In April this year, a city court ordered for the immediate deportation of Nigerian national, Okeke Patrick Godwin Chukwudu.
The court determined that the 56-year-old man had lived in the country without valid documents, and preyed on hundreds of Kenyan women, often dumping them for others, as a cruel means of survival.
One of the aggrieved women went to court, pouring out her tribulations suffered in the hands of Okeke. Chief magistrate Francis Andayi ordered police and immigration officers last April to immediately extradite him.
In the court, the Nigerian was portrayed as an illegal immigrant who feasted on gullible women by first promising them the good things in life. Meanwhile, he emptied their bank accounts and had sex with them before fleeing once the cash taps dry, leaving behind heartbroken and bankrupt Kenyan ladies.
Okeke is the epitome of a typical Nigerian con artist who when not enslaving a woman with love, is scheming how to make quick money without breaking a sweat.
Welcome to the wild world of some Nigerian men who have made Nairobi home until recently, most Nigerians preferred living in city’s upmarket addresses. But now, they are all over and have taken Eastland’s by storm, leaving Kenyan Eastlanders a worried lot thanks to the foreigners’ love charm, bottomless pockets and partying addition.
The influx is manifest in Umoja, Savana, Tena, Utawala, Mihango, Kasarani, Roysambu, Zimmerman, Mlolongo, Athi River and Kitengela where some locals have been forced to adjust lifestyles in order to compete with Oga men.
In some estates, the cost of sex has gone up, same as rent because Nigerians pay more. Security wise, there are reports of a surge in crime as a result of the Oga men accused of recruiting gullible youth into pornography and drugs. Locals also complain the foreigners are fond of infringing on their right to privacy by turning rowdy during odd hours of the night.
So what makes Kenya, a country with less employment opportunities, an attractive destiny for our Oga brothers? Corruption was a constant response from residents we interviewed about their views about Nigerians perceived to be fraudsters and drug traffickers.
Henry Ochieng, CEO, Kenya Alliance of Residents Association (Kara), says the influx is as a result of weak immigration rules, adding that the Nigerians are pulled into the country to tap into illegal opportunities thriving as a result of corruption.
“These people are able to play dirty by dealing in fake money (wash wash), money laundering or drugs knowing very well they will not be caught or punishment is lenient. They are actually exploiting loopholes in our weak laws,” observes Ochieng.
The Nigerians allegedly pay double normal house rents and run away with women who fall for their generosity.
A spot check by The Nairobian found out that a one bedroomed house, which went for Sh15,000 two years ago, is now trading at Sh25, 000 in Roysambu.
“These guys never bargain. They dish out whatever you ask or even more, if there are competitors. Wakipenda nyumba wanachukua. This is why landlords have raised rents for most of the apartments,” says caretaker John Kiango.”
“A Landlord in Umoja once got into trouble when he tried to question the Nigerians on what they exactly did for a living after tenants complained of an extravagant lifestyle, completely contrasting their idling nature.
“You nigger, don’t you have something else to do, why do you keep snooping into our private lives yet we are paying you rent?” this was the response Paul Chege got from one of Oga.
He would politely request the aliens to vacate his building but they refused even after giving them a two-month notice. They purported to import hair weaves.
Chege sought the assistance of police who conducted a search, netting bundles of notes and a money printing machine in the house.
According to Cleophas Okumu, chairman, Umoja Residents Association, little is known about most of the Nigerians in the area who lead decent lifestyles. “I don’t understand how they are living in nice houses yet most of them do not do any known job,” he says.
They make their presence felt when partying at night in social joints or in their private residences. During such times, they loosen the purses for women to join their company.
“You can’t figure out what is going around but there are lots of movements at nights. They are rude even to property owners. They smoke marijuana openly in our apartment but we have no say,” says Duncan, a resident who shares an apartment with them behind Thika Road Mall.
The same phenomenon is replicated in Roysambu and Zimmerman where, apart from being spendthrifts, they are accused of engaging in ‘wash wash’ business.
Amid the drama, some are students at United States International University Africa (USIU). John Kabuu, a quality assurance officer at the university admits that a sizeable number of Nigerians study there.
“Yes we have Nigerians in their hundreds, and we know many of them reside in Kasarani, which is close to the campus. But not all Nigerians who live along Thika Road are students,” he told The Nairobian.
Kabuu, while distancing the institution from the bad behaviour of Nigerians, said the administration has no control over what students do while out of the institution.
“However, we’ve had instances where some Nigerians registered for courses, studied for one semester then disappeared. That means they are around illegally because their student passes should be valid for a given period of time,” he revealed.
Before admission, the official disclosed a background check is conducted on foreign students applying for admission.
“Actually, as per the requirement of the Commission for University Education, and in order to avoid such instances, nowadays students from Nigeria are needed to issue certificates of good conduct from a police station in Nigeria, before being enrolled,” he explained.
In Kitengela, police bust a drug ring whose supply chain was traced to Roysambu and Zimmerman. Security agents blamed landlords for failing to scrutinise foreigners before letting them in.
Local AP boss Sergeant Juma Kioko advised home owners to be strict.
“If residents could have been reporting these issues we would have tamed this menace. We are getting their concerns when it is late. Landlords focus on their deep pockets at the expense of security,” said Kioko.
“I am aware of the influx and many according to reports we have are in drugs, cybercrime, wash wash and pornography making activities,” says Kitengela area Chief William Makui.
Adding: “It is worrying that our girls are so desperate to make pornographic films with them. You find a house has five Nigerians and one local girl, but I assure you we are taking action.”
Ikechukwu Arthur Anoke, a Nigerian businessman is unhappy that a stereotype has been created about his compatriots being bad people, who make money through fraudulent means. According to him, there is a sizeable number of students, clergy, expatriates and traders who are law abiding, save for a few individuals hell-bent on straying.
“We agree some of them involve in fraud, but they constitute less than one per cent of the hardworking Nigerian community helping develop Kenya,” says Ikechukwu, group managing director, Play Communication Limited.
He says by working closely with the Nigerian High Commission, they identity the ‘bad boys’ who are advised to return home.
“We also would request to collaborate with local security in the best way forward because arresting them and deporting them has not been a solution. We need them to tell us their accomplices back home,” observes the businessman adding that some West African nationals pose as Nigerians when committing crimes.
Emannuel Mike Ojo who lives in Fedha estate denies his compatriots are bad, challenging authorities to take action against those found contravening the law. He says most of them are straight forward.
“If I was a conman, I wouldn’t be here. It is difficult to find yourself in Fedha Estate if you are a bad man. The government has the mechanism to know bad elements in the society and will remove them out. We are very good people and we work hard like any other person to earn a living. I don’t know why some people would come up with these derogatory remarks about Nigerians,” he told The Nairobian.
For Godson Ojigbo, crime is not a preserve of certain people.
“If all Kenyans were good, we would not have these vices or prisons. We the Nigerians are not unique in anyway, I cannot speak on behalf of all Nigerians but I can say I am a good man,” argues Ojigbo.
But John Njoroge, the in charge of operations, Flying Squad says someNigerians “con victims by pretending they can multiply their money.”
Nineteen Nigerians were recently seized in a police swoop targeting electronic skimming fraudsters hiding in Umoja, Kasarani and Roysambu.
Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti said the suspects often lure victims through social media platforms.
“The fraudsters start by befriending you on social media (Facebook) and once you accept the friend request they initiate a friendly chat that promises the victim goodies to be sent through DHL at the airport,” he explained.
Hudson Gumbihi, James Mwangi, Chrispine Magak, Silas Nyamweya and Mireri Junior.