzz with talks on “Yahoo Boys” following the news of the arrest of well known Nigerian socialite, Hushpuppi for fraudulent practices. Nigerians have been quick to drop opinions on the matter, weighing in on perspectives on the issue.
“Yahoo boys” also known as “419” are synonymous with fraudsters or scammers. They are known for constantly committing fraud and swindling people of their money through various means on the internet. The likes of ‘Yahoo boys’ are excessively prevalent in Nigeria, they are also known to constantly flaunt wealth.
A lot of times, these Yahoo boys use catfishing to gain access to other people’s wealth. A lot of them pose on popular dating websites as someone else and eventually get people to fall in love with them. Subsequently, they get their ‘love victims’ to begin paying their bills. Most times, these victims live abroad and send in dollars upon request. There are also those that dabble into ATM fraud and banking fraud while some advertise fake lands and apartments, only to collect the money and disappear.
The issue of “Yahoo Boys” is one that is constantly debated on social media and sometimes glorified. It was not different this time as Nigerians delved into conversations about the morality of Yahoo boys, what they deserve, and who counts as one.
Some were very quick to shame the practice, calling them a menace to society, adding that the harm they cause to their victims is irredeemable:
Yahoo boys deserve jail. People have lost their life savings, people have lost their investments, marraige have been destroyed, futures have been ruined, people have developed mental health problems. Yahoo is a menace and their should be no letting up until they are all in jail.
— Olóyè. (@oloye__) June 10, 2020
Know someone that got duped over a decade ago, he got Stroke & is Paralyzed till this Day. The Nigerian way of painting Yahoo Boys as Grass to Grace stories, street hustle & Outsmarting Wealthy People has to Fuck off.
It's easy to pity Yahoo boys till you get Defrauded
— King Nonny ? (@Zaddy_nomso) June 10, 2020
A group of persons commented on the similarity between Yahoo boys and some corrupt Nigerian politicians, declaring that the condemnation of Yahoo boys should also include condemnation for such politicians:
Illegitimate source of wealth will always come back to haunt you and I just want you to know that if you support any corrupt politician and you are here castigating Hushpuppi and Yahoo boys, you are the biggest hypocrite.
— Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) June 10, 2020
Yahoo boys ruin individuals
Corrupt Politicians & contractors ruin nations
Both should be prosecuted.
However, if you're so loud when criticising people like Invictus Obi, Hushpuppi, but silent on Kalu, Tinubu, Saraki.
You don't hate fraud, you're just picking on easy targets.
— Biya Tifẹ ? (@Biyatife) June 10, 2020
There were those that pointed fingers at supposed friends and girlfriends of yahoo boys, saying they had no right to condemn those caught since they were dating criminals as well:
Your bf Na yahoo boy but you de twitter de abuse and drag Hushpuppi…
— Engineer Tolu Tezzy_ ? (@tolutezzy_) June 10, 2020
If your friend(s) is into Yahoo and you have never warned him to stop rather you go to club and ball with them but come here to say "naim good for Hushpuppi, everyday for the thief one day for the owner", I want you to know you are hypocrite and a ?
— Your Guardian Angel? (@AskMeWhatIWant) June 10, 2020
Some had opined that “Yahoo Boys” and prostitutes are in a similar kind of work but many were quick to rise in defence of sex workers, as they rejected the premise:
Lol apparently I have to be a sex worker in order to tell people that sex work and yahoo aren’t the same thing. Oya I’m a sex worker, na kuku all of you dey call ashawo. Come and beat me
— ebele. (@ebelee_) June 10, 2020
the fact that social studies grouped "yahoo" and "prostitution" as equivalent social vices is very wild to me
— baby (@benxta_) June 10, 2020
The topic of “Yahoo Boys” continues to be a never-ending debate on the streets of Nigerian Twitter
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks