spaceSpace and Physics

This Scam Email About A Nigerian Astronaut Lost In Space Is Hilarious


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockFeb 15 2016, 23:54 UTC
1317 This Scam Email About A Nigerian Astronaut Lost In Space Is Hilarious

An estranged super-rich prince asking you for some money is part and parcel of the Internet experience. The usual spiel is a fairly dry business proposal where a small advance-fee could return millions of dollars within a few months. But at a time where everybody can spot a fishy email scam, one conman has upped his game.

The email made its way into the inbox of the website Anorak, which couldn’t resist sharing the plight of poor old Abacha Tunde. According to the message, below, he was Nigeria’s first astronaut who was unwittingly left on board a secret Soviet space station when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1990 (actually 1991).


However, he was still getting paid for his years of ongoing solitary service, amounting to over $15 million. A cool 20 percent of that money could now be yours... if you pay $3 million for a return spaceflight to pick him up. Of course, he needs someone else to pay the upfront costs, as the law forbids civil servants to open and operate foreign accounts.

Unfortunately, there has never been a Nigerian person in space nor would it be possible to stay in space since the '90s without many cargo runs in between. On top of that, the email says he's only been there for 14 years yet he was left stranded in 1990, suggesting that it might be old. But, then again, it's probably best not to fact-pick the email too much.

There’s no telling if the email is a genuine attempt at a scam or just a parody. Or even some viral marketing for Matt Damon’s new film where he inevitably gets stranded in space again.

Regardless, we wish you well, Major Tunde – wherever you may be.


Check out a snippet from the email below and see the full version on Anorak.

“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 his trust fund we need your assistance."

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