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Gideon Chukwuemeka Ogbonna: The Hustle of Sending Money Abroad – A Disturbing Nigerian Case

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Money makes the world go round. But how can money make the world go round when money itself isn’t allowed to go round the world? This is a Nigerian case.

Who would have thought that at this age of vast technological breakthroughs, sending money abroad from Nigeria would be such a herculean task? This difficulty does not stem from the absence of adequate technology to facilitate such transfers, but from the knowledge (gained through experience) that Nigeria is a country steeped in a well of financial crimes. Thus, just as it is difficult as a Nigerian to get a visa to countries like the UK and US, it is even more difficult to send money to other countries.

It is like the rest of the world is saying to Nigeria and Nigerians: abeg, stay your lane. As a result, lecturers go through stringent processes to pay for journals, parents have to devise several means of sending money to their children abroad, and Google pops out only a handful of irrelevant information to the search: How to send money abroad from Nigeria.

It is interesting to note that sending money into Nigeria isn’t met with such difficulty. Because in a world where the notorious ‘yahoo boys’ continuously milk white, unsuspecting “clients,” it is ironic that sending money into Nigeria is so easy and flexible. This irony conveys a strong lesson: no process is 100% foolproof. Not everyone would understand the purpose of a system, thus there will always be abuse, and there will always be people who make a mess of the system. But it seems that this lesson is lost on the financial administrators who make these stringent laws. I would suggest a review of decisions and methods.

There must be other ways of nabbing financial criminals. Besides, the ‘real’ financial criminals loot billions out of the country through clandestine processes, especially in this world of offshore accounts and tax evasion. Strict control on money transfer has had little or no effect on these financial criminals, it only frustrates the common man who has good intents. But because las las we go de alright, many have sought ways, no matter how difficult, to still send money abroad and fulfil their desires. Through inquiries and research, I have found out some of these ways (some tasking, others a bit easy) to send money from Nigeria to other countries:

1. Western Union
With its motto being, ‘Fast. Reliable. World Money Transfer,’ one cannot help but question why a lot of folks try to avoid using Western Union, why people still quickly dismiss sending money outside Nigeria as nearly impossible, why a Nairaland user posted: I was hoping someone could help me with advice on sending money from Nigeria to the UK. Western Union is no longer available.

During its heydays, transferring money out of Nigeria through Western Union was still not a walk in the park. One would need to first convert naira—at cutthroat rates—to dollars, pound sterling or euro at the bureau de change or Hausa men wearing caftans with shawls wrapped around their neck. From there, one would proceed to the Western Union agent (usually a bank) where there must be a presentation of receiver’s location, identification and cash. And trust me, this is not a quick process.

2. Domiciliary Account
This type of account enables one hold money in any other currency other than naira. This account that can be operated anywhere in the world through internet banking or MasterCard, and is used mainly to receive cash from other countries. However, it can also be used to send money out of the country.

But a domiciliary account is only necessary if one receives money often from abroad. Different banks in Nigeria have different hassling steps for opening a domiciliary account. These steps often include:

  • Having a normal, current account with the bank.
  • Two duly completed specimen signature cards.
  • Two recent clear passport-sized photographs with name and signature written at the reverse side.
  • Residence permit.
  • Valid identification (International passport, Driver’s License or National ID.)
  • A copy of Public Utility Receipt (not older than 3 months.)
  • An initial deposit.
  • Two references.

Phew! Isn’t this why the writer hates banks?

3. Cryptocurrency
After the crash of Ponzi and multi-level marketing schemes in Nigeria, a new wave hit the Nigerian financial environment: Cryptocurrency. Digital money. The future of money. The revolution of money. The antagonist of fiat currency that everyone loves but is at the same time wary of. Many crypto aficionados have quipped that one doesn’t need to go through the hustles of conversion and crowded bank space to send money abroad. Provided the recipient has a cryptocurrency wallet (especially Bitcoin), which can be opened within minutes, money can be sent in record time.

Still, many are sceptical about Bitcoin and its volatility. As of the time of writing this, 1 Bitcoin is worth a little above $4,000. This was same Bitcoin that skyrocketed to $20,000 in December 2017. So using Bitcoin or cryptocurrency in general as a means of transferring funds requires firm belief from both parties.

4. Online Remittance Services
For some time now, different online remittance services have sprung up to help facilitate the transfer of funds into Nigeria. Using mainly forex exchange rates or rates preset by the company, online remittance services, such as Azimo, do the appropriate conversion online and send the naira equivalent to the Nigerian bank account. Pretty easy. But this is the bane of online remittance services: this sole, restricted ability to transfer funds into the country and not outside it.

Recently, however, there have been news of a new online remittance platform, Ohentpay, which allows transfer not only into Nigeria but outside Nigeria. The platform offers the flexibility and convenience one needs to transfer money just from the comfort of one’s smartphone, thus making Nigerians enjoy, for the first time, a stress-free way of getting their money abroad.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Gideon writes because the pen is not shy, nervous, and does not stutter. He spends his days and nights crafting stories in his mind that, most times, never make it to the laptop screen. And he wonders if his interest in "short" stories has anything to do with his 5ft frame.

1 Comment

  1. Taipeh

    November 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    we mean if Niaj has rely on her thoe day she act and now sef she don graduate no until sef she duam the other way sef.. ok rol your belround ground it tels you!

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