he Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), on Thursday, August 22, 2019, announced the indictment of 80 Nigerians alleged to have masterminded mail and bank fraud to the tune of $70 million since 2015 in the United States. While the act allegedly committed by the young Nigerians abroad continues to receive massive condemnation, it still doesn’t undermine the so many ground-breaking feats achieved by Nigerians both in the United States and other parts of the world. MEDIA MASTERS presents the award-winning feats achieved by Nigerians in Diaspora, explaining why the citizens of the most populous black nation in the world remain high-flyers everywhere they go.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, gave the world a shocker recently. After a strategic raid on several houses in Los Angeles, the FBI announced the indictment of 80 Nigerians. The men were said to have engaged in massive mail and bank fraud activities which targeted many business owners and citizens in the U.S leading to the loss of about $70 million.
The FBI released the names of the alleged fraudsters and it gained huge traction in the social media as many Nigerians and other citizens of the world rained curses and floods of negative comments on the young men identified as Nigerians for further soiling Nigeria’s image and bringing shame on her citizens. It is, however, really unfortunate for Nigeria to have been indicted in the mess as the same country has produced some of the world’s most renowned trailblazers in diverse fields both in the United States and the rest part of the world.
Statistics of Countries mostly involved in Cyber Crime
The disgraceful acts of the ’80 Nigerians’ seems to have labelled the country a haven of fraudsters and criminals on the global scene but the truth is that cyber crime is not the exclusive preserve of Nigerians. Indeed, a research carried out by Symantec, an American software company showed that the United States occupy the number one spot among the top 20 countries of the world that have faced or caused most cases of cyber crimes. According to Symantec, the United States takes 23% in terms of malicious share of computer activity. It is followed by China (19%), Germany (6%), Britain (5%), Brazil (4%) and Spain (4%) among others. In fact, Nigeria was not even among the top 20 nations.
However, while the ignoble acts of the 80 Nigerians is a huge source of embarrassment, there are indeed many more Nigerians that are a huge source of pride and have made countless groundbreaking contributions across the globe. Below are some of the groundbreaking feats achieved by Nigerians.
- Nigerian-born Surgeon, Dr Oluyinka Olutoye unmatched feat at US National Children hospital.
Recently, a Nigerian-born US-based surgeon, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye was appointed by the National Children’s Hospital in the US as its Surgeon-in-Chief. It would be recalled that Dr. Olutoye, an alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, was part of the team that carried out surgery on a baby in-utero in a Texas hospital in 2016. According to the hospital’s statement, Dr. Olutoye, by his appointment, will lead one of the largest children’s hospital surgery departments in the world.
Not only will he be leading 11 surgical departments, Dr. Olutoye will also be responsible for the education of the next generation of leaders in children’s surgery. He will also be appointed professor and the E. Thomas Boles chair of pediatric surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Olutoye will serve as the primary surgical liaison between Nationwide Children’s and the OSU College of Medicine.
- Jessica O. Matthew, challenged by the need to create an alternative solution to recurring power outage in the country, invented a ball that generates electricity when it’s being played. The ball, called “Socket soccer ball “, can generate three hours of LED light after 30 minutes of play. She is partnering with an international NGO to provide light for some rural communities in Nigeria.
- Dr Samuel Achilefu, a Nigerian professor, two years ago, invented a set of high-tech infrared goggles which enables surgeons to see cancer cells. This, arguably, is breakthrough in medical science. Still in the world of science
- Olurotimi Badero remains the first and only combined Cardiologist and Nephrologist (heart and kidney specialist) in the world.
- Silas Adekunle is one of the bright Nigerian stars rewriting history globally in the world of technology. The genius built the world’s first gaming robot that became a worldwide sensation & made $7.5m and attracted N360m investment by London Ventures. Apple now sells the robotics for $300. This single feat makes Silas one of the top robotics engineers of the world, yet, he is just 26. By signing a deal with Apple Inc, Adekunle becomes the highest paid engineer in the field of robotics engineering.
- Sam and Steve Nico Williams, Nigerian-born Twins are the brains behind Populous (PPT), the world’s 51st largest crypto-currency out of around 2,000. The wins invented the online currency from their Mum’s council flat. Today, it is worth $129.4 million.
- Adebayo Alonge is from Ibadan in Oyo state, Nigeria. This Nigerian inventor created a scanner that can detect fake drugs in 20 seconds. In March 2019, he became the first African to win the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge prize of €100,000 after beating Tech startups from 119 countries.
- Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji is another innovative Nigerian in Diaspora. She is a social entrepreneur, Data intelligence expert in Edtech & Human Capital Development and the founder of Rise Networks. In June 2011, she was described by Michelle Obama, as one of her personal inspirations in a televised address to Americans.
- Ndubuisi Ekekwe is also another Nigerian making waves abroad. He is an inventor, engineer, author and entrepreneur and holds a US patent on a microchip used in minimally invasive surgical robots. He was part of the team that created XL sensor inside the iPhone and iPad. Classic!
- Basil Okpara Jr and his amazing tale trended massively on Twitter two weeks ago. The 9-year-old Nigerian, who was interviewed by CNN, was reputed to have built more than 30 mobile games with his laptop.
- The 46 Nigerians graduates from Howard University
Earlier in 2019, 46 Nigerians smashed global records at Howard University in Washington D.C. They were part of the 96 medical students that graduated from the school. Aside being part of the graduating students, some of these 46 Nigerians also bagged 16 awards out of the 27 awards given. Never before at Howard University or any University in the United States has this happened. The Nigerian students completely dominated the ceremony and made history.
- Tobechukwu “Tobi” Phillips, a Nigerian teenager made history recently at Alvin High School in Texas becoming the school’s first Black valedictorian 125 years after it was established in 1894. She made it to the top of her class with a 6.9 cumulative GPA.Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina (Right) exchanging pleasantries with President Donald Trump of United States at the G7 summit held recently.
- Adeshina, Dr. Okonjo Iweala and others
The world already knows the likes of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (an economist and international development expert who sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and immunization and the African Risk capacity), Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina (the President of the African Development Bank who was recently invited to the 2019 G7 summit by world leaders) and other famous Nigerians such as Wole Soyinka (the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature), Chimamanda Adichie (a multiple award-winning Nigerian novelist) and Nwakwo Kanu (a two-time African football of the year and one of the few players in the world to have won the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Cup, the Premier League and the Olympic gold medal).
- Tanitoluwa Adewumi is an 8-year old Nigerian refugee who lives with his family in New York City. He inspired the world and made Nigeria so proud when he won the New York State Chess Championship for his age bracket.
(Left-Right) Davido, Burna Boy, Wizkid and Omotola
The Nollywood Effect: In the world of Showbiz, Nigerians have solid foot-prints.
- Omotola Jolade Ekeinde and Genevieve Nnaji, both actresses, singers and philanthropists, have had remarkable achievements. Omotola has appeared in over 300 films, selling millions of video copies worldwide. In 2013, she was honoured in TIME’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. It would be recalled that Genevieve’s film ;Lion Heart’ in 2018 became the first African film to be acquired and streamed by Netflix.
- Hakeem Kae-Kazim is a Lagos-born veteran Hollywood actor. He is a native of Ogun State, Nigeria and has featured in several hit movies like Hotel Rwanda, X-Men Origins, Wolverine, Pirates of the Caribbean, 24 among others.
- Zuriel Oduwole is a 16-year-old famous Nigerian star in the showbiz world. As a teen giant, she has met with 30 Presidents in the world on global issues. She remains the youngest film maker in the world to have a self-produced and self-edited work screened.
- Wizkid, Davido & Burna Boy: Aside the film-making industry, Nigerians have also been making waves in the music industry. The trio of Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy by dint of hardwork have made huge contributions to the global music industry and this has earned them numerous awards and collaborations with foreign music stars such as P. Diddy, Kanye West, Drake Chris Brown and Beyonce among others. Wizkid, on his own, has bagged two BET awards, The Headies, two Channel ‘O’ Music Video Awards among others while in June, 2019, Burna Boy won the Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards held at the Microsoft Theatre in California.
- Nigeria’s WBA professional Boxer, Anthony Joshua with former US President, Barrack Obama.
The world of sport is also full of Nigerian stars. Among those that have rewritten history especially in Boxing is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, a Nigerian/British professional Boxer born on 15th October 1989. He is a former unified world heavyweight champion having held the WBA (Super) IBF, WBO & IBO titles between 2016&2019. Though he had a surprise loss to Andy Ruiz , it is strongly believed that he will reclaim his belts in the upcoming rematch.
Everywhere you look, there is a Nigerian doing great things. We must begin to raise the decibels in our celebration of these Nigerians, so that the rest of the world should assess us better for who we really are. It is already well recorded that Nigerians are usually the best educated immigrant community in most countries of the world. There is also a long list of sung and unsung heroes of Nigerian origin spread across the world, so it is crystal clear that Nigerians ought to hold their heads high everywhere they go (kindly add a name and achievement of a Nigerian not listed here in the comments section). We must never allow the negative narrative surrounding the few criminal elements among their populace taint the their stellar achievements and salutary contributions to humanity. 80 bad apples must never be allowed to spoil the bunch of almost 200 million Nigerians.