My Encounter With Lagos 'Ashewos'

I am now a born again Christian and from now on, I won't be taking my prayer life lightly because I escaped from the 'ashewo's' den by the whiskers. The late Afro Beat Icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti once sang about how trouble sleeps but 'yanga' wakes it up. So it was that I walked into the Lion's den without planning for it and I almost got my finger's burnt in the process.

Two weeks ago, I closed from the office early and decided to go see a banker friend who works around Awolowo Way, Ikoyi, Lagos. My intention was that after meeting with my guy, we would go back to the Mainland together in his car. But unfortunately, my guy was enmeshed in work and would not close till very late.

The only thing left was for me to go alone, so I boarded a cab to the notorious Obalende so that I could connect a bus going to the Mainland. The time was just 8.30 pm. On alighting at Obalende, I took St. Gregory Road towards the Dodan Barracks area and that was I met the shocker of my life.

The road was like a carnival with make-shift beer parlours dotted all along the street. I was tempted to go into one and grab a cold beer as the weather was really humid, but I quickly crunched the urge and made my way towards the terminus.

Every few steps, there were your teenage girls hanging along the road and only a blind man would say they were not hanging there soliciting for men. Some of them were as young as 15 years, all in different forms of nakedness. They were smoking like their lives depended on the cheap cigarettes they were puffing, blowing the smoke sky high, contributing to the humidity in the air.

As I managed to side-step many of them and pushed doggedly towards my way, I heard a voice:

Customer, come now? You no dey do today?

I was taken aback but I did not know the she-devil was actually referring to me. Then another voice shot:

Baby boy, come into this 'shed' your normal short time.

I trudged on, determined to get out of the way fast. But I was not fast enough as a hand was placed on my shoulder and I turned to behold the most scariest masquerade I have seen in my life. But she was actually a lady who would not be more than 20.

Her dressing was definitely something out of some scary Barbie doll animation movie. With her white-bleached hair, she had on a knicker so short it could pass for panties. She had a stick of cigarette hanging on her heavily painted, blood-red lips and the make-up on her face could make 'ojuju Calabar' seem very beautiful.

Oga, come now; I don dey wait for you.

I rebuked her in my mind before firing at her:

Thunder fire you there.

I hardly finished my sentence when she pounced on me, grabbed my shirt and screamed at the top of her voice:

Oga, pay me my money. You think say I be 'Osho free'?

Before I could utter another word, two of her colleagues in hell bounced from wherever they were hiding and surrounded me.

What happened next?

Stay tuned next week because it was not a funny situation.

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