I learnt ‘419 tactics’ in prison, says Obasanjo


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he learnt the art of fraud, also known as “419” in Nigeria parlance, while in prison.

In 1995, Sani Abacha, former head of state, had sentenced Obasanjo to 30 years in prison, but the former president was released in 1998.

In an interview with New Telegraph, Obasanjo said while in prison, he called those involved in the fraudulent act to teach him the tactics they use.

Obasanjo said the lesson was borne out of his passion to learn from every situation he finds himself.

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“Like I have told you, I learn in every situation. Even in prison, I called the 419 boys to come and teach me their tactics, just to learn. I think I love Nigeria and humanity and my experience has shown me what is possible,” he said.

The former president said his action towards others who have governed the country should not be described as confrontational.

He said he only speaks against the vices in the society, adding that he will be punished by God if he refuses to talk.

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“I won’t call it confrontation; I won’t call it taking on. Again, I will thank God for the perspective He has given me and as I have said to you now. Again, without been immodest, there is nobody who have had the kind of outreach I have had and the type of experience that I have had,” he said.

“I thank God that the prison was not the end of my life. I thank those Nigerians and my international friends who stood by me and I came out.

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“What will be my benefit from government for me to see something that is wrong and not be able to say this is wrong? For me, it is a sin punishable by God.”

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