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« My Credibility | Main | Not Sauce For The Gander »

Save The Nigerian Astronaut!

Jim Oberg forwards an amusing variation on the Nigerian email scam:

Date: Sat Apr 3, 2004 3:20:10 PM US/Eastern Subject: Nigerian Astronaut Wants To Come Home Dr. Bakare Tunde Astronautics Project Manager National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Plot 555 Misau Street PMB 437 Garki, Abuja, FCT NIGERIA

Dear Mr. Sir,


I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home.

In the 14-years since he has been on the station, he has accumulated flight pay and interest amounting to almost $ 15,000,000 American Dollars. This is held in a trust at the Lagos National Savings and Trust Association. If we can obtain access to this money, we can place a down payment with the Russian Space Authorities for a Soyuz return flight to bring him back to Earth. I am told this will cost $3,000,000 American Dollars. In order to access the his trust fund we need your assistance.

Consequently, my colleagues and I are willing to transfer the total amount to your account for subsequent disbursement, since we as civil servants are prohibited by the Code of Conduct Bureau (Civil Service Laws) from opening and/ or operating foreign accounts in our names.

Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20 percent of the transferred sum, while 10 percent shall be set aside for incidental expenses (internal and external) between the parties in the course of the transaction. You will be mandated to remit the balance 70 percent to other accounts in due course.

Kindly expedite action as we are behind schedule to enable us include downpayment in this financial quarter.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message via my direct number 234 (0) 9-234-2220 only.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager

The web site appears to be genuine. It makes no mention of stranded astronauts.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 04, 2004 01:27 PM
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Tracked: April 7, 2004 06:31 AM

Jim omitted the original source for this latest variation on the deposed african dictator email scam - me. I got it the other day. Curiously he just sent me an email asking if it was OK to cite me in distributing it.

Posted by Keith Cowing at April 4, 2004 01:40 PM

Nah, I think it's bogus. I mean, I know the whole Nigeria scam is bogus, but this reads more like a parody of it. I've gotten dozens of these things, and this one is simply written too well, with what seems to be some sly humor and some clever construction of a backstory using the names of Russian spacecraft. The writers of these letters aren't usually that adept.

Incidentally, I served on a jury a while back for a case in which somebody falling for the Nigeria scam was part of the background. I had to read through a whole sheaf of the correspondence that follows when somebody takes the bait, and it wasn't pretty. Constant demands for money to bribe this official or pay that export license fee, and of course the promised millions are always just one payment away but never seem to materialize...

In another variation of the scam, I've lost count of how many millions I've won in all the overseas lotteries I can't seem to remember ever entering.

Posted by Dwight Decker at April 4, 2004 08:19 PM

I tend to agree. It sounds a lot like an April Fools joke the time is about right, and Ive seen plenty of jokes based on Nigerian scams, general scams/hoaxes, and computer virus hoaxes (unfortunately, computer virus hoax jokes are often taken seriously).

Posted by VR at April 4, 2004 10:13 PM


Maybe it's time I started paying attention to these scams again. A few years back I replied to a few of these e-mails. Did I reply as "Chuck Divine, US citizen" though? No -- that wouldn't amuse me much. I replied as "Chuck, Vulcan Senator, Ambassador to Earth, Federation of Sentient Planets." I'll bet Ambassador Chuck could get that poor astronaut back.


Posted by Chuck Divine at April 5, 2004 06:36 AM

"Jim omitted the original source for this latest variation on the deposed african dictator email scam - me. I got it the other day."

It's just silly to claim credit for something that you did not even write. This thing has been circulating for awhile, along with other variations.

Posted by Dwayne A. Day at April 5, 2004 11:46 AM

Oh boo hoo Dwayne. A casual glance at FPSPACE shows a regular collection of your posts regarding the fact that you wrote or thought of something first ... I brought this to Jim's attention and he made note of it.

Posted by at April 5, 2004 02:30 PM

Oh boo hoo Dwayne. A casual glance at FPSPACE shows a regular collection of your posts regarding the fact that you wrote or thought of something first ... I brought this to Jim's attention and he made note of it

Posted by Keith Cowing at April 5, 2004 02:31 PM

Yes, silly. Stomping your foot because somebody didn't give you credit for _finding_ a joke that somebody else wrote is silly.

Posted by Dwayne A. Day at April 5, 2004 04:16 PM

No one else stomped any feet Dwayne. Just you.

Posted by Keith Cowing at April 5, 2004 05:46 PM

Guys, don't get so worked up. Internet hoaxes and jokes are ridiculously common. Do a 30-second internet search before saying ANYTHING about any hoax you receive. There's a very good chance it has been around for awhile, but most people won't do the research.

I thought this one was a funny joke. I can't get too worked up for anyone who would take it seriously. I don't see any reason to argue about it.

Posted by VR at April 6, 2004 02:42 PM

on my recent space walk to repair the mir space station i lost my wallett containing 50 million, if the stranded nigerian astronaut can retrieve my wallett he can have the money,
its a 3 inch by 4 inch black leather at 150 miles altitude travaling at 5 miles / second

Posted by stympythecat at April 17, 2004 04:21 PM

What if it's real, with all of the homeland security secrecy & governments & countries that
appear to disagree in public, but secretly work
together in the background, it's a perfect setup, who would suspect a country like Nigeria to be
involved in the secret Russian space station?

Now they'll have to bring him back & rightly so!

Posted by suspicious at May 5, 2004 09:55 PM

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