I was just reading the article by Maciej Ceglowski on how his bookmarking company Pinboard.in coped with the exodus of Delicious users. I was nodding until I got to this line

A lot of my time was spent reassuring new users that their data was safe and that their money was not heading into a Nigerian bank account.

So Mr Maciej, what does that actually mean? That Nigerian banks are not trustworthy? Have you dealt with anyone before? It might reassure you to know our Central Bank Governor Sansui was awarded the Global Banker of the year by the Banker Magazine

I thought the joke was about the emails the scammers sent. (The princes that want to give you an inheritance you know you do not have). So now, ALL our banks are not trustworthy? Very soon you will want to assure your users that it is not a Nigerian that is the founder of the company.

Let me tell you first hand that it is not fun being a second class citizen on the web.  Feedback from one of my posts let me understand the  reason most black founders do not put their pictures on their about page because they fear they will be judged by their colour as you have judged me based on the country I come from.

What you have essentially said is that the Nigerian founders of Precurio Intranet should pack their bags and go home because your type will not patronise them just because they are from Nigeria.

With 354 votes on Hackernews, I do not know how many people saw that unnecessary defamation,  how many people have been swayed by such statement.

Profiling is a really bad thing. I want to assume that you meant that statement in humour because it would be scary for such a high profile startup to be lead by someone with such mindset.

If you have a specific issue with a specific Nigerian or bank, deal with it. If you have had a specific run-in with a Nigeria bank, call it out. Do not defame an entire nation or spend time slandering out banking institutions for fun.

I would like you to please cross that statement off that blogpost and make a note of apology.


When you have the chance, do listen to this TED talk “The Danger of A Single Story (WARNING! The talk is by a Nigerian)


Some of my European friends have ‘accused me of being unnecessarily sensitive but a HN commenter put it so articulately

I know this is “just a joke”, it’s obviously harmless and no malice was intended (probably). I would be the last person to suggest that any topic is off-limits for humour, and firmly believe we should be able to joke about anything and everything.

That said: Imagine you’re Nigerian. Every time this comes up on the web, someone cracks a joke about 419 scams. For this person they maybe make a joke like that say, once a year. No big deal, they’re not racist or anything. But Nigerians are vastly outnumbered by people that aren’t Nigerian (obviously), so if each of these people makes a once-in-a-blue-moon joke when you mention that you’re Nigerian, that means for you it happens every. Damn. Time.

I imagine that gets pretty old.

6 thoughts on “Maciej of @Pinboard.in, Nigerians Demand an Apology.

    1. I think the idea is that Nigerian scammers tend to have Nigerian bank accounts. And I don’t think he was saying that all scammers are Nigerian—only that he wanted to assure people that their money wouldn’t end up in the hands of Nigerian scammers. Given that a lot of people *think* that scammers are mostly Nigerian, this doesn’t seem like a completely crazy thing to reassure people of.

  1. Oo thanks for the positive spirit, we are all in this together as nigerians, we don’t have any other country that is our own; And what we have, we “MUST” build and protect for now and the future. This also means all nigerians especially the youths must believe in nigeria and be positive minded,patriotic and do all within their power any where they may find themselves in the world to represent nigeria well and defend her against people that mistreat nigerians or “joke” or “talk nonsense” about nigeria like ” Maciej Ceglowski @Pinboard.in”. i want to use this opportunity to say to all the hardworking, creative, intelligent, programmatic etc and positive minded nigerian youths that have the positive interest of nigeria at heart to keep the fire burning and never give up. Rancell

  2. I realize how annoying this kind of labeling can be – I wrote Pinboard while I was living in Romania, and had to use a proxy to reach many sites because any traffic coming out of Romania was assumed to be fradulent. It was infuriating.

    I didn’t mean to cause offense with my article. I thought it was clear that I was alluding to 419 scammers, but you are right that the joke is not really worth the reference.

    I’ve changed the reference to the Cayman Islands, in the hopes of offending a much smaller number of people.

    1. Marcej, it is all good. After a while it gets to you. Like most of my western friends said, we have to prove ourselves not by writing, but by doing stuff. We will.

      I have got a lot of Romanian friends so I presume you are just a nice guy that meant no harm.

      Now you are in the US, don’t forget the other side :).

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