The FBI has arrested 28-year-old Nigerian Businessman, Obinwanne Okeke, the CEO of Invictus Group for a $11 million wire fraud, which was executed by hacking into a steel company’s CEO’s Office365 account. He was in the 2016 Forbes Africa 30 Under 30.
The Invictus Obi’s saga is disheartening not because another Nigeria yet again has been busted for fraud, it’s disheartening because the rippling effect will be enormous.
A lot of Nigerians are going to pay for yet another scandal by a single Nigerian.
Thing is Obinwanne was not just another average Nigerian, he had a CV and portfolio that was envied on even by the international community.
He was looked upon as one of the bright spots to come out of this dark hellish place called Nigeria.
Obinwanne Okeke (Invictus) was one of the supposed few answers to the damning question of can anything good come out of Nigeria?
Featured by Forbes as one of the Forbes 30 under 30.
He’s been on BBC, given a Ted Talk, Spoke at London school of Economics Africa Summit.
Has a conglomerate spanning across many African countries dealing on oil, agriculture, infrastructure, solar energy etc.
Had a lot of International awards celebrating his achievements
With this sort of portfolio and at 32yrs, he was seen as this bright spark coming out from a country that has more trends for despicable things than amiable ones.
Only to find out that beneath all this facade was a fraudster. A serial one.
An international corporate yahoo boy with suits and a great CV to match.
Estimated to have stolen $20-$22million from US companies from 2011 till date.
There was always that gaping hole in his story about his start up capital that gave an itch of not adding up.
But then we gave benefit of the doubt as we usually do even to our own collective detriment in a bid not to come across as a hater.
He fooled a lot of people and that for a long time. Make no mistake about it, he’s going to pay for his crimes. But he isn’t my concern.
You can’t help but feel for other innocent Nigerians that are going to pay for the crimes of Obinwanne too.
Obinwanne would be in his prison scrub for a long time serving his time.
While other Nigerian out there will be getting Visa denied even after meeting and surpassing all the requirements.
Other Nigerians would have to work twice as hard to earn a modicum of trust and respect within the international community.
International organizations are going to pull out of deals the moment they become aware a Nigerian is part of the deal.
International airports will be a lot more hostile than they already are the moment they see you with that almost worthless green passport.
More companies will start declining cards coming from this part of the world.
Nobody wins here, not you, not me.
Imagine one of the few people who had earned the trust and admiration of the international community being busted for fraud.
What is your fate being an average John Doe or Jane Doe?
While Obinwanne is going to pay for his crimes inside the walls of a correctional facility.
You are going to pay for his crimes in embassy halls, airports, business meetings, immigration offices etc.
It will be no fault of yours, you would probably have all the requirements but still would be treated as an infidel.
When one of your supposed brightest minds has been busted as a fraud.
What are your chances?
Nobody won here.
We all lost.
~ Prince Uzor Onyemaobi