Monday, August 29, 2005

Nigerian Consultancy

I'm sure you're all familiar with the Nigerian scam wherein the widow of the late Foreign Minister Ufo Garatybo has a family fortune of TWENTY (20) MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS, but needs you to send her ten thousand dollars and all your bank accont details to help get it out of the country, for which service you will be rewarded with one tenth of the recovered cash. Recently I received the following e-mail from Nigeria requesting not money, but information on setting up an aviation service.

I am a B747 pilot flying presently for a cargo operator in africa in and out of europe.
i am also thinking of retireing soon in to banner flying in my country nigeria with my saving.
its going to be the first of that kind in nigeria with so much to make. how can i start?

Suddenly I'm an expert on banner towing in Nigeria? I sent him a quick generic reply, advising him to determine the applicable local laws, obtain a suitable airplane and banner towing installation, make arrangements with an airfield, and practice his slow flight.

And then he writes back. Apparently I am the world's foremost expert on banner towing in Nigeria.

Am happy u reply my mail, and i would just continue with u still i get started. The authourity does not have any laws set down now on banner towing. they are even talking to me to come together and set up one, i am putting a little of this and that from the FAA and the CAA to make up something for them. Give me a idea what it will cost to bank would like to know. (2) the permission i have even with surport of the goverment, the elections are coming soon, they want thier banners towed. And with that speed , that no problem.

So I told him, "I have no idea of the cost of the required airplanes, maintenance, aviation fuel, facilities access, insurance, or government bribes in your country. If you don't, I suggest you shouldn't be trying to run an aviation business." I'm betting his next letter suggests that I invest in his sure-to-be-successful business. But perhaps I should instead sell him my consultancy kit "Setting up a banner towing operation in Nigeria." It will be dispatched immediately on receipt of his certified cheque or money order. I suppose I'd have to charge at least $1000 US for everything I know about banner towing in Nigeria.

If he's legitimate and/or persistant, Google will see that he finds this blog entry, but geez, Captain, if you ask random strangers on the internet for business advice, you deserve worse than a little mockery.

The individual previously named in this story turned out to be both legitimate and persistant, and has accepted my offer to remove his name from the posting. I have also removed the comments as it was the only way I could remove his name as the author of some of those comments. I hope that in the future he will take up my invitation to write about flying in Nigeria, for the blog readership.