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AMEBO – Yes, I’m Talking to You



gossip-amebo-bella-naijaAmebo, n.

A person, mostly a woman, of Nigerian descent, of questionable, cowardly character and low morals, esp. one who delights in EXTREMELY idle talk; an unproductive individual; a silly twat.

Amebo, v.

To concern oneself about other people’s affairs; to go about causing havoc by spreading false or private information; to be cowardly as to not being able to stand by comments or information that one has made.

Note: The definition of an Amebo or doing Amebo should please not be confused with plain gossip. No, Amebos are gossips with EXTRA. They are the Nigerian (well maybe African) brand of gossips and we all know that Nigerians are known for doing things to the best of our abilities both good and bad. It is also important to point out that there are male Amebos, in fact they are usually more mean spirited than their female counterparts but unlike their female kind they usually have a small number of listeners.

In whatever Nigerian language or dialect the word Amebo is translated (Gbegborun, Tatafo, Olofofo e. t. c.) it all boils down to “You talk toooo much and you need to shut up”.
Whoooosah, okay let me take a deep breath. As I write this, so many incidents come to mind that I don’t know where to begin. If I sound bitter it is because two close friends of mine just got burnt by a serious Amebo in the past week and the situation led to major family and relationship drama. What is it about bringing people down that is exciting? I personally feel that as a society we have become more accepting of this nonsense. How did we get here?
I’ll admit that the desire to hear about other people’s woes is not peculiar to Nigerians. There are bloggers the world over that make a wonderful living off what is essentially gossip but the major difference is that it is CELEBRITY gossip. One might even argue that as a celebrity you sign away most of your privacy rights in exchange for the status but this particular point is what sets Amebos apart.
Amebos talk about everyone and anyone irrespective of status. In fact, they are addicted to the gossip and the ensuing drama that usually follows to the point where, on particularly slow news weeks you can catch them spreading news about themselves. Have you ever met an Amebo that isn’t willing to tell you her life history? It’s very rare; their mouths are incapable of keeping shut so information that is private even to them is bound to spill out.
My friend once told me that we all have a little Amebo in us. That might be true, I’m not trying to be a hypocrite and say I’ve never discussed someone else’s business, I sure have. The issue isn’t with harmless chatter like “so and so is getting married” or when looking at pictures on facebook saying to your bestfriend “I didn’t particularly like her dress”. The issue is when you take those thoughts or private conversations and repeat it many times over to different people.
Most Amebos are not aware of their affliction. In fact while reading this most people will have someone else in mind but it’s time for self reflection.

If you are one of those individuals that barely waits for the phone to cool down after a conversation before you call someone else to pass on “gist”…YOU ARE AN AMEBO!
If you justify spreading information about others because they are not your friends or because you think they will do the same to you…YOU ARE AN AMEBO
If you justify talking about other people by rationalizing that you are just trying to show how tough the person has it…YOU ARE AN AMEBO
If you have been in more than one he/said she said situation as the accused…CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE MOST DEFINITELY AN AMEBO
If you took the test and more than one of the scenarios apply to you, you need to sort yourself out. We can laugh and trivialize the issue all day but the technology available these days, mindless chatter can really ruin people’s reputation.
To be fair, I can’t just blame the situation on Amebos alone. Some people make it too easy. If you find that you are constantly being spoken about by random people or your personal business seems to be common knowledge; you need to figure out what you’re doing wrong. Before you attempt to use the standard Nigerian female excuse of haters; think again. It is disingenuous to chalk everything up to “hateration”. Why you? Are you the prettiest, smartest, most intelligent, funniest, and lovable person around? Surely even if you have one or more of these qualities you don’t have them all combined. You cannot crave attention and be surprised when you get what you have wished for and more. If you update your facebook status multiple times a day or you twit about your most mundane activities, it can be argued that you are making sure people always think about you. Most importantly, when you have been a victim of a scandal, no one is saying you should hide or bury your head but please take a break and re-access your situation and those around you.
Amebos exist because they have customers. The next time someone is telling you something that you know has no business coming out of their mouth- do the right thing and them to be quiet. If that doesn’t work, stop speaking to them but by all means disassociate yourself from such people.



  1. L

    April 22, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Hmnn, it all just read like high school teenaged behaviour. I have never been burned by such actions, by an amebo or otherwise, but then again, I am not one for much small talk.

  2. lyn

    April 22, 2009 at 7:26 am

    u just said it.

  3. Ogo

    April 22, 2009 at 8:55 am

    yeah right L, we wldnt know orelse we ask someone really close to u.

    I wldnt say am not an Amebo or rather i wld say that i have lil’ traits of AMEBORISM…lol..but i think i wld say that i actually talk about pple not behind their backs but right in front of them(its called teasing), that is, i cant tell u stuff about her that i havent told her or wot she doesnt already knows…(Believe me its annoying, i know)…

    I believe that wot u say behind my back makes u the BIGGEST COWARD on the face of the earth.

  4. Michaela Moye

    April 22, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I love that … Amebos exist because they have customers.

    I’ve come into the understanding that amebos don’t really like themselves so they tear others down to bring them to their own ‘level’.

    We all just need to love ourselves and each other (yep, including those darn amebos in our lives).

    i also totally agree that some of us bare our dirty linen then complain when others call us names.

    Like my brother says, don’t be fabulous if you can’t be available (for the good, and the bad).

    Self-comportment, people!

  5. chilli

    April 22, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Thanks Ness. Aren’t we all guilty of this sin? I am anyways and while it is important for us to reflect on the lessons of this piece, i’m gonn take it further by forwarding it to ma friends. Talk isnt cheap…John Maxwell is making a fortune outta it!!!

  6. omono

    April 22, 2009 at 11:22 am

    while we can all point fingers can we all truly say that we have never ever bee engaged in amebo-ism before!i am sure we all partake in it one way or the other..even the celebrity blogger thing na amebo..saying what you dont know for real, condeming celebrities life when you dont know the fact!
    Good topic for discussion maybe we can all cut down our amebo-ism after reading this!

  7. yiki

    April 22, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    i disagree with you Ness,Gossip is gossip whether it is about celebs or not..because someone is in the public eye doesnt mean they signed away their privacy!Bella is considered a celeb probably among a certain young naija demography) does it make it okay if people start putting her business on full blast!NOPE! Thats why i cant stand sites like TMZ and perez( Tho d amebo in me finds me clicking on their websites)..and yep amebos exist because they have customers o!!lol but true

  8. jen

    April 22, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Is BellaNaija an Amebo?

  9. yup

    April 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Nope, I don’t think so. She does not put personal or destructive information about anyone. In fact we criticize her when she moderates such comments so I’d say she isn’t an Amebo.Some of her readers however are big ones because they spread gist that is unproductive and unecessary through their comments.

  10. kokolette

    April 22, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Abegi… let’s not be fake- amebo gist is sweeeeeeet jo. As far as it’s not about you.

  11. mary

    April 22, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Well written article however in my opinion Information is what makes the world go round. All information is amebo its then either good or bad information been passed around, same for amebo its either mailcious or not ,for example Bellanaija is an amebo, clicking on Bellanaija is doing amebo to see whats happening outside our own space, being on FB or twitter is amebo, its then the intent that matters!

  12. jennietobbie

    April 22, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Amebos….where you at?

  13. B!

    April 22, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Amebo??? Hmmmm. I think we are getting it twisted. After reading the comments, I have to say this. If you are celebrity, you have indeed signed your right to privacy over. If you don’t want to be known, then please send all the money in your bank account to me and they (paparazzi and co) can follow me for the rest of their lives.

    Now, what I think the writer is trying to say is this, Nigerian (especially girls), take it to another level. It’s one thing to know something aint true and keep spreading it to cause harm to the person, and it is another thing to know a fact and share. If the sole purpose of spreading what you know about someone is to hurt them, then you are an Amebo. QED.

  14. Deji D

    April 22, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    lol would you really be willing to do that? Paparazzi have a unique way of driving people crazy.

  15. O L

    April 23, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Yes don’t put your personal life on facebook and be shocked when it ends up in the papers. Keep who is sleeping with who and who is cheating on who to yourselves.

  16. Nneka

    April 23, 2009 at 3:15 am

    *** intensely puzzled look***
    …And what you wrote means you are a …..what???
    It’s actually HOW you wrote it that qualifies you as one.
    At least Linda admits to her infrequent ‘gossip girl’ tendencies. Be aware of your bit.

  17. amica

    April 23, 2009 at 3:22 am

    yup..Bella does amebo some times…Ure and Soul E are divorced..blah blah but it is never written a hurtful/destructive way unlike niyi tabiti n co….
    Linda ikeji does amebo and i actually lost respect for her when she wrote on the Ernest Obi episode!

  18. mee

    April 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    very tru pointz mary

  19. tomi

    April 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I totally agree.

    Its the preachy sanctimonious tone that makes me think the writer is a hardcore GBEBORUN!!, but probably has the “sense” to disguise her cattiness as “advice”.

    Everyone talks about everyone else. Its a fact of life. If your life revolves around it THEN you have a problem.
    Making up stories and telling lies about people is a different situation. Its super shady and best avoided as the karmic repercussions are bad.

    (That’s a little shout-out to all my haters which I obviously got by being an attention seeking fame! lmao)

  20. tomi

    April 23, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    A yoruba expression says when people talk behind your back its called Seniority, so dont let it phase you!

  21. oops

    April 23, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Abeg what is catty about saying that Amebo is bad. I think the article could have been clearer on the difference between making things up and gossiping but don’t get catty.

    You sound hurt. You have a lot of haters? You must be very special…not!

  22. tomi

    April 24, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Saying amebo is bad is not catty, but Im ALWAYS suspicious of people who claim NEVER to gossip. They probably think that they dont, but invariably shroud there bitchyness in “concern” or “advice”.

    Your comment is a prime example.

    First you stand up for an anti-amebo stance implying that you are opposed to idle gossip. Then you ADVISE me to not get catty. Thirdly you introduce false CONCERN for some FABRICATED hurt feelings before the final twist of the hateration knife when you tell me Im special….NOT!

    Res ipsa loquitur.

    There is an undercover amebo/backdoor gbeborun in the house!

    Case closed.

  23. ladi

    April 27, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    hehe, True. Everyone has an inner-Amebo in them.

  24. Moi

    April 28, 2009 at 1:30 am

    hahaha…”the amebo test”

  25. waffarian

    April 29, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    This all sounds way too “secondary school” to me…people will always talk. Its how you deal with what is said about you that matters. You are matured when you realize that it is what YOU think about other people that matters and not what people think about you.

    However, I understand how irritating it can be when people spread gist…but I would guess that growing up in Nigeria would make us “hardcore” about shit like that. For me, I could care less. People are always saying one thing or another. I can’t remember a time when people did not spread one stupid “gist” or another about me.

    I am too old for that crap. When you “grow up”, you will find that one has less time about worrying about things that are inconsequential.

    Also, for those worrying about shit that is being said about them, I will tell you something a friend of mine once told me “If Bill Clinton can survive, then I am sure you can too”.

    People always make themselves more important than what they are. You will find that even though people might spend some time passing useless information, at the end of the day, they also have their own shit to sort out. So while you are there worrying about them thinking the worst about you, they are busy with the next part of their lives, meanwhile, you are stuck being sad about shit that they caused. Makes no sense.

    The world is too big a place and reality filled with millions of moments. Don’t get stuck in an awful moment just cos some inconsequentials have decided to spend unproductive moments in their own lives.

    Everybody should just grow up. Amebos and their victims alike!

  26. afrohotice

    April 29, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Tomi u r so funny RTFLMAO…

  27. eny

    April 30, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    i amebo not only wif friends, but wif my sisters, haha yea i said it……. but luckily 4 me i havnt been in touch wif a lot of nigerians, so my life atm is absolutely stress free. Therefore i havnt been poking my nose into other pple’s bizwaz as much as b4, this is where the ”amebos are like that cos they have customers” phrase comes in, lol…… but theeeeennnnn there are still traces of ameborism in me, its only human. We can only try 2 make sure its indestructive i guess……

  28. tomi

    May 1, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Thank you o my sister!

    Just trying to tell it like it is.

  29. i like to know

    May 4, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    i agree there are few things sweeter than knowing what is going on in another’s life… chai amebo sweet! Just be careful not to do it with someone that will use it against u… thats where the garther-brushing comes in. Its easy to turn our nose up at those that have been caught because we have escaped exposure… nobody no like am. Simples

  30. Emeka

    June 25, 2009 at 8:48 am


    You write very well. This is a very well written article. Seriously.

  31. fresh kid

    October 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    you guys are really amebos or shuld i say amebolic.
    nice job keep it up but i wuld like to know if really you are from ABUAD afe babalola university..just reach me back on my e-mail

  32. lolli

    January 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    “Amebo” is a name coined from the Nigerian Urhobo name “Avwebo”… It became popular and associated with tattle-telling when the popular TV show- “The village headmaster” had a character named “Amebo” played by Ibidun Allison, whose character was known to be a busy body.. It is not a verb, it is not a noun. thanks.

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