We bring to you the concluding part of the series, 10 Rules Of Survival In Lagos. Remember, Whether you are just stopping by, passing through or you are here to stay, it would be wise to live by these rules if you want to survive, even for a day.
- Beware Of Free Gifts: If you love free things, then you have to stay away from our City of Excellence because here, ‘awuf dey run belle’. In fact, there is no such thing as free gifts in Lagos and if you are one of those who believe you can roll along and live by free things, you will not find any succor in Lagos. Let me give you this example. There was this young man who came to Lagos some time ago and decided to live on free things. What happened was that where he lived, there was a quiet and unassuming fraudster who became his friend. Whenever the ‘smart’ did some scam runs, he placed the amount in the guy’s bank account until the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, cottoned up to the scams and swooped in on the owner of the account. The real fraudster scampered to God knows where, living the poor chap to explain how he came about the large sum in his account. By the time he could explain himself, he had spent two years in detention and by the time he came out, he had learnt a very bitter lesson and had to move back to his village.
- If You Pick A Lady On The Street, Pay Her: There is nothing as dangerous as trying to do a ‘free show’, or like we call it, ‘osho free’, in Lagos because when it is time to pay, you pay through the nose. I am sure you must have heard stories of women of easy virtues all over the streets of Lagos, but a note of warning here, they are not free. If you descend to the level of picking them for the night, be sure to pay them or face their wrath. They are not free because they are into business and they also have bills to pay. They did not come to Lagos to count the bridges, simple!
- Don’t Argue With A Market Woman: The first rule of survival I learnt in Lagos was never to argue with a typical market woman. If you are as foolish as I was then, you will ignore this rule but be sure you are doing it at your peril. Lagos market women have the caustic tongues of soda and they do not hide it at all. When they know you do not understand Yoruba language, they will insult you, your family, and even generations unborn, and while doing this, they will still be smiling and interject each abuse with some friendly banter in a smattering of English language, making you think they are actually joking with you. Do not be deceived, those women are coached and tutored in the art of insults.
- Beware Of ‘One Chance’ Buses: If you are unfortunate enough to leave your house as early as 5 am to chase after buses, please do be very careful because not all the buses are meant for people. Especially if you see an almost empty bus or a bus where other ‘passengers’ are sitting strategically in different scattered positions, take a detour and do not jump into it or else you may likely fall a victim of what we call ‘One Chance’ bus. The driver and other occupants are likely to be armed robbers, aptly called ‘Catch on the Air’ robbers. Their modus operandi is to gather the passengers they can get, rob them while the bus is on top speed and push the unlucky passenger out of the speeding bus. Many have met their deaths through the ‘One Chance’ buses.
- Never Fight With A Lagos Conductor: A very important rule of survival in Lagos is to try, at all cost, to avoid any physical combat with a bus conductor. It does not matter if the guy is the conductor of a ‘Kombi’ bus, a ‘Faragon’ bus or a ‘Molue’ bus, just shun them by all means. It does not matter if a conductor loses five front teeth in a fight with you, he is always the winner. Don’t think you can easily dust them which you probably can, they will come out smelling like roses and people will eventually blame you for engaging in a fight with a low life. So no matter the provocation, let them be. And in fact, if the fight involves the balance of your fare, let them keep it. Be your brother’s keeper!