Nigerians vs stupidity and corruption
Let’s say you grew up in Lagos. Your family’s not poor, but they aren’t rich or powerful either. You get by.
Despite the challenges, you work hard and you end up going to the University of Lagos.
There, you keep working hard and you graduate with honours and land a good job, making 500,000 NGN a month. You know that you are one of the lucky ones because Nigeria is a country with nearly 33 percent unemployment.
So, you save your money. You take 100,000 NGN and put it in a savings account. You are responsible. You want to think of the future.
But, something funny happens. When you look at your bank statement after a month that 100,000 NGN is suddenly only worth what 90,000 NGN was a month ago. Additionally, it’s now costing you twice what it did a week before to buy food for your family.
You’ve done nothing wring. In fact, you’ve done everything the exact way you were supposed to your whole life, but because you live in Nigeria you’re actually, in practical terms, poorer after a month of working.
That’s not fair, is it? You should be rewarded for your hard work, for getting an education and for doing things the right way. Yet this is the reality for Nigerians. Their country has been in a contract state of economic turmoil since, well, since forever.
There’s a Wikipedia page titled Military coups in Nigeria. Yes, there’s a ‘S’ there. The lack of stability and questionable motivation of the governing class has led to generations of hardships for the people. That’s in all aspects of their lives, but as it relates to our conversation today it’s created an economic system that is impossible to get ahead in.
On multiple occasions the local currency has been devalued. Literally overnight you can have half the spending power that you did the day previously. It’s absurd and corrupt and frustrating.
What’s especially infuriating is when the government decides to put the breaks on an activity that is actually helping Nigerians get out of this cycle of poverty and despair. As we have detailed this month, that’s exactly what they are doing with their ongoing attempts to make crypto trading illegal.
You see, young Nigerians have embraced the crypto space and have excelled in it. And, the government can’t have that. Economically secure people are harder to control, after all.
In case it wasn’t clear, that’s why I keep writing about this.
So, what is happening this week? Well, after failing to stamp out crypto trading by banning the banks from dealing with local crypto to fait exchanges (which just drove traders to the black market, obviously) they are taking a different approach.
Now, they are attacking the FinTechs. Specifically, The Central Bank of Nigeria took away the ability of FinTech operators to access bank validation number service as a means of identity verification. That decision is going to dramatically increase the cost to onboard Nigerian users and is effectively acting as a drag on the ability of everyday Nigerians to access the crypto space.
It’s yet another hurdle that they are putting up for no good reason. And, it will make things more difficult.
However, there if there’s one thing that’s clear from reporting on this it’s that Nigerians are resilient. They’ll find their way around the obstacles. That’s the beauty of the space – it operates outside of governmental control.
As long as that remains the case, Nigerians and their allies around the world can have hope that they can break free from the corrupt, callous and contemptuous government that only serves its own interests.