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