Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Police recklessness in Amsterdam

On the town as a Nigerian

It is unfortunate this piece of news did not get reported in the mainstream expatriate media and it would have passed me by without realising that certain horrible things are happening in the Netherlands.

As it transpired, the Grand Café is a successful night spot run by a Nigerian in middle of vibrant South-East Amsterdam.

On June the 15th a popular Nigerian comic was performing to an audience of Nigerians and part of his routine included a 419 sketch "I Go Chop Your Dollars" which appears to praise practitioners of the criminal advance fee fraud activity; but one can say there are some who know irony, fewer who know satire and others are oblivious of social commentary that comic acts depict.

http://www.youtube.com/v/D_YjvC4ndzM
I go chop your dollars video

Nkem Owoh who was part of the cast of the Nollywood film Osuofia in London was the performer and as people in Diaspora settled down to a night of "Naija" entertainment the police in riot gear and all sorts of mob control paraphernalia swooped on the place and carted everyone away on the premise that they were all fraudsters, illegal aliens or criminals.

Silence of the representatives

Nary an outcry came forth about this event which was just over a week after the judicial murder of Nigerian citizen in Spain.

What gets me so incensed about this is that the police presumed a simple gathering of Nigerians automatically was a gathering of crooks and used that as probable cause to raid a social event in the name of keeping the law.

Lawless police activity

This case did not last long in court, the judge was not impressed and the Mayor of Amsterdam thought the acts of the police were suspect if not underhand, the judge has since ordered that all the detainees be released forthwith.

We basically cannot have a blanket swoop to fish out criminals whilst exercising unwarranted duress inconveniencing other legal and law-abiding people in the same gathering.

There just were no reasonable grounds for that police escapade, but the unfortunate and surreptitious fallout from this debacle would be beyond the justice that has been offered, Nigerian businesses unwittingly become pariahs as people would refuse to patronise those venues just in case they get roughed up by overzealous and stupid law enforcement agents looking for cheap thrills at the expense of ethnic minorities.

As this raid ended, some of the people arrested were driven straight to the airport [Indeed some were definitely illegal aliens, but you do not raid a pure entertainment venue to fish out criminals amongst other innocent people] and deported instantly; as I heard, some were already calling back to the Netherlands the next afternoon.

The law does need to be kept and upheld, but to use the emotive issue of asylum-seekers and the criminality of certain members of ethnic minority descent to abuse due process is beyond the pale and atrocious at best.

The stench of 419

In fact, sources indicate that this is not the first time their raids have literally closed down businesses where no crimes have been committed apart from the unfortunate pall of ignominy that others elsewhere have bestowed on the good name of Nigeria and Nigerians.

There is a serious Advanced Fee Fraud problem about and the Netherlands was at one time considered the capital of such activity.

There are a few Nigerians up to no good at all and the news wires create fantasies of their rotten exploits, but a lot more of us go about our lives in respect of the laws, as productive members of civil society and generally above reproach.

Something doing

Much does need to be done by the Nigerian government to discourage these activities, but citizens in Western countries have to realise that this fraud simply exploits personal greed; falling for these scams and acquiescing to the activities is just as criminal and should be punishable.

Unfortunately, we give too much sympathy to the fool who has so stupidly been parted from their money when both the scammer and the idiot need to be doing time - we cannot have criminals in our streets neither should we endure cretins on the same streets we walk.

References

Dutch police arrest 111 West Africans in 419 clampdown

Amsterdam: home of the 419 lottery scam

'I Go Chop Your Dollar' star arrested

Police force invaded café southeast undeserved (Dutch)

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