Happy New Year, Sabinews Fam- that it is a new calendar year doesn’t mean our dear Lagos is brand new.
Still same ole, same ole. And if there is one thing we can all agree about Lagos it is that Lagos is like an abusive spouse.
This city assaults us all daily. It is difficult to leave your house in Lagos and not return home unscathed either physically or mentally. The mental part is even worse, Lagos pushes people to lose their minds but would we leave? Nope. After a series of assaults, Lagos like the abusive spouse that it is, will do something nice to us and we forget about all the abuse until next time.
I am still learning to deal with this city but here are a few ways I cope, it’s a short list of dos and don’ts:
1. Don’t ask people for directions– One of the worse things that can happen to you in this Lagos is to get lost in the middle of a place like say Oshodi. Lagosians are ITKs they cannot simply say I don’t know, they will give you directions to places they haven’t heard of all their life. And as you are trying to find your way, the criminals will see the lost look on your face and do you something. They can sense it. Before leaving for a place you don’t know, use maps, look out for landmarks, ask trusted friends for directions but if you get lost in a shady place instead of asking random people along the road for directions retrace your steps or go back to the nearest bus stop you are familiar with and ask people there.
2. Don’t run cross the expressway– if you are carless like yours truly, do not run across expressways. Those pedestrian bridges are not accessories, and climbing them is a good form of exercise. Do not cross the expressways, too many people have been killed trying to cross expressways. However, make sure the bridge you want to use is in good shape. Also if it is late and you can’t see people on the bridge best to be patient and cross the roads, o. Miscreants prowl those bridges looking for people to rob. Mentally unstable people also reside on those bridges especially at night and sometimes they can be violent.
3. Don’t allow the spirit of Eko kill you– They say every city has a spirit that controls it. In Lagos it is that of impatience. My default state is “I cannot come and go and kill” myself but a few months in Lagos I was jumping into moving buses not like I had anything to go do at home but I was just in a hurry. After narrowly escaping two accidents I learnt to stay calm. Leave home early for meetings/work, but if you are late best to accept your fate and be late because dead people don’t have jobs
4. Don’t rent a house during the dry season, finding a house is so stressful but don’t let the stress make you do something stupid like renting a place during the dry season. If you have to please ask people around for flooding conditions. Trust me you will sleep in the office when it starts raining and your house becomes a swimming pool. Also go see the place on a Sunday. This past year I almost went mad, I rented a place flanked by five churches, it is safe to say I lived in a witch free zone but the noise pollution is something else. I wake up on Monday mornings to things like ‘holy ghost fire roar! Burn all my enemies,’ or chants of ‘Jesu oluwa wa, amin amin amin l’oruko Jeeeesu!.’ SMH I have learnt all the prayers subconsciously. Fridays are worse because of all night services. Sundays went from being my favorite to my least fav day. It was pure torture.
5. Be conscious of your environment at all times, stay alert- Lagos is home to all of Nigeria’s criminals both corporate and the local thieves. I don’t even know how to avoid these guys becausd they are always on the prowl, a step or two above you, always plotting ways to relieve you of your hard earned money. Their latest trick is to board buses with people rushing to their offices in the morning then they rob them using POS machines- they will empty your account.
6. Going out late at night- going out with the crew at night? Make a reliable plan on how you are going to get home or a place to sleep if things get out of hand. Like I said above, this city is the headquarters of criminals in Nigeria, don’t be an easy victim. If plans on getting home are not definite, stay in your house. You can TGIF at home. Better safe than sorry.
7. Don’t be greedy- Everybody wants to make money. We all want to live in luxury apartments and enjoy the finer things of life abi. Why else are we choking in this congested city? But please the process doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t let greed kill you. Nobody will double your money. No foreigner who doesn’t know how to speak English will ask you to help them change their dollars. Don’t be in a hurry to make quick money (it doesn’t last anyway) if not one day you will wake up and you are in someone’s wardrobe k8ddig9 spitting money!
8. Pray – Wondering what prayer has got to do with living in Lagos? Anything can happen to you anyday, anytime, anywhere. ÝģThere is no government, security agencies are not there to protect you. Container can fall on your head, police can make you go missing because of N50, just anything can happen and nobody will be held accountable. So your only protection in Lagos is the Almighty.
Now go on and be safe. Have a good year folks.