5 Ways Nigerians Make Money Illegally



As negative as that may sound, most Nigerians are very honest and hardworking and we are all looking for ways of making money. A few dirty fingers are indeed the ones spoiling the pudding.

The immense economic hardship is undoubtedly telling on the citizenry which is not helping issues. Unfortunately, a mighty people who are supposed to live like kings and queens due to the incredible resources bestowed on the country are pummeled into untold hardship. Nigeria, seventh largest exporter of crude oil in the world, is still battling with underdevelopment, unemployment, and corruption.

Compared to the majority of honest citizens who live in poverty, some Nigerians just refused to be dragged into squalor. These are the very few daredevil die hards who are ready to do anything in order to make fast illegal money.

Below are ten ways Nigerians make money illegally.

1. Robbery 

Disillusioned youths grab guns and ski masks after pumping up their system with narcotics. The aim is to suppress guilt and fear of getting caught by the long hands of the law. Residences and business places such as shops and banks are targets for these hoodlums. 

Other forms of robberies include ‘One-Chance’. The ‘One Chance’ phenomenon is a horrific experience whereby an unsuspecting victim enters a vehicle full of armed robbers. They eventually strip the victims of their valuables.

Robbery is, indeed, broad spectrum. Another popular form of robbery is when victims close to ATM machines are robbed of their money or forced at gunpoint to withdraw money from ATM machines.  

Robbers also target victims who they suspect of possessing expensive phones. There’s been a surge in stealing of phones at bus stops. Out of the blues, three or more strangers will accost a victim. They’ll show him a gun hidden in a pocket, asking him to cooperate and they’ll rob him of his phone with any other valuables on him.

Armed robbery negatively affects the quality of life of the innocent public. Robbery incidents leave behind a general sense of insecurity and fear. The hoodlums activities have led to an increase in unemployment, poverty, and disability of victims through gunshot wounds.

2. Kidnapping 

Kidnapping for ransom is another popular way of making quick money in Nigeria. It is now one of the biggest organised crime and a challenge to the government and their security outfits. 

Kidnappings are violent crimes and resistance by victims usually leads to death. So many Nigerians have fallen victim and have had to pay millions of dollars in ransom for their freedom. 

Kidnapping is surely a lucrative vice in Nigeria and a fast means to great wealth by those involved.  The current wave of abductions across the country makes every person a potential target regardless of social class or economic status.

In 2017, the arrest of Chukwudi Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans made the headlines. He was given the moniker “Nigeria’s richest and most notorious kidnapper”. Police reported that ransom  money was usually paid to Evans in “millions of dollars”. 

Heavily armed criminal gangs in north-west and central Nigeria have recently stepped up their attacks. The kidnappers usually ask for huge ransoms, while female victims end up being raped and used for menial chores. 

On February 27, 317 girls were abducted from a Government Girls Secondary School in the state of Zamfara. Negotiations took place with the bandits and all of the girls were freed In March1. Although, payment of ransom to kidnappers is almost always denied by government spokespersons. Such denials usually lack credibility.

During the same period, 42 people were also kidnapped from a boarding school in Kagara, Niger State. After negotiations, they were all released.

The kidnapping incident that pulled international attention was that of the 276 schoolgirls at Chibok who were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014. This led to the international #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

3. Prostitution

Prostitution is illegal in Nigeria under sections 223, 224, and 225 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, and under Sharia law in the north. This penal code, however, is a toothless dog, because the law is rarely enforced. The outcome of this is that prostitution is a booming business in Nigeria. 

Wikipedia estimated around 63% of prostitutes in Nigeria started work before 19 years old, and 99% of the girls are not in a relationship. 

This vice seems very popular in the Southern part of the country. Many Nigerian girls travel to the city or even travel abroad to places like Italy to work as prostitutes with many living within brothels or residences of sex workers. Young female students and unemployed graduates use sex to leverage on passing exams and earn extra income. Porters or hotel staff cash in on this illegal business acting as pimps between clients and prostitutes. 

It is reported that almost two-thirds of brothel and street sex workers have vocations as traders, bar girls, hair dressers, or have a second type of job. Brothels are in virtually every major city in Nigeria and offer the cheapest form of service. 

Another form of prostitution is known as corporate prostitution. This happens in corporate financial institutions such as the banking sector. 

4. Internet Scam

This alone has caused an extremely negative perception from the International community on every Nigerian that travels abroad. In Nigeria, especially in the Southern part of the country, Internet scams are now like a pastime for Nigerian youths. 

A popular format is a random guy who claims to possess a lot of wealth because he is a rich prince in Africa and needs someone to help process a large sum of money in his possession. Once you oblige, you are scammed using some other complex methods created by them. 

Online scam is popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo. It comes in all forms of format. A common format is online dating which involves meeting a total stranger on social media and getting close to the person. The main aim is to collect money from the victim by any means.  

Scamming is so popular among Nigerian youths that it is viewed as a game. The internet has made it so easy to scam people.  One way is to pretend to own a company. Then emails are sent out pretending you are from various banks or companies requesting unpaid bill payments. 

Another popular scam is a Ponzi scheme. The Ponzi is a fraudulent scheme that promises a high and quick return to its members. The investors, who in return, will be expecting to receive their money in the double fold, end up losing. 

The emotional scam is another popular scam. This requires pretending to be in dire need of money for assistance such as your father needs money for surgery with profuse crocodile tears. 

Recently, scammers target users of Bitcoin exchanges. If you are into crypto and you want to make an exchange from crypto to naira, scammers are right there insisting you send crypto or naira first before they make an exchange. When you send, your crypto or money disappears into thin air. This is common on exchanges that offer peer to peer services such as Binance. After the Central Bank of Nigeria banned local banks from dealing with cryptocurrency platforms, this type of scam shot through the roof.

5. Drugs

Smuggling drugs is an illegal business that some get-rich-quick Nigerians indulge in.  They travel with drugs as mules in order to deliver them to someone, who in turn, pays them a huge sum of money.

Street drug dealers also make huge tons of illegal money by peddling drugs on the streets. Usually, they don’t last long because the chances of being killed are very high.

These five ways of getting rich quickly may also turn out to be the fastest ways to lose one’s life fast or rot in jail. It is strongly advised to desist from these nefarious activities because most people who indulge in such criminal acts end up not achieving any of their dreams.

Check 5 ways people elsewhere make illegal money

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2 thoughts on “5 Ways Nigerians Make Money Illegally

  1. Almah

    Its funny how you mentioned North in terms of kidnapping but didn’t mention south in terms of internet scam.


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