The rise of technology in Nigeria has blurred the line between “tech bros,” digital-savvy individuals, and “Yahoo boys,” associated with online fraud. This distinction has led to suspicions and misunderstandings within the Nigerian society.
Imagine a scenario, whereby a young Nigerian man, confined indoors due to remote work, his laptop screen glowing through the window, the latest iPhone by his side, and an international accent from virtual meetings. This image, typical of tech bros, triggers curious inquiries and odd looks from neighbors, fueled by an uncertain border between legitimate tech work and illicit activities.
Misunderstandings and Confrontations on Tech Bros
Tech bros often face accusations of being Yahoo boys, causing misunderstandings and even confrontations. Remote worker HackSultan shared a neighbor’s suspicion despite his explanations. This phenomenon isn’t isolated; many in the tech industry share similar stories of profiling and labeling.
Stereotyping stems from societal attitudes toward technology, perpetuating the misconception that all online interactions carry a dubious intent. The rise of cybercrime, including online fraud, further taints the image of legitimate tech enthusiasts. This prevailing mistrust continues to shape perceptions of tech bros, clouding their legitimate endeavors.
The Government’s Role in Profiling Among Others
The Nigerian police system’s problems, including lack of infrastructure, technology, and intelligence mechanisms, contribute to profiling.
Authorities’ focus on material possessions rather than evidence of crime has led to the unjust profiling of tech bros. The failure to curb cybercrime and prosecute fraudsters has contributed to the negative stereotype.
Renting apartments as well in Lagos as a tech bro is a nightmare fueled by stereotypes. Many landlords refuse to rent to young men due to suspicions of online fraud. Harrowing experiences range from instant profiling to outright refusal, making the housing search a daunting ordeal.
Landlords’ refusal to rent to tech bros often stems from the stereotype that young people with tech gadgets are involved in fraud. This profiling is amplified by the fear of legal repercussions and government action against landlords who house Yahoo boys.
To combat these issues, proptech startups like VENCO, SmallSmall, Estateintel, and Spleet offer solutions. Through identity verification and occupation confirmation, landlords can make informed decisions about potential tenants. Additionally, using affidavits can help landlords protect themselves legally.
The tech industry’s rise in Nigeria should be celebrated for its innovation and contributions, rather than marred by doubt and skepticism. By addressing stereotypes, promoting education, and fostering collaboration between the tech community and society, Nigeria can bridge the gap between tech bros and legitimate endeavors, creating a brighter future for all.
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