The Online romance was a quiet good experience for her. After a traumatic divorce, Maria Grette was influenced by her friends to venture into a new relationship. But this time around it was online dating. Fortunately, she met the love of her life on a dating site. Online attention, care, and love were a great experience for this professional painter. But to her greatest dismay, Maria Grette was astonished when she discovers that the 58-year-old Danish man (Johnny) with whom she had fallen in love was actually a 24-year-old Nigerian scammer.
Ms. Grette, who works as an art teacher, painter, and art therapist, didn’t give much further thought to the website. Meeting with this engineer who described himself as a Dane raised in South Carolina, USA, a widower with a son in a Manchester university gave a reason for Maria Grette love once more.
The romance was smooth sailing, and both lovers kept on writing each other making greater plans of coming together to spend the rest of their lives. “I wanted to meet him because I liked him,” she said. “He had a way and a sweetness I had never known in a man before. And he was innocent in a way that puzzled me,” said Maria Grette.
Both parties agreed to meet after dating for three months. The man promised to come over to Sweden to meet Maria Grette after returning from a contract in Nigeria. While in Nigeria, Maria received a phone call from her lover to let her know that he was at Heathrow Airport. And to say that he had landed in Nigeria. He also got her to speak with Nick.
Unfortunately, the next call was a bad news telling her that they were in the hospital in Lagos as a result of a mugged and his son shot in the head. He explained to her that the hospital requested €1000 to proceed to commence treatment. He further explained to her that his bank accounts can’t be accessed in Nigeria. So Maria hurriedly went to western union and sent the money to save the life of her potential stepson. Further demands for money to complete treatment made her discover that she has been scammed.
Shortly, she was surprised that this lover of hers disclosed his true identity and begged for forgiveness, calling himself the devil. This 24 years old Nigerian youth explained his story to Maria why he got into online fraud. He said he was pushed to frauding people online because of poverty and lack of employment in Nigeria. Things turned around as the romantic relationship was transformed into a cordial relationship
Ms. Maria Grette was not satisfied with the apologies. She couldn’t afford a visa for him to come to Sweden and decided to visit him in Nigeria. When she arrived at the airport in Lagos, the 24-year-old could not hold back tears. While in Nigeria, Maria enjoyed the company of other scammers. It was a blissful experience for her.
“Thinking on what to do to rescue a situation where healthy, good young men fall into this trap of scamming,” she said. She conceived an idea two years later, in 2011, after she saw an article on a Nigerian news website about an art exhibition. She made up her mind to support African artists and painters. Over the past six years, Ms. Grette has arranged for a number of African artists to visit Europe for art exhibitions, workshops, conferences, and competitions. She has assisted them to source international grants and other funding to advance their work. She has also visited Uganda to give talks on art and she’s looking forward to another visit to Nigeria scheduled for later this year.
Ms. Grette, now 69 and living in Norway, is elated at the opportunity to improve the lives of these young artists. Maria became a philanthropist promoting African artist and their works . She said, “Johnny (Nigerian scammer) has given me more than he took, and without him, I would not have met Africa.” Maria helped Johnny (Nigerian scammer) sponsored his education to the United States and they both keep a great relationship updating their selves on each other’s lives.
Johny now resides in the US working for an oil company in Houston, Texas.