In the past, Nigeria was teeming with a very curious breed of criminals. And I don’t mean your regular pickpockets or fake gold grafters. They were the head honchos of a ruined system, ruthless mafia lords of the sleazy world of ‘gbajue’. I am referring to intercontinental fraudsters, GPRS criminals so advanced that they actually had access to the Presidency and were so sophisticated they bankrupted an entire national bank to the tune of over $200 million. They were the flashiest socialites in town, wore the most sparkling of jewelry, dated the classiest people in the society, hired the best musicians and at their rumbustious parties, you will see the finest French cognacs wasted like water.
They lived life to the fullest. They were the ‘dorobuccis’: smart, smooth-talking, convincing and supremely intelligent moneybags, so great was their slyness that they were part and parcel of the big enchiladas. That was in the past. Now, this is the present. Well, not much has changed and it even seems they have switched from analogue to the digital mode. You know, talk of upgrading and adapting to the times. These criminals are still very much around, reaping the bitter-sweet fruits of their poisoned orchards. As for the future, it is my hope that the current-generation Yahoo-Yahoo boys, the grandsons of the 419 godfathers of yesterday (even if they can never make as much money as Mark Zuckerberg unless they defraud the US Treasury) do not continue to smear what is left of Nigeria’s tattered flag and battered image. Hmmm, Ade Bendel.
Here is the story of the one man who rocked (still kinda rocking) the Nigerian society with his audacious moves in that shady world of scams and advance fee frauds. Before I continue, let me state clearly that he was not alone in this messy trade or other really controversial businesses like drug smuggling. ‘Barrister’ Fred Ajudua, Dele Ilori, Oloruntoyin Akindele Ikumoluyi aka Akindele Ile Eru, Ikechukwu Anajemba aka Rasheed Gomwalk, Amaka ‘The Queen’ Anajemba, Emmanuel Nwude-Odenigwe (aka Owelle of Abanga), Femi Abiodun Lekuti aka Danku Baba Imole, Lanre Shittu, Sanjay Oloruntoyin, Kenneth and Princess Hamabon William are some of those that also totally wrecked the image of the world’s most populous black nation as they went all over painting the Blue Planet red with their kleptomaniac tendencies. Not a few of them were locked up at the Awolowo Road Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission during a ruthless drive against corruption under the Obasanjo presidency. Obviously, apart from sports, another ‘job’ that has ‘federal character’ in Nigeria cutting across tribes is fraud. But for today, the zoom lenses will be on Ade. The story of Ade Bendel.
Background and early days
Born as Adedeji Alumile (Ademiluyi Elumalu) in Ibadan, Oyo State in 1966 (some reports indicate 1964), he hails from a small sleepy town named Hiveevie in Owan Local Government Area of Edo State. Ade Bendel is the most (in)famous product of this obscure town. He was put in school but for reasons that are still somewhat cloudy, he dropped out from the primary school and later landed in Lagos State in search of ‘greener pasture’. While young, his friends were reported to have said that Ade Bendel always nursed the dream of hitting it big someday.