Credulous fools at the BBC

There is an excellent three-part BBC documentary out there called Welcome to Lagos (it’s on YouTube and Vimeo) covering life in the Nigerian commercial capital. The series focuses on a number of individuals, one of whom was a guy who lived on an enormous  municipal rubbish dump and earned cash selling whatever he could find in the mountain of discarded waste. He was young, energetic, and had an abundance of charisma (which is presumably why the producers selected him) and aspired to be a singer/rap star in Lagos’ highly informal music scene. We saw him get cleaned up, dressed up, and get photos for his album cover done, and a fair amount of his singing. Near the end of the series the audience was looking forward to a satisfying conclusion to this rags to (relative) riches story.

Instead, the guy got in a fight off camera which resulted in the other person losing an eye. Whoops. What became clear to anyone who knew Lagos was that far from being a charming young man with big dreams down on his luck, this chap they’d chosen to profile was a vicious thug. Nigerians are particularly good at turning on the charm and this talent extends to criminals as well; he’d obviously fooled the BBC and by the time they realised who they were dealing with it was too late. The series concluded with the man exiled from the rubbish dump, effectively losing his home, in a compromise negotiated with the one-eyed man’s relatives. The alternatives were to lose an eye of his own or be killed. I could imagine the BBC people looking on with horror as this unfolded, finally realising what sort of people live on a Nigerian rubbish dump.

I was reminded of this when I read this BBC article:

More than 3,000 Nigerian migrants who failed to reach Europe, have been flown home by the International Organization for Migration. Many sold everything to make the trip and aren’t sure how to face their families, writes Colin Freeman.

Evans William tells me he sold everything but the kitchen sink to fund his dream of getting to Europe. And I mean everything – his bed, his fridge, his TV, his spare clothes and his mobile phone.

Now this may be true, but I wonder how many Nigerians would advise the BBC to take this man’s story at face value.

After borrowing yet more cash, he finally had enough to pay a smuggling gang to take him from Nigeria across the Sahara to Libya.

So he’s an economic migrant, not a refugee or asylum seeker.

In all, it cost him £750 ($1,000), but he wasn’t worried. Once in Europe, he figured, he could quickly earn enough to pay off his creditors, and eventually return home to start a business of his own.

What was he going to do after illegally entering Europe that would “quickly” earn him $1,000? The BBC didn’t bother to ask, of course. I suspect any Nigerian reading this would consider this chap to be bad news and not the sort they’d want moving in next door, but here’s the BBC lending him a sympathetic ear.

When I met Evans last month, he’d just returned home to Benin City in southern Nigeria, where he was among hundreds of migrants staying in a government-requisitioned hotel.

They’d been flown back by the International Organization for Migration, a UN body that helps illegal migrants who want to return home.

As well as a free plane ticket, they get a few nights’ hotel accommodation, and £200 in pocket money while they find their feet. They’re also offered job training, to give them a better chance of a livelihood.

This is a bit of a slap in the face to those millions of Nigerians who don’t try to enter Europe illegally to make a quick $1,000 committing crimes, and instead work their arses off at home trying to improve their lives legally.

The scheme is partly bankrolled by a £3bn fund set up by the European Union in 2015, the year the migrant crisis dominated the news.

Were the taxpayers informed this money would be used to bankroll fit, healthy, men looking for opportunities to graft, or were they assured it was for desperate families fleeing war and persecution?

Most, like Evans, are virtually destitute. And while they appreciate the offers of job training, it’s fairly basic stuff, like hairdressing or tailoring, or learning how to farm. For those who dreamed of making it in Europe, that’s a bit of a comedown.

I wonder how much sympathy the average Nigerian has for their countrymen who, having failed to realise their dream of working a life of crime in Europe, now have to come back home to receive training in doing something useful?

What also hurts, though, is the feeling that they’ll be seen as failures by their peers and relatives.

What sort of peers does the BBC think these men have?

Many could only make the trip because mum and dad sold off the family silver. Nobody wants to come back penniless, and admit that they blew what’s seen – rightly or wrongly – as the chance of a lifetime.

Ah yes, the deep sense of shame and familial pride which is so strong among Nigeria’s criminal fraternity.

Gloomier still was Abibu, a tough-looking young man who was on the same flight home as Evans. He had a fresh-looking scar on his face, and a scowl that deepened as he talked.

Ah, here we go. A fresh scar on his face, eh? From what? Did the BBC ask how he got it?

His mother, he said, had sold her only plot of land to fund his trip to Europe. He hadn’t even told her he was back.

He sounds lovely. Hands up all those who really thinks his mother willingly sold her “only plot of land” to fund Abibu’s trip?

“If my mum sees me she’ll get sick with worry,” he said.

An odd phrase, it must be said.

“And all the neighbours, saying, ‘This guy’s mum sold her land so he could go to Europe – and then he failed!’ If I hear anyone saying that, I tell you, I’ll kill them.”

Shame, he sounds like he’d have made such a contribution to European life.

Which of the training opportunities did Abibu fancy? Hairdresser? Farmer? He seemed to have other work in mind. “I’ll look at the offers,” he admitted grudgingly. “But I’m worried I’ll end up committing crime to get the money back.”

Really? What sort of crime?

“Robbery, probably.”

A real shame.

He sounded like he meant it, and I found myself wondering just what Abibu had done to get that scar on his face.

I assume you didn’t ask because the answer would have ruined the sob-story.

What we have here is the BBC interviewing people who are in all likelihood dangerous, violent criminals but presenting them as ordinary Nigerians deserving of our sympathy. This would be the equivalent of Nigerian journalists writing puff-pieces on English  football hooligans arrested in Russia this summer, or members of drug gangs which plague sink estates in Britain. Could they not have found any Nigerians a bit more deserving of their attention?

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15 thoughts on “Credulous fools at the BBC

  1. I know it’s just a turn of phrase, but I think perhaps it’s a revealing one: Many could only make the trip because mum and dad sold off the family silver.

    Apparently Africans are totally poverty-stricken and in possession of “family silver”.

  2. So why does someone not scream “why the fuck do we not just keep this hospital open and ditch the foreign aid?” is that not far more beneficial to the local taxpayers.

    Especially since it’s been well proven that systemic aid (including welfare in the west) destroys entrepreneurship, increases corruption, kills accountability and encourages laziness and reckless consumption.

    Because the dark forces that run these things know that the folk that are employed by these huge schemes don’t want to fix the problem they want to maintain their jobs, continue the operation and their lifestyles rather than fixing it and going and finding a real job.

  3. The present situation in London seems to be that already very nasty West Indian origin criminals –Yardies and more–are having to up their game because of even-nastier African trash now being imported by the British state.

    The only gainful employment for such imports would be to have them torture to death British political and bureaucratic scum in exchange for a quick death of their own.

  4. “Nigerians are particularly good at turning on the charm and this talent extends to criminals as well…”

    An interesting little story from the 1990s. I parked my elderly Nissan in South London, and returned to find a little note under the windscreen offering cash for it. I was looking to get shot of it, so rang the number. Conversation with a Nigerian guy with a strong accent who before long was offering £250 for it. I thought I could get a little more, so asked for £300. He came round to my flat and had a look at it, and we had a very entertaining few minutes of third-world style bargaining over tiny amounts. I sent him away, and he returned twice more, offering tiny increments as the price edged up over £275. At one point he literally got on his knees in the gutter and begged me. (“Why you take the bread from my mouth?! Why? Why you want me to die?! Why?! WHY?!”) He wept, and said his family in Lagos were starving, and I was the cause.

    When I tired of this, and thought his offer was good enough (£278.50, or somesuch) I accepted and we shook on it.

    Instantly, he became another person. In faultless R.P., he thanked me in a kindly businesslike manner. He explained that he had a Masters in Business Studies from a London Uni, and that this was one of his enterprises – shipping knackered old Japanese cars to Lagos where his family spruced them up and sold them on. His dirty rucksack contained a shiny briefcase in which he stowed the paperwork. We parted amicably, and I noticed that his cringeing shuffle had turned into a rapid purposeful stride.

  5. The only gainful employment for such imports would be to have them torture to death British political and bureaucratic scum in exchange for a quick death of their own.

    What a great idea.

    Oh wait that’ll never happen. 🙁

  6. I doubt that even crime pays very well in poor countries. So it is likely that there is family (+ extended family) financing the trip. For them it’s an investment; remittances, even family reunion they hope.

    Another aspect could be a way to get rid of the black sheep (habitual crime, guys on the run, psychopaths, etc.) by booking them a dodgy trip to the Sahara.

  7. Could they not have found any Nigerians a bit more deserving of their attention?

    These are the people the BBC and the rest of the Left want in Britain.

    Ever heard of a revolution in a settled, homogeneous high-trust society? No, me neither.

  8. Sam Vara

    “In faultless R.P”.

    That.

    When I was training for the Bar, all those with an accent like an Edwardian courtier were Nigerian or Ugandan – even upper class Brits could not have pulled off their accent and survived the ridicule.

  9. When I worked for a bank in Johannesburg (early 90s) who had recently expanded their African operations to 8 other African countries, one of which was Nigeria. This was done by the acquisition of a UK bank’s African operations.

    We had a couple of chaps from Zimbabwe and a Nigerian who was called Sebastian. Sebastian had a degree from Oxford, wore a flat cap and tweed jackets and smoked a meerschaum pipe. He was more English than me. I had the task of collecting these guys from their hotel in the morning and giving them a lift to the head office. One morning, while stopped at a traffic light, we were approached by a beggar (black fella, obvs.) holding a sign – No food, no money, no job. Please give R1.

    Sebastian wound down the window and called the beggar over. Not to give him money, but to yell at him “Get a job you lazy bastard” in an accent the Queen would be proud of. I and the 2 Zimbabwean lads were mortified.

  10. I think one of the biggest frustrations I have about all of this is the gross lack of intellectual honesty that occurs with the Left regarding immigration. It seems that if anyone is suffering any kind of hardship, it would be cruel not to let them come to our countries. However, there are literally billions of people like this. It is simply not scalable to let everyone in. Objectively, there must be limits. However, they offer nothing but endless whining about the suffering masses and that we are somehow morally obligated to end all suffering.

  11. For the first time in years yesterday I received a Nigerian-type scam email. There were marked differences from the old days though.
    It was brief and avoided inflated claims. It was intended to pique the curiosity rather than appeal to outright greed as it was a “hearing something to your advantage” type tease..
    It was in plausibly acceptable English, especially given that English might not be the first language of the purported sender. But it was the supposed sender which was unusual – a female high-ranking bank employee in Israel. I don’t know if the intended targets are mainly Jewish (certainly my name and email address would accurately suggest that I’m not Jewish) but the comparatively increased sophistication overall would lead me to think that some thought had gone into the choice of Israel.
    The usual sloppiness couldn’t be entirely avoided as hovering over the return email address indicated that it came from a spoofed address in Uraguay (that famed hangout of Israelis).

    Anyway, one to warn any gullible relatives about as it was far less obviously an insultingly childish scam than in the good old days.

  12. if you have a spare 5 minutes or so, try reading Lions, Gold and Confusion. The guy that carried out the spoofing of the hoaxer makes a hobby (and presumably, some cash) out of this:

    http://www.bobservant.com/resources/Lions$2C+Gold+and+Confusion+SAMPLERpdf.pdf

    I would NOT recommend that you try this as some of the characters conducting the scams are severely lacking in a sense of humour and are not lacking in the means and motivation to do something about it.

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