Where Is the Money? The Intersectionality of the Spirit World and the Acquisition of Wealth
Money Doublers and Money Doubling
2. Defining “Digital Spiritualization”
to put a victim’s picture under the laptop [that is] after the spiritualist (native doctor) might have “worked on” the picture (cast a spell on it possibly in his/her shrine). It is then necessary and sufficient for fraudsters to simply place the photograph under the computer while chatting/messaging the victims of fraud. Also, in the words of one respondent, “fraudsters also talk to the [victims’] pictures repeatedly” which represent the words-of-power (“do as I say” rhetoric).
a cybercrime strategy which blends spiritual elements with internet surfing to enhance victimisation rates on the web. Cyber spiritualism involves the procurement and use of mystical, spiritual, and supernatural powers by yahoo boys to cast a spell on their victims. Through this method, victims become hypnotised and, without objection, offer their treasures (products and money) to the fraudsters.
3. Different Manifestations of the Occult Economy
3.1. Traditional African Spiritual System
Escapelessness meant that the ancestral spirits were thought to be all-knowing; no violation of the norms of society escaped their surveillance, and no offender did. The “severity” of sanctions was used to deter the rest of society; the ancestral spirits were thereby upholders of the socio-moral order.
So drunken, like ancient wallsWe crumble in heaps at your feet;And as the good maid of the sea,Full of rich bounties for men,You lift us all beggars to your breast
3.3. The Gospel of Prosperity
Material blessings (fertility and children, good health, secure shelter, plentiful harvests) are explained as signs of divine blessing. Conversely, the root of all problems is spiritual and, therefore, the solution must also be spiritual. If one cannot overcome by oneself the forces that hinder success, one has to look for assistance from those who have the power needed to summon or manipulate spiritual forces.
a singer, Kelly Handsome, depicted Yahoo-Boys as follows, “…Maga don pay/ Mugu don pay/shout hallelujah…/…hallelujah hallelujah owo…/…/…hallelujah hallelujah ego…/… hallelujah, hallelujah kudi, kudi…/I don suffer, but I now don hammer, papa God don bless me, no one can change it…/…”. (The gullible has paid, the senseless has remitted/shout hallelujah…/…hallelujah, hallelujah money…/…hallelujah, hallelujah money…/…/hallelujah, hallelujah money, money…I have suffered a lot, but now I have hit the jackpot, Almighty God has blessed me, [and] no one can change it).
3.4. The Villagization of the Modern Public Sphere
Conflicts of Interest
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However, critical examinations have pointed out that the statistics the FBI relied upon to inform the currency of cybercrime perpetrators across nations, even when they represent the underlying reality, are socially and selectively constructed, and cannot (or should not) directly speak for themselves (Ibrahim 2016a, pp. 50–52).
The term “419” is historically derived from section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code which deals with multiple variations of frauds. Nowadays, “419” is ‘loosely’ used in everyday parlance as a simple antonym for cheating, falsification and fraudulent representation of facts.
The term ‘yahoo-yahoo’ originated from the dominance of Yahoo emails, apps and instant messaging in perpetrator-victim communications.
However, in the public discourse, people above 30 years of age are commonly and culturally seen as “youths”; the meaning of “youths” in Nigeria must be read in terms of the definitions they carry in a Nigerian context.
Explicit and implicit: for example, Ibrahim (2016b) interviewed 17 parents regarding children’s vulnerability to involvement in cybercrime (implicit), whereas Tade (2013) interviewed 10 Yahoo-Boys on the spiritual dimension of cybercrime (explicit). However, while both studies relied on different groups of Nigerians as participants, i.e., parents and Yahoo-Boys, they agreed on the significance of spiritual and magical powers in the discussion of cyber-frauds that emanate from Nigeria.
‘Yoruba’ constitutes one of the main three ethnic groups in Nigeria (the other two are Hausa and Igbo).
The “life-online and life-online” connections are also reminiscent of Goffman’s (Goffman  1990) notion of the “front-stage” and “back-stage” interactions.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of relevant authors on this topic (life-offline and life-online connections) but it gives an indication of the layers of contributions prior to this current endeavor.
Paraphrased from Marcus Cicero’s famous words, “history is the witness that testifies to the passing of time”.
Contemporary Nigerian society has sprouted from the ruins of three ancient West African kingdoms: the Benin Kingdom, the Bornu Empire, and the Songhai Empire (Ibrahim 2016a).
The encounter of a famous Nigerian singer, Sir Victor Uwaifo, with Mami Wata is recounted here: http://www.informationng.com/2015/09/meet-sir-victor-uwaifo-the-nigerian-musician-who-saw-a-real-mermaid-narrates-experience.html.
On 1 January 1914, His Majesty the King of Great Britain amalgamated the Northern and Southern British Protectorates into the colony of Nigeria. Nigeria remained a British colony until 1960 (Lazarus et al. 2017).
Such as (1) Oyagbemi in the Yoruba language, meaning “the goddess has rewarded me”; and Chukwuyem in Igbo language, meaning “Almighty God gave me (child)”.
Such as (1) Omosigho in the Edo language, meaning “a child is more valuable than money”; (2) Efemena in the Isoko/Urhobo language, meaning “this one (child) is my wealth”; and (3) Nwakaego in the Igbo language, meaning “a child is greater than material wealth”.
Whilst the Aro-shrine was geographically located in the Eastern Nigerian region, its spiritual effects extended to present-day Congo and Sierra Leone (Shankland 1933).
Also, similar to ‘Trokosi’ spiritual practice in Ghana (another West African country), where any adult who transgresses against the collective sentiment of the village social community submits a young girl from his/her family to the traditional Shrine Priest to labour and serve for 3–5 years in shrines as a way of atonement (Rush and Lazarus 2018).
Media sources such as, “Fear of ‘Yahoo boys’, ritualists forced female students in Delta state tertiary schools to stop wearing pants”: https://www.legit.ng/1211206-fear-yahoo-boys-ritualists-forced-female-students-delta-state-tertiary-schools-stop-wearing-pants.html.
Paraphrased from James Small’s sentence, during one of his public speeches on “Occult”.
Over 70 human bodies and skulls were discovered on the premises of the Okija-shrine in 2015 (covering about a decade).
Here, the phrase “devil advocating”, means arguing against the ‘righteousness’ or ‘sainthood’ of a group (claimed law-abiding citizens) in order to uncover any misrepresentation of the evidence favouring them (e.g., concerning the use of magical/spiritual powers for wealth generation).
It is noteworthy that the representation of fraudsters by Nigerian singers predates the digitalization of fraud. For example, a singer, Ogbogu Okonji, in his song “Alusi Ego”, meaning the god(dess) of money, personified Fred Ajedua (an alleged 419-fraud kingpin in the 1990s) as follows (translated from Enuani to English): “…/Fred-o! who is like Fred-o!/the God of money, who is like Fred-o/…/The sun that shines for the masses/who is like Fred-o!/…/…”.
A famous quote from the Russian scholar Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
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Lazarus, S. Where Is the Money? The Intersectionality of the Spirit World and the Acquisition of Wealth. Religions 2019, 10, 146. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030146
Lazarus S. Where Is the Money? The Intersectionality of the Spirit World and the Acquisition of Wealth. Religions. 2019; 10(3):146. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030146Chicago/Turabian Style
Lazarus, Suleman. 2019. "Where Is the Money? The Intersectionality of the Spirit World and the Acquisition of Wealth" Religions 10, no. 3: 146. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030146