There's a funny scene in an episode of Series 2 of BBC's con artist programme Hustle. Con man Danny has so many different mobile phones, each one used for a different persona. It obviously helps, if one is running several cons simultaneously, to use a different individual persona for each con. He has labels on the back of each phone, so when it rang, he would look at the label, answer and say, "How are you, love? I have a haemorrhoidectomy to perform" - he's definitely a surgeon. Or he might say, "Sorry I haven't returned your calls, positively busy around here, old chap. I've been shooting peasants. Forgive me, did I say peasants? I meant pheasants. Don't get me wrong, we do shoot peasants as well, but only in winter when they try to steal grain from the silo"- landed gentry, methinks.
Meanwhile, back on earth... Listen to this on PM, fast forward to 50 minutes into the programme. You can tell that 1) he had just woken up and was trying to figure out which of his numerous scams the call was about, and 2) he is so blatantly Nigerian.
In today's Guardian, philosopher Julian Baggini attempts to understand NFA secretary general Fanny Amun's (picture) endorsement of bribes. This reminds me of the first time I realised how much work had to be done to make Nigeria a "normal" country. The man sitting beside me in the plane was a software engineer, trained at a top Jesuit college in Bibleland, Texas, or was it Bibleopia, Virginia? I forget. He schooled me on the ethics of Nigerian day-to-day life. According to him, there was nothing wrong with accepting bribes. A bribe is - and these were his words - "an incentive" for one to do their job. Imagine that, an incentive to do something you're already paid to do. I know what you're thinking. Do they actually make people like this? Apparently so.