Okeke’s Arrest by FBI: Challenges posed to Nigerian startups

The arrest of the Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Group, Obinwanne Okeke by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over $11 million wire fraud, attracted reactions from people all over the world.

The news shook the entire Nigerian business circle because Okeke was seen to have been one of the most successful Nigerian startups in recent years and in fact, made it to Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 List in 2016.

[READ MORE: ENI’s MD is furious after being linked to Nigerian fraud case]

There is no gainsaying that Okeke’s involvement in fraud would affect Nigerian entrepreneurs across the globe. It is in this light that Nairametrics highlights the challenges his arrest poses to Nigerian entrepreneurs and their businesses.

Obinwanne Okeke

  • Recognition of Nigerian entrepreneurs in the media space: Young Nigerian entrepreneurs have constantly been recognized on the Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 List year in year out. This is as a result of their undeniable impact in the business scene at the early stages of their lives. Sadly, all that recognition may go south following the arrest of Okeke whose rise to fame came from Forbes. Media houses might be less willing to feature Nigerian entrepreneurs in the future. If this happens, it might limit the exposure and acceptability of Nigerian entrepreneurs in the international scene.
  • Lack of funding: One of the major challenges facing entrepreneurs is the lack of funding. This might even be worse as investors will be unwilling to trust any startup that has anything to do with a Nigerian.
  • Mistrust: Many people might get more skeptical about dealing with Nigerian businesses due to this case of fraud. Consequently, not having enough patronage or loyal clients will spell doom for businesses. No business that can survive in an environment where there is no trust. Trust is essential for both investors and customers in order to make businesses to thrive.
  • Delayed or denied visa applications: Okeke’s case might lead to denial or delay for Nigerians who apply for visas to other countries. Usually, visa applications to the United States of America or Europe are expected to be flexible, especially when it’s business-related. That might not be the case any more for Nigerian entrepreneurs.
  • Non-inclusiveness in global programmes: Okeke had been invited to a number of global leadership programmes and business fora in the past to speak on various issues. Nigerian entrepreneurs might not get the chance to be invited frequently to such programmes anymore because the case has put Nigeria in bad light.

[READ MORE: British Court orders Firm to seize $9 billion Nigerian assets over Gas dispute]

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