By Adeola Aderounmu.

I lived in Festac Town from 1977 to 2002. I attended Central Primary School, 5th Avenue and later Festac Grammar School, 41 Road. From 1978 to 1989, I had my primary and secondary education in this once beautiful village called Festac Town. Festac Town is now a rotten place. Like everyother thing in Nigeria, it was not maintained!

There is a lot of history behind festac and there is a lot that can be highlighted regarding the rise and fall of Festac Town. One thing that struck me recently is the local and international reputation of Festac Town as a 419 town.

In 2006, I was driving in my 1986 Honda Civic along the streets of Festac with some friends and they were quick to point out that I didn’t get stopped by the police because of the number plate of my car. How is that, I queried? They told me that if my car plate number was FST and if the car looked very new, the police would have stopped me on the suspicion that I was a 419 perpetrator. FST as I came to know was the preference for the “yahoo boys” to show that they live in Festac Town.

Actually, I had seen images of Festac Town and yahoo boys on the internet in connection to a TV programme that ran on ABC television in the US. So, in a way, getting on ground in Festac myself and having life confirmation from my friends was not absolutely shocking.

I realized before I travelled to Europe in 2002 that while I’d spent many years studying at the University of Lagos and labouring afterwards as a humble teacher to lead a normal life, many young people around me were taking the fast lane. Many young boys and girls did unthinkable things to acquire wealth.   419 was the non-violent part of these unthinkable things.

I will not dwell so much on 419 because it is a dubious process that involves 2 or more parties. The greediest member of this party is the man or woman (not in Nigeria) who wants to reap where he/she had not sown. 419 is a fraud made famous not by Nigerians but by their greedy preys abroad.

In a recent radio programme that I stumbled on in Sweden, they are running a series on Lagos. The next programme will be on 30th June 2007 and they will talk more about Lagos. They have described Lagos as the most dangerous city in the world and Festac Town as the headquarters for 419 activities. Lagos is an issue on its own and the okada and the crazy transport system in Lagos really needs to be treated. I don’t know if Lagos is the most dangerous city in the world. I told my wife that maybe it is New York or Johannesburg-places I haven’t been to! 

419 is not a good thing but it has solved the problems of many unemployed graduates!!! It may have disrupted the future of many youth as well. I know a boy who dropped out of University to concentrate on 419 activities but I heard he is really broke now.  

The underlying issue really is that the government in Nigeria has neglected the issue of state welfarism and many Nigerians just devised whatever desperate means of survival that they can pull together.  In a society where corruption is tolerated and the public servants enriched themselves to the detriment of the society at large, what do you expect? People have resolved to self help and then, anything goes. 

Imagine the ongoing case of the former police boss. Wherever the case terminates will not be the issue, the crux of the matter is that the entire system called Nigeria needs a cleansing. What about the out-gone thieves called senators and legislators who bought houses that belong to the government of Nigeria? How did they have so much money in 4 years? Did they save all of their salaries? Didn’t they spend that on something to keep life going? Where will the new and in coming thieves live?

Festac is my base and I feel so defenseless on this 419 issue because I know it is true. But what has the local, state or federal government done in the last 20 years for example to prepare for the future of this generation of internet rats? What have they done or what are they still doing other than stealing, looting and gallivanting like nonentities? 

May the Glory of Nigeria come, soon!

This short story was published in the Guardian June 20, 2007.

Comments on: "FESTAC TOWN and its 419 Reputation" (47)

  1. Just stumbled on your blog now. Dis is a really sad situation on naija. It just seems the bad always outshines d good on naija, no matter the few positive things dat r still happening there. It’s a shame i don’t speak dutch, would’ve love to listen to d swedish radio programme.

  2. tokunbo said:

    hhmm, yea, The Lost Glory of Festac. We lived there too, once. I was extremely kiddie, so I don’t have any memories. I think its also in Festac where 1-day and 2-day old babies are sold like a loaf of bread. Its shameful you know, but its not only Festac, its all-over the country, from head to tail – corruption has eaten into bones and veins. I don’t agree Lagos is the most-dangerous city in the World. When we begin having gun-shops, then i’ll pack my bag and waka. We can only hope and pray that tomorrow will be better than today.

    P.S, I first thought I was on my blog. 🙂

  3. So much time has passed that we have almost lost the essence of what FESTAC Town was built for . To house people who visited our country in 1977 to celebrate the 2nd African Festival of Arts and Culture. It was to put Nigeria on the World Map. Sad and ironic to see that its now putting Nigeria on the World map for the wrong reasons…

  4. Dumerfem said:

    before i says any things i will first ask my slf a question that why did i use with festac town?
    festac has ruin my life just because of small little amount of money festac town allow me to use with some bad friend which they introduce me to fraud in which those my friend make me to commite that sin to my families which make them to allmost want to kill me
    for more informaton contact 08068720723

  5. oluwasegun adeduro said:

    the yahoo yahoo syndrome is turning young productive nigerians into something else. nigerian police are not helping out in any way. although they are always insearch of them, but this is obviously to collect there own share of the fraud money. adeola cyber crime in nigeria is really a serious issue and should be taking as such.we need to redirect the minds of nigerian youths.

  6. yinka okunola said:

    can get in touch with me,i attended central primary school and festac grammar school the same year as your profile.and aslo i still kept in contact with femi santana.mail me on

  7. Anonymous said:

    What bothers me, is the fact that young adults who are involved in 419 are influencing the young children. The children who are around the 419 must see it as a normal way of life and perceive it to be OK to doop people out of their money. Is there anything the government is doing to put a stop to this? Nigeria isn’t the only country with scammers, either. Every single country has one form of scammer or another, and it is unfortunate that Nigeria has been singled out for it.

  8. i do feel sorry for all of Nigeria ,not just Festac
    really lets get real . If a woman or child have to pound rocks for work to make a dollar a day to
    eat and a teacher gets min. wage please . may the
    Lagos and Festac BE BLESED WITH THE FAVORS FROM GOD. and if someone can’t finish
    collage and has to scam to eat .shame on you ,while all along the Government is racking it up do differently they just have a better hiding place.

  9. well y do most people think it only festac that scams it evry where i have been living in festac since birth i dont think it only festac

  10. I really sad about the current situation in Festac Town because I also lived in Festac and studied in Festac Grammar school. Class of 1986. We need to pray that Nigeria become a better place to live. I really want to go back home with my family. I am currently living in U.S.A . We all need to change Nigeria. It is sad that we drove Ghana out of Nigeria and now Ghana is more improved than Nigeria. In abroad we Nigerian are not really accepted but we tolerant it .

  11. nice job dear fella. let`s keep praying for nigeria and other nations of course. i must admit that the few times i was in festac, i saw them- some strange appearance they were; they dripped money in a frightful way- what you dont nobly work for, you never can know how to spend. 0ne thing we keep ignoring though, perhaps deliberately, is their use of evil charms, spells, i mean JUJU!

  12. wow. Festac has really changes since I left in 97. My family moved to Festac in 77 and still stay there to this day. I lived in Festac and attended Nazareth primary school, moved around from Festac Grammer school to Festac College and then to FGCL. It was wonderful growing up in Festac and most of my yonger fun memories are from there. The 419 or nna guys were also there althoug not as profound as it is now. I do not beileve Festac is or has ever been the issue. The country as a whole needs a lot of prayer. I read a lot of how Festac is one of the most dangerous places and I laugh. Try areas in Mexico, New York, Califonia or even area of Baltimore. Or Travle warnings telling people not to go to Nigeria. wow thats crazy. Well, all I can say is God SAVE and BLESS Nigeria.

  13. Charles said:

    2 bad to see such things written about festac. back in those good old days things weren’t this much bad(419 and the unna guys).we have to pray for the country and not just FST alone.

  14. vincent oluwole said:

    Am a Nigerian,born and live in festac town lagos.
    Festac town is the best estate to live in Nigeria…I am a university student in Edo state…
    I beleive that all this odd comments about festac town are just lies…
    Nigeria is the best land… I LOVE NIGER…

    • thanks richard pls tell them ,those ignorant ipocrites ,that our naija is not the worst place in the whole wide world.we luv our fatherland and we are ready to defend our land .bye from italy

  15. if we must tell ourselves the truth and not be sentimental festac town has become a home for 419 guys who has turn cheating and crooking others as a career, it is very difficult to live here in overseas as a nigerian.

  16. all this and that about festac is not the way forward…i think we should learn to channel our minds and thoughts towards the main issue.which is? working together for a better,vibrant and corrupt free nigeria.

  17. I believe the one commentting about festac town now live abroad, is like he should appreciate the music of late FELA, who dedicated all his life fighting our government to no avail. What has our government do to improve the standard of leaving in Nigeria, from 1960 uptill date the leaders are equal to 419? we citizen leaving the country to slave for the same white men abroad are facing racism day in day out, but home sweet home!

  18. I was an attempted victim of a scam from a person in Lagos. He started to write to me on a dating site, and of course, eventually asked for money to come visit. The stories that he came up with were credible enough, but I knew in my mind and heart that any man or woman of character would not ask for money before meeting someone. I researched for weeks on the internet until I found his profile in about 6 other places. Some of them were other attempted scams (who knows, maybe they all were). When I read about how well-educated people fall prey to these types of scams it makes me sad. We aren’t talking about greed, but matters of the heart. These so-called “sweetheart scams” almost never get reported (the ones who lose money) because of the shame and embarrassment. I hope this man and his “ring of theives” gets caught eventually. Who knows? The next person he tries to “scam” or deceive may be the police or FBI. I can only hope.

  19. roland alozie said:

    it is a big shame.i attented festac grammar school too,this is my home but the guys are making it look like broklin.based in europe but my heart stiil with the basses.419 has no future.

  20. i lived in festac all my life until i made it to london i went to 5th avenue primary school…….. festac college and festac grammer school but the truth reamains that festac is a well known place for yahoozee boiz 419 but as we all know the entire country is in a state… and what ever cleaning has to start from the government until then…. my people man must survive
    am out

  21. I feel FESTAC is a failed town, they are the head of Amuwo Odofin that is FESTAC is a failed local govt. What are they doing with taxes they are collecting. I winder if FHA is sleeping or dead. Abeg if they can’t maintain this town they should pls reliquish it to the govt. This non maintainance is endangering lives in FESTAC TOWN. I think FESTAC needs El-rufai to maintain the original plan.

  22. i waas born and raised in festac went to festac primary school, christian council and then festac college between 1994 – 2000,altghough i have been i the UK for the last 6years, my hearty cannot but go out to nigeria, here in the UK, there has been a hand full of programmes on the BBC and Channel 4 showing nigeria in this light, although i have only heard festac ever been mentioned once or twice, although once people here you are nigerian the first thing they say is 419, how depressing.

    one could argue that nigerians are not particularly making things easiers with respect to sheding this image: exibit 1: the so called Yahoozee song, which believe it or not is known all over europe and the state, and dont be fooled because the so called oyinbo man knows what this means, as they have done their research.

    i don’t know if anyone has noticed that most of this so called 419 boiz were not raised in festac with good values, they just made it abit and bought houses there, exibit 2 : anyone that has lived in festac for the last 25years,look at the boy or girl next door, if they are into 419, ask yourself, “when did he/she move in here” and has he/she always been here?.

    with regards to the government, words cannot express how bad the state of things are in nigeria,bad in my opinion is an understatement………, there is a person on this forun talking about change from the top, one could argue that change starts at grssroot level..take for instance, a house is not built toop down, but down to top from the foundation.

    if asked if you were the president or lets not go far, the governors brother/sister, what will you do? and watch their initial answer…

    if the GENUINE answer given cannot be said in front of the FBI, then its corrupt…

    and i tell you, you will be shocked at the initial answers you will get, if you are GENUINE yourself…

    Then the question beckons….

    How do we effect change?

    1 person doing the right thing, and we all know what is right, and collectively the results will be mind buggling…….

  23. I lived in Festac for 8 years from 1978 (from my days in FSS, Victoria Isaland through my study in the university) to 1986. I made friends, drove and partied at every corner of the town and I cannot remember any police raid or talk of fraud. It was a beautiful place that everybody was proud of. Now, Festac is known as the headquarter for stuppid yahoo idiots. However, these animals are not ghosts; they are individuals with names and addresses. They thrive in their shameful acts because the people around them provide the cover they need. They probably hailed and respected by the people in the community since money is now the only thing we value in Nigeria.

  24. My name is clement and i live in lagos, festac town to be precise.

    I attended festac grammer school and Adeola Aderounmu was my senior by 1year.

    I would greatly like for v to please explain the Term “Yahoo boys” to me pls. And secondly, someone should ask Adeola Aderounmu if he WAS EVER in his life back in Nigeria (Festac town) involved with the above mentioned YAHOO BOYS?

    I will give my right arm to hear his response.

    And Adeola Aderounmu, remember, I KNOW YOU.


  25. All you folks are hypocrites; you talk as if 419 is a taboo. Go ask your sisters if they won’t date a yahoo boy. Fools like you even envy them!!! Corruption & fraud exists in every day to day life of human existence and 419 is just a game. Can someone ever reap what they never sow? So why would I not take from a fool who wants to claim what he or she had not worked for. Greed my friend is the key! You can never con an honest man and when you want something for nothing!! You would forever be short paid.

    . I know the fucker who wrote this piece; and he can never tell me that he had not collected his share of a mugu’s payment… Festac is still a great place! Even if Nepa lights are epileptic; even if the roads are bad because millionaires are being made ever single day in what ever means. It wasn’t because of your plate number that your car was not stopped sir! It’s because only fucking failures drives 1986 Honda Civic. Ask your old man, he is ashamed of the car and he leaves it parked on one spot. FST uncle is the district where the number plate is issued. It has nothing to do with yahoo. You can not be living in festac and then go all the way to Lagos Island to have you car register when you can easy do that at the local government council at 41road.

    You like it or not; yahooze is a way of life… Long Life Festac

  26. Clement and Eze Mustafa, Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate that you guys took the time to read and respond to this piece.

    Reading is a very important activity and it helps to contribute to our knowlegde and experiences.

    Clement, please don’t give your right hand. I’m sure you know the meaning of yahoo-yahoo boys. It was not my invention. AND I have never participated in their activities.. Again, please my brother, don’t harm yourself.

    Eze Mustafa, what does failure means to you. Even many of my students are graduates and they are making it all over the world, from the US to Nigeria and I remain proud of them.

    Car is not a measure of wealth or success. Success itself is a relative term and it has absolutely nothing to do with money or cars. I bought that car just to use for a few weeks and I told my dad to sell it. It is his choice to park it or sell it. Do you have a problem with that? I bought it with my money.

    I have seen cars all over the world, even some from the 60s and 70s that are still very much on the road. AND I don’t have to explain what my successes are to you-I don’t owe you that much. But I am definitely not a failure, not in Nigeria, not now in Europe.

    When I look at Nigeria, our national problems are tied to the way we view wealth and it is absolutely wrong.

    We worship money, we worship rich and corrupt politicians and then more than 70% of Nigerians suffer the consequences. I could go on and on.

    I think you read a wrong meaning to this essay as well. I blamed the people who want to make money from nothing.

    I blamed the Nigerian govt for not paying attention to the youth and their needs. The problem is with the system.

    I hope you guys are not mad at me because we own Festac together and we must do our best to continue to make it a great place.

    In all my years in Europe, I have never thought of living anywhere else in Nigeria but Festac. I could have gone to other places but I didn’t. I love Festac and I love you all. I’m sure you know that.

    I’m also sure you know Oke. We talk about Festac a lot and that no matter what we become in Europe, Festac will always be our base and home.

    We were made in Festac and we got our education, street-wiseness, and experiences from Festac, so we LOVE festac.

    This piece was written for the purpose of education and enlightenment. It is one of the hundreds of essays that I have written about Nigeria.

  27. fst 4 life

  28. austin edo said:

    its funny, the way everyone is thinking . not right up. since 1960 or lets say since the first oyinbo enter naija, dey formed team with all naija leaders of all kind to steal and hide our money. now dey cry about 419 or 19. look, people u reap what u sow. by the way whats its 419 or 19.its all game. anyway the oyinbo,s games and take billions from our naija and africa everyday with help of our fake corrupt leaders. for that its ok with them. but, they crying for few millions they lost to 19 boys. look, my naija people lov 9jah or country in the world. peace and lov

  29. olanrewaju olatunji said:

    Well done this is nice to know that am not the only one thinking about it.

  30. Magbagbeola Adejumo said:

    I love this kinda of thing ,ppl

    first i will like to say i am not getting at anybody with any thing i say,so i dont see any reason why any body should take anything personal…….

    Fact …… I noticed about Nigeria

    i spent most of my life in Niger,finished at LASU. I am very very familiar with festac town…..

    Before i start pouring out my issues … i like to show my concern…..

    @ CLEMENT, Y would u say somebody should explain what Yahoo boys mean to u ?
    Ridiculous…. well may be u are joking sha o …….

    And to some other folks there, Nobody is saying corruption is not everywhere, not only in Nigeria, {Fine}…. I would still say Nigeria is not as corrupt as the states where everything evil is legalized…. And this is our excuse and the only reason for our backwardness …. we try to justify our evil deeds…

    If the white men are reaping what they sow according to a dude there, then keep sowing 419,i guess u wont reap it too some days !!!

    Every country u see was never created the way they are,they must have worked hard to get there……This just explains what we do with our own country ….. which the Lord has blessed like every other successful conutry…

  31. @ Magbagbeola: Thanks for your voice of reasoning, Indeed we still have upright and insightful Nigerians that understaand simple life and Biblical Principles.

    …..Its not rocket science people, u do yahoozee to someone, someone else is going to get you too…..

    And do you know what scares me the most is that when harvest time comes around, they most likely will reap more than the lean change they have taken from others, meaning they surely will be scammed for more….

    And to echo a recent comment, people, if you’re going to cheat, am not condenming anyone, but please dont try justifying it, because its low and shows no class, be a man and own up to what you do……

  32. Mr.Adeola Aderounmu.

    I am sorry for you, its your type that call yourself wise people that make full of your self.Is this comment good for the reputation of our country or not you better think wise.

    I am dissappointed in your person try something good for your country on the internet you scammer.


  33. David Osahon said:

    Just stumbled on this blog while doing a Yahoo search for Nazareth School, Festac Town. I live in Festac Town all my 17 yrs (1982-1999) before i left the country. I can remember the glory days of Festac, the well lined avenues, planned streets, trees…it basically looked like a European village. My favourite part were the double-decker LSTC public transportation buses that used to carry people around.
    Even as a young boy i used to love the traffic lights and the wide roads. I thought we lived in a majestic far off land.

    We lived on 7th Avenue (3rd gate), all the way down by ‘R’ close, and it was always quiet and calm and peaceful. Palm trees lined one side of 7th Ave all the way down to ‘Y’ close.

    Everything started going down hill towards the end of Babangida. Constant electricity was no more, the weekly garbage pickup stopped (yes, we had garbage pickup in Festac), the sewers started to flow on the main roads, the traffic lights all died, and all the playgrounds with our beloved swings and see-saws started getting sold to folks we referred to as “ogbonna-ya”.

    Then after ’93 everything just went haywire. It was as if everything that made sense didn’t make sense anymore. The 419 dudes and shady types started buying up any available land and building huge mansions on them, all totally covered and boarded up so you couldn’t see what they were doing, but we all had an idea. When dozens of people are coming and going everyday with lots of girls and suitcases and so on, you know what’s going on.

    I haven’t been to Festac in over 10 yrs now, but my folks all tell m what a shit-hole it has become over the years. It is decayed beyond redemption and that makes me sad the most.

    • Sister Anne Lally said:

      Hello David, I am trying to place you but I don’t recognise your surname. What years were you in Nazareth School? I was the Headmistress from 1983-1990 and from 1998-2001. Do you remember me? I am now retired and am living in Dublin. I would love to hear more about the Nazareth past pupils. They were all so dear to my heart

  34. David,

    I feel your pain Mate, i was also born in festac the same time as you so i know what you are goin through, man i was there in april after 6years and i almost wept cos man its gone all pear shaped..

    lets just keep praying for naija, e go better!

  35. CHIEF OBI-OKOYE said:




  36. Mr. Adeola, u are not a patriotic citizen of Nigeria, how cold was this story on ur mouth??? Do think that 419 as u call it started in Nigeria?? NO, whatever u see or that is happening in Nigeria was copied from those countries that criticize Nigeria. I don’t even blame them for condemning Nigeria, when u a typical Yoruba man without history and aborigine would come out here and talk nonsense, because u have learnt how to write and read english language.
    America, Europe and Asia even Middle East and many other continents are not the best and they are not better than Nigeria, Yes its true that we have bad government administrators and leaders, but i believe we are still growing and we will get there too, i believe in this country and certainly Nigeria will be great some day, Nigeria is blessed and U Mr. Adeola cannot cause Nigeria.
    Your brother Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo invited and instituted all the foreign and within demons in festac town and called it festival down, what do u expect? Nigerian as of 1977 was spiritually buried and condemned and that was the day the glory of Nigeria was removed, God changed his mind got upset with Nigeria as a country, and the Lagos state government had the guts to also use the tax payers money to support and officiate idol worshiping in Lagos this year 2009 in the name of Eyo Festival which was the burial remembrance of Nigeria, thereby taking Nigerian down the second time, Mr. Adeola or whatever u are called, can u see now that the problem of Nigeria is entirely the bad nature of the Yorubas as wicked tribe.

    Start blaming urself now for whatever guilt u impose on Nigeria, because u are not free and innocent.

    I charge it that in one way or the other you must have contributed to the bad state of Nigeria and u must be judged and condemned also.


    Prince M.

  37. oluleye olaosebikan said:

    austin edo u too know book.its the so called white boys that started the 419 crap and its still going on.for example embassies will accept money from 3rd world countires without issuing them visas wetin be 4 1 10 abi na wetin.using official levels enter people money.their gene!make una forget i don live for europe live yankee oyinbo na the greatest thief of all time.them too like pepe,them fit kill u for one dollar no they blame boys na suffer nobody like the situation.may GOD bless Nigeria.thanks

  38. oluleye olaosebikan said:

    mr prince M with due respect talk to adeola for him reasoning no be yoruba as a tribe cos u too don they critize and na run down talk be that.all of us na one and make we dey reason for better 9ja.i beg u no dey talk about yoruba like that cos na tribe way correct boys come from as well. cheers

  39. i had my primary and secondary education both in festac town. 5th avenue primary school and festac grammer schl respectively. festac is indeed a nice p;lace to live. let us join hands together 4 a better Nigeria.

  40. i am a malaysian all i can say is you people should came and take your people out from our country just last month i lost 250000 usd i even dont have his picture….plz try to help me to get back my money i can do anything to get my money back.
    tis is my number : +60163496693

  41. its not only festac town that has this 419 thing, they shouldn’t look at festac like that.Is it bcos festac is a popular place?

  42. @ Mr. Oluleye Olaosebikan, my bad, ı wıthdrew that statement and ı sıncerely apologıze, kındly over-look the trıbal ıssue. Hope we are now good to go……..

  43. Are people still on this blog??

  44. I love this school so much and is best in festac town and am proud I school there.

  45. Anita Ovbo said:

    I was born and raised in Festac Town. Schooled at Christian council, Central Primary School, Festac Girls’ Secondary School, then my tertiary at UNIBEN. The problem now in Festac is congestion and a worsen epilectic power supply as the trend of 419 is, or seems to begradually passing away. Although I have fallen victim of day-light robbery through charm (I’m serious) of my savings after Nysc at 22 Road, I think these hoodlums aren’t Festac-based cause I never saw them again. The same goes to the Yahoo boys, majority of whom are squatters! They come and go, rubbishing the name- Festac. Shabbily built shops and containers have become their living rooms which you’ll find in almost every street. The next, one will probably hear is that they’re in abroad which is the strife among them perhaps to win admiration from friends and families or be termed ‘success’..

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