Is This Nigerian CCTV Megaproject Doomed To Failure?

I saw a post about a 10,000 cam highway safety project that has recently been approved by the government of Nigeria.

The author has some interesting takes on the subject that I thought might spark some good debate.

Has anyone had experience with large government installs where lack of infrastructure is a key pain point?


Marty, good find. That seems like a pretty comprehensive critique - poor electrical distribution, poor network access, high likelihood of theft/vandalism and poor maintenance seems like a recipe for failure.

On the other hand, it's 10,000 cameras! Manufacturers better run to get their bids in!

Lagos, Nigeria.
Attention: The President/CEO

Dear Sir,

Confidential Business Proposal

Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information gathered from the Nigerian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request your assistance to transfer the sum of $47,500,000.00 (forty seven million, five hundred thousand United States dollars) into your accounts in exchange for the installation of 10,000 traffic cameras. The above sum resulted from an over-invoiced contract, executed, commissioned and paid for about five years (5) ago by a foreign contractor. This action was however intentional and since then the fund has been in a suspense account at The Central Bank Of Nigeria Apex Bank.

We are now ready to transfer the fund overseas and that is where you come in. It is important to inform you that as civil servants, we are forbidden to operate a foreign account; that is why we require your assistance. The total sum will be shared as follows: 70% for us, 25% for you and 5% for local and international expenses incidental to the transfer.

The transfer is risk free on both sides. I am an accountant with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). If you find this proposal acceptable, we shall require the following documents:

(a) your banker's name, telephone, account and fax numbers.

(b) your private telephone and fax numbers —for confidentiality and easy communication.

(c) your letter-headed paper stamped and signed.

Alternatively we will furnish you with the text of what to type into your letter-headed paper, along with a breakdown explaining, comprehensively what we require of you. The business will take us thirty (30) working days to accomplish.

Please reply urgently.

Best regards

Howgul Abul Arhu

Great Reply Matt , Watch out for identity theft.

Excellent work Matt! :)

What I find of particular interest is that according to the 'deal' the Nigerian government made, the entity that is tasked to 'source funding' for these 10K 'traffic safety cameras' (RAPSON) was founded a few years ago with the stated purpose of "Making Nigeria Accident-Free".

The 'deal' appears to be driven by the belief that infractions of the driving code will generate enough revenue to both pay for the initial costs of the hardware, and to sustain on-going maintenance/upgrades.

This is exactly the SOP of the well-known Arizona-based red light and 'safety' cam corporation ACS (now a subsidiary of Xerox).

So now the president of Nigeria (Goodluck Jonathan - one of the best world leader names ever) can promote safety and a concern for his constituents while lining his pockets with cash. Just like we do it here in the U.S. in the name of 'safety'.

At some of the other ( linked in ) sites there were people looking for investers with great promise of returns and then I saw on the news the situation with the oil company & terrorist. I dont think so ! sounds suspect , something does not add up. Make sure everything is paid upfront and plenty of security forces and escorts to the war zone.

Marty, good follow up on the motivation and objectives of the deal. I am very skeptical about the government's ability to collect and their ability to handle retaliation attacks against the cameras. May I remind you of this gem in the UK:

Almost four years ago, it appears that RAPSON (remember, they were the private entity [in this private/public venture] that was supposed to be 'sourcing funds' for the project) advertised up to 30,000 jobs for applicants of all job types. (this number has been incorrectly listed as 300K on a few sites - including the post I originally listed)

Turns out that job seekers were required to buy the forms at a bank to apply for any of these jobs. Cost: N3500 (about $22USD) 30K applicants (and that's if only that many apply) would be ~$660K. A good start on the funding for sure.

Check out the original job listing on a Nigerian forum (and note the very last sentence in the post!) :)

Also, note the comments in the string that follow this post for some insite into how the whole thing went down.

This look more like a scam to me, the letter is very familiar to the one we receive on our island