Obinwanne Okeke (Invictus Obi) is not your regular criminal. The celebrated Nigerian entrepreneur (according to CNN’s description) appeared to have a great purpose for humanity; the burning drive to transform lives and make an impact. This was not supposed to make sense right? Yes. Invictus Obi is a convicted criminal. He deployed his tech skills to rob many of their hard-earned resources through top-level and highly syndicated cyberfraud group. In a Statement, Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, explained that “Through subterfuge and impersonation, Obinwanne Okeke engaged in a multi-year global business email and computer hacking scheme that caused a staggering $11 million in losses to his victims.”

“Invictus” means “unconquered”. But Invictus Obi seems to have been conquered. Conquered by fear of poverty, he took to crimes. Now, conquered by the law, his “night watch” in a US prison begins. A ten-year sentence is no pretence. It is a firm affirmation of the condemnation of life on the “fast lane”.

A handsome man. Invictus sought to place many young people on the right path of success through diligence. Although by his ugly crime, it appears he didn’t believe in diligence. But make no mistake about it, to command a sophisticated cyberfraud requires an incredible level of diligence.

He was a powerful motivator. But by his criminal deeds, he now appears to have demotivated more people than he motivated. This is the reason it is said that actions speak louder than voice. Talent is never enough. 

Invictus lived by his name, Obinwanne. In Igbo language, “Obinwanne” literally means the heart of a sibling or relative. It figuratively means a sense of brotherhood.

Invictus had the heart to reach out. He reached out. One of the ways he did this was to grant scholarships and also genuine employment in the many businesses he established across various sectors of the economy – agriculture, oil and gas, real estate, telecom, etc. But a good name is better than riches. An old adage which seems to have lost its relevance in a world where wealth is flaunted and celebrated on social media more than character. But light can never be lost in darkness. Good name is light. Bad name is darkness.

Invictus has now began his “night watch” in the “dark dungeon” of the U.S. prison. But now his watch begins, it shall not end until his rebirth, possibly.

Like Nigerian prisons or the so-called correctional centres which seem to be designed to “kill” you, the U.S. prisons appear not to be any better from available report. Of course, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, recently moved to reform the prisons by signing a new law (Nigerian Correctional Service Act) to that effect. But the report by a daring undercover journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, means the task is huge.

In a recent report, it was said that a British Judge refused a request to extradite Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks) because “US prison conditions might make him suicidal.” 

It is hoped that Invictus would be safe. The fire in his eyes and voice supports the perception that, all things being equal, Invictus will be reborn. According to Forbes, he chose the name, Invictus, to demonstrate that he will never give up. Invictus rose above poverty. This is the time to rise above crime, if prisons play their correctional role in his life.


Featured Image Credit: CNN

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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