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Why are Nigerian Hackers So Smart?

Foreword: This is not a post about fraud or 419, if you came here looking for information about that, you will be highly disappointed.

The $1 million question is why are Nigerian hackers so smart? The number of hackers/programmers/geeks in Nigeria is increasing by the day. And a vibrant but small community is being brought to life as was evidenced in the recent Barcamp Nigeria, held in Lagos, Nigeria.

But my main grouse with the hacking community in Nigeria is that it seems to lack any trace of innovation or creativity. Does Nigeria need another “Facebook” ala “Naijapals”, “legwork”, or “Craigslist” ala “Nairalist”, or “Social book marking site” ala “sturvs” ? One might argue that these are localized versions of these sites which strive to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the average Nigeria, but I disagree.

There are a lot of problems in Nigeria that can be solved with the use of technology, rather than wasting man hours and energy cloning popular sites and infringing on IP rights of the owners. Problems like:

  1. Monitoring of governments spending, and delivery of democratic dividends
  2. Unbiased and uncensored news reporting
  3. Educating rural/poor children
  4. Banking facilities for poor/illiterate people

I know that the average Nigerian hacker faces a myriad of challenges, like poor power supply, Internet access, security, VC capital and basic infrastructure like housing, good roads etc which are taken for granted in developed countries. But with these challenges would it not be worthwhile to create stuff that would benefit the hacker himself and the country at large Instead of cloning “Facebook” which adds little or no value to the average Nigerian?

This is a call to arms to the Nigerian hacker to use technology to change the dire situation of the country that he has found himself in.

Aito (Pystar) Ehigie

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6 thoughts on “Why are Nigerian Hackers So Smart?

  1. Nice blog post @pystar. I can identify with you in this blog post and I do agree with you on this one. It’s been said that out of the most dire circumstances do you find innovation. It’s probably about time that Nigerian hackers started being innovative. However, there’s a cycle in innovation that involves duplication so I’ll say let’s give it some time and soon enough, we’ll see some innovation (hopefully). There has to be some leadership however and so if you can innovate and keep innovating, others will catch up soon and start to innovate.

    Despite the challenges, I believe any determined hacker can surmount these challenges and make the conditions less harsh and become more productive.

  2. The imagination to postulate and offer solutions should qualify you as a hacker… right?

    Hackers and phreaks alike operate out of any country. Nigeria is not an exception. The latter “Phreaks” are just thieves; they use learned skills (social engineering) and technology to defeat systems and help others restructure their spending habits and patterns… in english speak… they rob others who trust in “their” technology.

    Your entry is worth a response. It is a well articulated position that adds Fuel to the Rebranding 9ja Effort. It creeps on the Niger Delta issue from a lazy view point… like it or not it is a clarion call for us to individually use our creative to solve our problems then collectively at a granular scale solve the Nigeria problem.

    These nigerianized social network tools might be addressing a business need. Correct me if I missed the point… Geo-Ip is not really handy for us here. Our reliance on alternate make-do technology has handicapped extending the existing social network solutions. I believe we bring something to the table… we can create a millions of virtual workers at wages that will make the Indians envy us.

    These virtual workers if given the proper and ethical training will help fuel the world economy. Some trend speculator describe us as not having the spending power so some Functionalities of their applications can not be extended to us for use.

    Teach my folks to Fish and not hand us Fish.
    Join us in our musical #mocumentary @ curing ourselves of Ignorance in my hometown Ahaba. We share strategies to create and sell your music, writing and all creative stuff just like a master of simple living does.

    Please keep the spirit alive. 1Luv.

    Fred Bardy
    Music Maker & Information Strategist
    http://www.efany.com
    http://www.twitter.com/fredbardy
    http://www.myspace.com/kowac8

  3. Pingback: Web 2.0 and the Rest of Us (The Nigerian story) « Random Thoughts

  4. Pingback: Building a World Class Startup (The Nigerian story) « Random Thoughts

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