By Tunde Adediran
On May 11 2018, operatives of the EFCC raided Club 57 on Awolowo road Ikoyi and arrested some suspected internet fraudsters or yahoo boys, to use the generic term. 12 people were arrested and 10 cars were carted away
Blogger, Noble Igwe, took to his twitter page and weighed in on this, saying, “record label, real estate, auto dealers, are major 419/fraud fronts in Nigeria” and predictably, there was a lot reactions and counter reactions.
People spoke for and against yahoo boys. The major argument for the fraudsters hinged on the fact that they are the modern day Robin Hood (they steal from the rich and give to the poor) but if we go by that theory, then we are basically saying they are thieves because Robin Hood was a thief.
The truth is the music industry has always had a love-hate relationship with these fraudsters because of the lack of infrastructure and lack of funding in the music business in Nigeria. These yahoo boys have to funnel their money through some channels and the music industry is one such channels.
The Nigerian entertainment sector is basically money driven and corruption and bribery allegations have marred the entire sector. An upcoming artist looking for a deal skips a traditional label and goes to the ‘investor’ yahoo boy who has money to spare.
Most radio stations allegedly collect money to play songs from upcoming artistes in the name of ‘promotion’. Imagine an upcoming artist trying to get a 5 million naira video from Clarence Peters on his own. That’s nearly an impossible task without a label or some sort of privilege. That’s where these guys come in.
Whether we like it or not, internet fraud has taken over the Nigerian music industry. From our artistes coming up with dance steps and songs glorifying the lifestyle, to them praising their names on popular hit songs. You really can’t escape it and the bad news is that it’s not going away anytime soon.
As long as the proper structure for a music industry is not put in place, we as a collective have to choose what music we give our ears to.
What’s your take?
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