BVN scam

BVM Scam

I got an SMS today with the text below from +234-812-273-9332.

“Dear Customer, Due to the BVN validation in compliance with CBN bank directives, your ATM card has been De_activated call our help line on 08109310498 now.”

So I called the number. Listened briefly to some Nigerian artiste belting out a popular track before some fellow came on the line. Completely unprofessional sounding greeting.

“Afternoon. I got an SMS that my ATM card has been de-activated and I am to call this number.” I said.

“Oh. Are you one of those who got that message. We are sorry. We are working on that now.
Do you have your card there with you so we can re-activate it immediately?”

“Yes” I replied.

“Is it Mastercard or VISA?”


“There’s a 16 digit number on the front. Can you call it out?”

I guess I hesitated a little too long while thinking of an appropriate response (something about how he should get a life instead of running a 419 scam was on my mind) because he dropped the call.

It’s funny how he didn’t mention any bank’s name throughout the conversation.
I ran the number that sent the original SMS through Truecaller and got the entry: “Destiny E1”
I ran the number 08109310498 through Truecaller and not the single entry: “Scam Lacasera Ibrahim”



“Mr latecomer, as usual, you don’t disappoint” he said waving. I stood up straight from my crouching position, stretched my back and waved back politely. I wondered again why I had chosen to return to school for a master’s degree after so long (12 years after my bachelors) and even stranger, why I had chosen this elective in theology which had nothing to do with my course of study. The truth is that I was “searching”. After recent events in my life.
I had tried to sneak into the class, but I think by now, he had made up his mind to always look out for my less than dignified entrances to his class. I don’t know why I still bother.
A hundred pairs of eyes turned my way, and as it has come to be expected, I smile and waved at the class. To which there was a corresponding wave back.

“So as I was saying, sometimes we have to bend for peace.”

We do it everyday. If done right, no one comes away feeling exploited or disgruntled or chafing at the bits, itching for revenge. It’s all a matter of degrees and extent. If you take it too far, it becomes a compromise. Compromises are in no way negative. Depending again on the degree. You can come off looking like a wuss or a peacemaker. It all depends. Back in the early days of Christianity, our forerunners compromised. Rather than fight the push-back from the pagan Romans for example, they found it easier around 4 C.E., to incorporate some of their festivities into our own. December 25th was no where even close to when Jesus was born, which was probably during the summer or maybe closer to the middle of the year if you go by that most Roman of devices – the Julian calendar. Given to us in self worship by the Roman emperor Julius Caesar. December 25th was the concluding day of the Roman week long celebration of depravity. That was known as the Saturnalia. Unfortunately that didn’t quite work out as planned. We held on to the last day though and to all intent and purposes there’s no link to the Roman’s pagan celebration anymore. The only point here that the JW got right is the origin of the date. I have nothing against them. In fact if not for a couple of other believes or non-believes of theirs, I would probably be a card-carrying member. But that is a subject for another class. Where I disagree with them on that issue is that the celebration is now symbolic and should be taken as such. It’s better to remember a monumental event on a supposedly wrong day if it contributes positively to the spread of the gospel of Christ than not at all. After all, it is not the day that matters but the event. We shall leave that there so we don’t digress too much.”

“The evolutionists would have us believe we all originated from some primordial soup, then via the sea and unto land. And then some creatures such as certain turtles and mammalian sea dwellers for example, thought better of it and returned to the water.”

“Does anyone have a bible? “ all eyes swiveled round the room. There were no takers.

“I didn’t expect to find one. But no issues. technology never ceases to amaze right? Here in the palm of my hands, I have a smart phone with several versions of the bible in it. something that used to be the prerogatives of only the few way back in history, when only kings and clergy could have it without been burnt at the stake for heresy. When it took years to make a copy. Hmmn.”

“So I intend to support the creationist for once. Not all the way, mind you.”

“In Genesis, if you follow the sequence by which all things were made, the sea was populated first, then followed by the land, then finally people – you and I, and all those living and dead. Here, let me read a few verses.”

He read several verses from the first chapter of Genesis.

“So you see, even if we do not agree that things crawled out of the sea and became land animals, we can agree that sea creatures came before land creatures.

Of course another major area we diverge is in how long the earth and all that’s therein have been around. But again that’s additional bullsh*t for another class. Excuse my French.”

There was some low laughter in the hall.

“So we bend a little to accommodate our learned colleagues. If hopefully by doing so, we may bring them to the knowledge of Christ and the acceptance of creationism or vice versa”

Some laughter in the hall.

“I appreciate your lightheartedness but of course you know this is serious business.

To be realistic, that amount of bending doesn’t do anything for our colleagues. But as we are not wusses, we will bend but not break.”
“And if it comes down to the wire, we will go by that age old saying, “to your tents, O Israel!”

And in case that’s not clear, it means we won’t compromise on the core tenets of our believes”
“And there goes the bell! See you next class. If your busy partying schedule allows it, slot a quick look at Genesis chapter one in there, would you? Mr Latecomer, kindly stay behind for a minute or two. Thank you. And happy shopping on Black Friday but avoid the crush if you can! Don’t read anything extra into the name. Be grateful for the opportunity to give thanks in good health on thanksgiving.”
I walked down the aisle to the front of the room where he was putting away his notes and books into his bag. I didn’t know what to expect.

“Ah. Mr Latecomer. I still have hopes of you. You and I are on a journey as long as this class is in session. The journey may be only a a few months long, but we shall make it interesting. I have three questions for you sir”

I raised an eyebrow slightly.

“Do you think we can compel God?”

“No.” I said.

“Do you think God rules in the affairs of men?”

“Yes” I responded.

“Do you believe in destiny?”


“Ah. Be careful how you answer. I think you may have contemplated the first two questions before, but that last one I think you answered a little too glibly. Think on it a little sir. And we shall return to it – say – after the next class.”

And with that he was gone before I could say another word.
I stood there alone in that classroom. Looking up at the seats that made up the amphitheater.

I had the strange feeling he knew more about me than he was letting on and that my “search” wasn’t going to end easily or anytime soon.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Rango makes unscripted appearance

Rango makes unscripted appearance

I was working late in the office of a big client. And as is usually the case, once the pressure of work eases up, staff start to talk. I wasn’t part of the conversation but when I started to laugh towards the end, they commented that they assumed I still had my earphones on (which I did earlier). So the funniest of the group of three was holding fort:

“… I just want a good girl.
But where dem dey? Ladies of nowadays are all “Instagram girls” O!
e get one girl I don dey trip for.
A few days ago I come de lift dey come office. The girl come de inside the lift too.
she no wear make up.
I just vex!
I think to myself say na so you look without make up??!!
You know Rango? Na Rango she resemble (at this point he brought up a full bust picture of Rango the lizard on his laptop)
The thing way vex me pass be say
As you know once you don dey stay with the lady
dem no go dey wear make up again
So, na so-so vex I go dey vex everyday (every time I see her face)??!”


He’s calling?

He’s calling?

It’s Friday night. I have to agree. I am no fun. I can’t provide excitement. It’s not an age thing though. I “locked it down” (not in a positive way) growing up. It’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime. I am putting in the time, but it’s hard or as some self-help materials would have me believe, I am making it hard(er).

It seems I haven’t been listening. I am like Jonah. It ain’t gonna happen till I listen to him. No matter how hard I try. Or maybe that’s just my excuse for my failings.

I made up my mind long ago that he exists. Yet when I see the evil both caused by ourselves and those that appear completely random, (what there is of) my faith takes a hit.

Today on a 140KM journey, I came across a burning car around the 40KM mark. Seems only one car was involved. The fire was raging so fiercely that very little was left of the car despite the fact that the accident probably only just happened. I think they got out all the occupants in time. I tried not to look. Traffic was being diverted away from the car. I should have kept my eye on the burning car. But I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t see something similar to what I saw several years back. Burnt bodies hanging out of the Windows of a burnt bus. They were in several stages of egress. Some had almost made it out before the flames overcame them.

Unfortunately the passengers of the car were sitting on the ground on the other side of the road, looking lost. Their bodies wide bands of white burnt and pilled skin interspersed by areas of regular brown skin including their heads and faces. It was hard for me to imagine the kind of pain they must be going through.

It helped me put my own issues in perspective for all of 30 mins. So close to the end of the year. Would I rather have that? No way. For a minute I thought if I was one of them, I would have preferred to have died in the fire. I don’t know why the sight of them conjured up the images of pigs, goats and sheep I had seen roasted in the past. Except in this case they are still alive. It brought again forcefully to my mind that on many levels, we are not so different from the lower animals. Especially on a biological (flesh and bones) level. Natural forces can’t tell humans apart from animals: All are carbon-based organisms to be consumed.

But there’s a spark in every human that refuses to die until it’s literally taken out of our grasps sometimes forcefully. Even then we fight till the very end no matter what we are going through.

I guess the best we can hope for is never to be in such a situation. Like someone close said, “those who grow old and die quietly in their sleep with not much in the way of any (protracted) ailment don’t know what they are missing”

Or maybe it should be “what they missed or had the good fortune to have missed.”

And 30 minutes after I am brooding on my own issues again. Typical. I guess it’s the curse of humanity to never be satisfied. We are always seeking. Happy are those who have achieved contentment. Whether it’s via religion or other means. As long as it’s not something destructive such as alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately that seems to be the default option for most people. Maybe because it requires no brain matter. No need to think. It ends your search for the answer to that question (why am I here? and where am I going?) for as long as the high lasts. But more and more, the answers people give become too simplistic (yet he said if we don’t accept it in that way, like little kids would, we won’t be joining him “up yonder”). If we take it that we are being prepared for eternity in heaven only, then it’s hard to see how what one does or doesn’t do in a life spanning a 100 years at most justify a label we would carry for all eternity. I make exceptions for people such as Hitler and his cronies. But that just muddles the water further. For how low would we need to put the bar to decide who was and who wasn’t culpable in Second World War Germany and so punish such people for all eternity?

And if this whole arrangement is to be dimmed fair (by whose standard? Pottery for honor and dishonor comes to mind), then it would require that all be given equal chances to make their choices. But making the “right” choices come easier for people who live in some reasonably stable western societies, but what about the millions that are slaughtered in places such as some African countries by a combination of wars, disease, hunger, illiteracy before they even grasp the good news? It’s hard to listen to anything when you are in pain or dying from hunger.

I have to assume he’s still calling.

How to say yes, and yes to what are the issues. Place that next to all the possibilities (temptations) out there, and it’s obvious what I need is a voice screaming blue murder during the day and not one whispering quietly in the dark of night.

Scotched Earth

Scotched earth

You are a writer. Dig deep! There’s always something to write about.

Sorry men. The earth is scotched and the well is dry. It’s all dust. Nothing but dust. Only the rains can make a change. But who knows when?

So bless that thing or curse it. Which ever brings deliverance.

What are you thinking about?

Nothing but strangeness. 
There’s terror in their hearts
And fear in their minds

The world is at an end
But why worry
When it happens we won’t be here to mourn or regret

Things that go bump in the dark
Are just things
No power to harm or to save
But you heard the stories when you were young

You have put them on a pedestal
Now that you are grown
They watch your days and haunt your nights

But look away for a moment
Look into the light
It’s all transient like life itself.
The morning will come.
It will be alright.

Or maybe not.
But either way, in the end, it matters not.
Nothing does.