Dr. Yemi Babalola has discovered the Internet.
Who is Dr. Yemi Babalola? Well, he sent me an e-mail the other day from Lagos, Nigeria. At least, that's what the e-mail said, and I believe everything I read on my computer.
Dr. Yemi said he's the director in the projects and evaluation department of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corp. "I came to know of you in my search for a reliable and reputable person to handle a very confidential transaction which involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account."
Shucks, I didn't know people in Nigeria knew how wonderful I am. I read on.
Dr. Yemi explained that a $2 billion oil pipeline and refinery project in his country recently was completed. "The original value of these contracts was deliberately over-invoiced in the sum of $25.5 million, which has been approved and now is ready to be transferred." But it's illegal for civil servants in Nigeria to, ahem, accept such an overpayment.
So Dr. Yemi, knowing that I am a reliable and reputable person, would like to transfer this money into my own bank account "for subsequent disbursement" to himself and his colleagues. I'd get a 15-percent fee, and 5 percent for "incidental expenses." Yep, $1.28 million in "beer money."
Dr. Yemi mentioned that after "having put in over 20 years in the Civil Service of my country, I am very much averse to having my image and career dented. This matter should therefore be treated with the utmost secrecy and urgency." You can count on me, Dr. Yemi.
What a sweet deal. Reminiscent of a similar proposal I received, oh, a dozen years ago in a poorly typewritten letter from Nigeria. It must have come from his predecessor at the NNPC, or perhaps a cousin, Nnamdi, Ahmadu, something like that. Or maybe he changed his name to Dr. Yemi Babalola, and now uses the Internet.
The spam I usually receive asks me if I want to buy Viagra online, get out of debt or meet "strange and exotic women." This is much more interesting.
But wait a minute. It was sent to my [email protected] e-mail address, not my personal e-mail, and addressed to The President/CEO, which I certainly am not. Maybe if you are The President/CEO, you ought to contact Dr. Yemi immediately, at [email protected] He needs your help.
Noga is editor of Rubber & Plastics News.