How the Igbo make their money

By Sunny Igboanugo on 08/06/2020

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I have just listened to Asari Dokubo in a video clip that is currently trending on the social media. It was his response to a verbal attack by Nnamdi Kanu, in their engagement over the issue that seems to emanate from a disagreement around the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

I’m actually not interested in that dispute. The two of them know where the water mysteriously entered through the pipe of the vegetable. My concern is the comment of the former Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), boss regarding Ndigbo. He had no equivocation in describing the entire Igbo as criminals. He didn’t mince words about it. Why are the Igbo so criminally-minded? That was the question. He went ahead to stress that Igbo people put wealth above morality, reason they are all involved in selling body parts to make money.

Of course, I hear from the grapevine that the body part business is a very lucrative one and those involved transport fresh human parts to as far as Europe and Asian countries and have made tremendous fortunes doing so. But I quickly ask. Is this trade, assuming, but not conceding that the Igbo people now populate it, what makes them billionaires and millionaires on individual basis more than any other ethnic nationality in the Nigeria and to a large extent, the world?

I ask, because the use of human parts, outside rituals, has become prevalent in the current world because of their usefulness in the field of medicine, where organ transplanting has taken a central place in modern practice.

But before now Ndigbo have had a long history of billionaires. Even when it was possible for one to trek from Benin to Onitsha, Ibadan to Oshogbo or Warri to Port Harcourt with bags of valuables on the traveller’s head without fear of attack, when crime was at the minimal level, the Igbo have always been rich, counted among the wealthiest peoples in Nigeria, if not the wealthiest.

For instance, it is recorded somewhere that when Queen Elizabeth of England visited Nigeria, in 1963, it was to Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu that the country ran, to provide his personal Rolls Royce car to transport the revered monarch. Sir, Ojukwu was not a Kalabari or Ijaw, the last time I checked. In fact, it is believed that Ojukwu, the father of the late Ikemba, Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, was the richest man at that time. It is even said that the late General of the people’s army, the arrowhead of the Biafran effort, over which the current diatribe is centred, prosecuted much of the war he led to make Biafra possible with this immense wealth of the father.

Has it ever been said that the Ijaw was richer than the Igbo at anytime in the history of Nigeria outside the Ojukwu era? Has there been anytime the Ijaw is compared to the Igbo in terms of achievements in any trade or field – education, business, industry, sports, entertainment or any other human activity that are noble. This is not to say that there were no Ijaw people that excelled in these fields. But in comparison, have they ever come close, are they close now or will they ever be close? Now, is the gap created by the dexterity of one in crime and criminality and the other less in them?
Granted that there are criminals in Igboland, who made fortunes through the underworld, as there are among other tribes, dubbing any Igbo that becomes very wealthy as a criminal, is probably where the Asaris of this world which populate Nigeria miss the road, the reason they are probably less wealthy.

Now, let me tell you how the Igbo make their money. First, it is spiritual, ordained and established by God that Ndigbo would always be richer than their neighbours. The mystery behind it was well explained quite recently by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II. The details are there on the YouTube. Asari and his likes might wish to check it out.

But the one that is practical is what is evident before everyone’s eyes. Let me start from the Gala seller in the street of Oshodi. An Igbo of 14 and his counterpart from, say, Asari’s home enter the street to sell the snack. They’ll probably make N1,000 a day profit. What happens? That young Igbo boy who probably carries the image of his parents at home as a barge and has a vision of one young boy, who has just erected the latest design of building in his village, does the needful. Instead of blowing the entire N1,000, believing that another would come tomorrow, saves N800. He goes to a restaurant and pointedly instructs the food seller that he doesn’t want meat in his food. He gets food of N100 without meat. He drinks the water provides by the restaurant instead of buying coke or any other sort of drinks. He doesn’t drink mineral unless someone offers him.
On the other hand, his counterpart, whose father probably lives apart from the mother and who probably came into the street to hustle from a friend’s house where they share ideas of how selling Gala would never take them anywhere, blows his entire N1,000.

By the time they get into the street the next day, the Igbo boy has N800 tucked into his inner pocket, which their clothes always come with, while the other boy has nothing. This he does for six months. Now calculate N800 daily for six months and see what it gives you. By this time, while his counterpart is still living in his phantom dreams, he has already garnered enough capital to buy direct from his brother instead of supply and pay later arrangement. By that, he cuts off the aspect of high commission, makes more profit and gets bigger supplies.

Two years after that, he would have been able to garner enough capital to rent a shop in front a market, and having been in the business long enough, and probably secured the confidence of his suppliers, he now has his shop filled up on credit. He now goes home and recruits some young lads from his village to join him. They now take over the streets while he minds the shop. In time he gets another shop and another. They all live in one room, eat the most austere food and carry on.

Now, he’s already clocking 18 to 20 years, his business has stabilised to a large extent, yet, he has never tested the laps of any woman, unlike his counterpart, who probably has one or two babies from different girls because that was how he came into the world in the first place, worsened by the fact that his parents live apart, and therefore there is probably nobody to leash his sexual desires.
By the time this boy turns 25 to 30, he has become a big time seller of confectionaries, because he must have diversified. That’s where you now see him cruising in his jeep with his girls, drinking beer and pepper soup lavishly as if there is no tomorrow, apparently in a bid to cover up for the lost years of self-denials. This is just one aspect of it. But even at that he is careful that he spends only a tiny fraction of his daily gains, his early life of restraints and self-denials being his guide.

If you want to be as rich as an Igbo man, learn his ways to riches. Follow these steps. It’s all about optimal discipline, self-restraint, self-denial and above all focus. There is no other magic about it.

How many Igbo men have more than one wife no matter his wealth? How many Igbo live apart from their wives as a result of divorce? How many Igbo allow their children to come home with weird hairstyles? You think these don't matter?


How many Igbo men will sit in front of their houses early in the morning drinking Ogogoro and waiting to down hot starch and fisherman’s soup from their toiling wives, who virtually feed them? By the time they are enjoying such free life, the Igbo man, who is in his shop as early as 6am has done two or three rounds of sales from early buyers. Just go to Onitsha streets every morning and see the sea of human heads? Is the same in your neck of the wood, Alhaji Asari?

Another means the Igbo makes money is through volume sales and turnover. In the local market, a woman that sells banana, which is a perishable commodity insists she must make N200 profit from a bunch. A customer comes around.
Customer: Madam, how much is your banana?
Seller: It’s N1,000.
Customer: Let me pay N600.
Seller: Mute, anger building up.
Customer: Madam, I’m talking to you
Seller: Snatches the banana. Don’t you know where they sell it? Follows with abuses.
Customer walking away, sees the same banana in an Igbo woman’s shop, haggles the price, the Igbo woman sells same at N500, making a profit of N100. Tomorrow she returns to the market, buys fresh supplies. The other woman returns the next day by the time the banana must have changed colour and loses more value. She ends up throwing it away or selling at lower than the N600.
At Onitsha market, traders sell their goods with just N50 gain and by the time the multiplication is done on thousands of goods sold, he goes home with a profit scores higher than the man that sold in hundreds because he insists on making N150.
So, when Alhaji Asari, dismisses Igbo people as criminals just because he disputes with Kanu, he should also tell the public how many of his people he has established in businesses and thriving trade outside recruiting them to carry guns in the creeks. The well-established tradition of an Igbo rich man ensuring that there is another to replace him in his immediate family or in the community through which they have succeeded in building giant trees of millionaires and billionaires that dominate the world is quite evident and well-known to Nigerians.
I have always advised those who care that instead of beefing the Igbo and derogating their immense standing in matters of money-making why not try the options they have been using decades on and see if they will not work? These options have worked for them in Nigeria as elsewhere. Go through the West Coast of Africa and see the exploits the Igbo people are making. There is no country in Africa today, where you don’t find scores of Igbo billionaires. Are they all selling human parts or involved in crime. Are they all ritualists or operators of “baby factories?”
Yes, there are Igbo that are drug barons, ritual killers, internet fraudsters, kidnappers and armed robbers. But so do we have in Asari’s people and indeed amongst other tribes. The first people to be executed at Bar Beach, were not Igbos. It even took so many years before the first Igbo man was executed for armed robbery.
That it is even someone like Asari that would be casting others with the paintbrush of crime, is not only surprising, it is ironic! Amazingly so!
Igboanugo, a journalist, wrote from Abuja




Posted on June, 8 2020

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