These past two weeks have been hectic. Our beloved country was nearly halted to a state of anarchy, thanks be to God for listening to the prayers of the masses and sending us succour. Our liquid gold (crude oil), which has now been the bane of our dear nation was so scarce, it practically grounded every aspect of the economy to a standstill. I’m pretty sure you guys at the other side of the equator heard all about the horrifying ordeal your fellow country people went through.
There was no fuel for organisations to power their generators (we have since lost hope in the Government generating power to the citizens), individuals could not fuel their vehicles, and generators at home, small scale businesses do not have fuel to move about and to also power their generators (generator merchants smile to d bank on a daily basis in Nigeria: it has also been rumoured that, they are part of those sabotaging government efforts in stabilizing the power sector of d nation, so that they could keep reaping us off). Commercial transporters hiked transportation fare due to the fact that they bought fuel at the black market at a ridiculous amount, even individuals are not left out . . . buying a litre of petrol as high as 300/400/500 Naira or more at the black market. I did also, buying 10litres of petrol to power my car as high as 5,000 Naira.
Workers groaning under the hardship to get to work, civil servants are being owed up to 6months salary, and still endure this hardship; oil marketers, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), petroleum tankers’ drivers’ association also embarked on strike (deep sigh), see how unfortunate and bleak the situation was? Telecommunications firms, banks, radio stations sent messages to clients, customers and listeners respectively that they would shut down and apologised for any inconvenience experienced during this crisis due to the non-availability of d liquid gold…Pathetic, isn’t it?
On one occasion, I had to go somewhere with the public transport during this trying times, a staff of the Nigerian police also boarded the same vehicle. When it was time to pay for the fare, he said he was a ‘staff.’ (In Nigeria, once you mention staff to the bus conductor, he won’t ask you to pay because a ‘staff’ is recognised as a member of the armed forces, be it police, navy, army or what have you. I’m sure you remember that). The conductor and the driver were having none of that, they were angry that as a member of the armed forces, the country is in ruins and he/others could do nothing about it, they had to buy a litre of fuel for as high as 500 Naira per litre as against 87 Naira pump price before the no-fuel crisis. The ‘staff’ said how was that his fault that the nation was experiencing such crisis, that he wasn’t going to pay. Other drivers at the bus station and passengers waded into the matter and told the ‘staff’ that he should consider the situation of the economy and that the driver had to buy fuel at the black market. He insulted everyone and said it wasn’t his business that the driver should go and complain to the president. He also threatened the driver that he would call the commissioner of police who was his boss, and the driver will be in a lot of trouble. People lost it and started insulting him that if it was that easy, why didn’t he drive his own car or trekked the kilometres as a lot of people were doing. Why would he subject someone else who suffered to make a living to such agony, that he should pay up, and stop saying such nonsense, He insisted that he won’t pay and he refused to alight from the vehicle. After much bickering, the passengers and other drivers alike calmed the driver down and told him to ignore the ignoramus ‘staff’. Throughout the ride, he was fuming and standing on his facade rights. Never a dull moment in Naija, no matter the situation….heheheee…
In all of these happenings, I was pained as a lot of people also. We complained, poured out our frustrations on online discussion forums, social media outlets, print and electronic media. In between, I encountered a lady who I believed scammed me. This happened before the biting situation of the nation got a standstill climax. I was on my way to get one of my car documents when a lady who had a baby on her back, holding an umbrella to protect herself and the baby from the scorching sun (the sun wasn’t smiling, as I had on my sun shades), walked up to me with tears streaming down her face, and said I should please help her.
I asked what she wanted from me. She said she needed money to complete her journey home, that she had used the ATM, and her ATM card was sucked in. She said she was stranded and she was headed to Badagry. All this happened at Ikeja. Now, Ikeja to Badagry isn’t a smiling journey, it’s hours, including the heavy traffic. I wanted to query her story because I could pick out d loopholes, but I was so moved by her tears and the poor little soul on her back, had to let empathy take hold of me. Told her to stop crying, that I would help with the little I could spare (I didn’t have much, to be honest). I gave her a token that I know would take her from that point to her destination (if she was being truthful). She started praying for and thanking me profusely, told her not to worry, she should just stop crying and get going. Bear in mind that this scenario has been used to trick innocent people out of their hard earned money, with different stories of them losing their ways and being stranded with one situation or the other. I was moved out of pity with the tears streaming down her face, and also for the fact that I’ve also been stranded before and had to ask strangers to bail me out.
Sisi, with all the above lamentations, I had to have the worst encounter with the Nigerian police last week, when I was arrested. The crime? A funny one because I was not ‘guilty’….lolz. Keep a date people, will relay my stressed-filled tale in no time… Keep smiling.
You? Arrested? I already know some of this tale but I’m sure our readers will love to know it as well! Please do share!
Believe it or not, I did not know about the fuel shortages until you told me about it. After we spoke, I went online and read some stories on BBC and Al Jazeera America. The truth is American news outlets are not interested in foreign stories unless it will interest Americans in some ways. So, you see how the fuel shortages in Nigeria and the subsequent unrest would not be televised on my side of the world.
Staff? I can’t believe some people still don’t have to pay for basic things such as transportation. Staff ko Staff ni. And I do not remember that ooo, but that’s no surprise. Sunmade says I have selective memory and I must say, he’s right . . . HEHE. I’m glad you all did not let him get away with it.
And honestly, I keep telling you – YOU ARE TOO NICE!!! If I gave money to every crying person who walks up to me or up to my car, I’d never have any money to spend on myself. What I can’t get over is that you gave the lady money even though you felt she was being insincere. I NEVER give money when I feel people are being insincere. Even when they are sincere, I only give when I can absolutely afford to do so. Unless it’s a close friend or a family member, I am not sharing my last dollar with anyone. Although, I must confess that I have fallen into those traps myself in the past. I remember back in college giving my last $20 to a non-profit organization raising money for measles vaccination in Africa. I stopped giving money to those organizations once I learned most of the money goes to the executives rather than the causes. Now, I give my time over money.
Well, I too was hoodwinked and bamboozled these last few weeks, especially by the car dealership. I took my car to the dealership to get an oil change and replace my windshield wipers. The next thing I know, they are telling me I need everything from my air-conditioner to my filters replaced. I told them to change the break lights and leave the rest. On top of it all, they told me after the fact that the wipers cost $144! I was like for what??? I drive an economy car for a reason ooo . . . so I don’t have to spend $144 on wipers! I told them to remove them and they agreed. In the end, I got the wipers for free because it was their error for not telling me the price before installing them. But I still left paying about $130 . . . and all I had planned on spending was about $60! I just hate mechanics because you never know if they are telling you the truth about the things you need or if they are just trying to screw you out of your hard earned money.
In any case that was that . . . hope your week goes much better than the last few weeks. Love ya and talk to you soon! More tales to come, folks. In the meantime, please do share with us . . . how was your week????