#SmartLagos My experience with a Lagos professional beggar
Eko o ni gba igakugba…
Lagosians, especially those who are used to public transport system, would understand we all hate to enter those buses, especially the yellow ones for so many reasons I’m not interested in going into now.
However, the inconveniences suffered are equally most often compensated with side shows that are bound to happen.
I was in one today and while waiting for passengers to come in so we could move, I witnessed one of Lagos garages’ experiential sideshows.
Seated second seat from the driver, I ensured I was well comfortable by the window. At least from that position, one could easily breathe in fresh air from the heated up air circulating in the bus due to overcrowding.
I noticed that a woman seated by another window directly in front of me was chatting with a man who was standing by her side of the window too.
During their conversation, the woman was always looking around, as if looking for some kind of assurance from half full bus.
There was a time our eyes met, but since I’ve been warned when coming to Lagos to always mind my business, I quickly looked away and pretended to mind my business. It wasn’t easy though especially when my battery was dead.
An exchanged occurred between them and the man said something like thank you while he hurriedly went his way.
But the woman started stretching around on her seat to see where the man was heading and after some unsuccessful attempts, she gave up.
She looked at me, smiled or was it grimace I saw. Now I can’t remember.
So I resettled into my seat and started thinking of how I’m going to repay all the debts hanging around my neck.
“I talk am!”
I was jolted back to consciousness.
By this time, the bus was almost full and the conductor was shouting for the fares.
It wasn’t a surprise to realise that the noise actually came from the woman.
And trust bus neighbours, they asked the woman what happened.
Pointing to the man she was discussing with earlier, “That man na thief,” she said.
“Wetin happened?,” asked a bald headed man seated beside the driver, in a tone that gave him away as a maths teacher in one of these Lagos public secondary schools.
“Oh Chineke! And my daughter warned me o,” touching a girl in school uniform seated beside her.
Our maths teacher, visibly impatient, demanded again to know why she tagged the man a thief!
She narrated that the man walked up to her window and told her he was going to Sango when he lost his wallet somehow.
According to the man, she continued, the wallet contained all his money and ATM cards.
But I’m very sure national id card too because you can’t miss that in a Nigerian man wallet.
Anyway, “So what happened?” I asked, because I knew I would write their story and I wanted to feature in it. Don’t mind me though.
The woman wailed that such an able bodied guy pleaded with her to give him just N200 as that’s all he needed to get to his destination, which she obliged him.
But it seemed our bus took too long to fill up and the unfortunate guy, obviously didn’t recognise the bus he picked his previous victim, tried to do his business again.
It was too late before he realised his mistake. Bingo! Our bus neighbour sighted him and he scampered away! Walking as fast as he could!
Na so everybody come start to dey talk about how bad the country has become and all that.
But I didn’t join them, because we all know the end of a movie is the most boring part.
I was bored. I just turned and started strategising on how I would engage a nicely dressed NYSC lady seated beside me.
But not before I convince myself that Eko yi lo gba igba kugba ju.
The above was submitted by Victor Ojelabi.
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