We got to Surulere and parked the truck in
front of the gate.
As I walked to the compound to open the gate
from the inside, I saw some group of four
young men approaching the truck. Initially, I
thought they were passing but when they
stopped behind the vehicle, I knew they had
come for something.
After opening the gate, I walked back outside
and asked the truck driver to go inside. He had
alighted from his truck and was pointing at me
as the owner of the properties. He was
speaking Yoruba Language with the men, which
unfortunately, I couldn’t understand.
”Na you get this load” one of them asked.
”Why are you asking” I responded.
A hot slap landed on my cheek.
”I dey ask you question and you come dey ask
me question on top” he shouted.
I bent down to let the unexpected wave of pain
calm down, then I raised my head again.
”Na you get this load” he asked again.
I nodded in affirmative.
”Your price na N5,000” he said.
N5000 was the reason why the unknown guy
”N5000 for what” I asked.
”You still dey ask me another question abi” he
said as he moved forward to hit me again.
I saw him coming and stepped back.
”Kola, carry one thing there, make we dey go”
One of them climbed to the back of the truck
and brought down my DVD home theater
”OK, I will give you N5000” I said.
I brought out my wallet, counted 5 pieces of
N1000 notes and handed it over to the one he
He was a tall guy of about 6ft with four tribal
marks in each side of his face.
He counted the money and said that he had off
loaded my DVD. As a result, I must pay him
another N1000 for the off load.
No argument, I just handed him another N1000
and they left.
I didn’t look at them as they left, I just touched
the left side of my cheek where he had
slapped me with his right hand. It was still
I tried to recall the last time any body slapped
me. I hate slaps. I prefer boxing or kicking me.
Slapping was like an insult to me.
Kola and his crew had just insulted and
assaulted me. They wanted money and I was
right to ask what the money was for.
It was wrong on their own part not to have
explained why they wanted the money but
sometimes, ethics didn’t work in the street.
N5000 wasn’t such a big deal for someone who
just paid almost N600,000 for an apartment.
My cousin was explaining who they were to
me. He was saying something like Alaye and
area boys but I wasn’t listening. I was angry. I
had heard about Alaye before.
I was angry at the fact that my fellow Nigerians
just slapped some stars out of my eyes. Angry
that they didn’t give me a chance to ask them
what the money was for. They just wanted the
money and they believed that they must get it
People who behaved that way never lasted long
in this life. Life itself was all about convictions.
We must learn from children all the time. If you
wanted to take a kid’s toy or biscuit, you must
give him or her some kind of explanations or at
least give him or her something back.
Those boys tried to alter the natural laws and
people who did that never lasted long. They
made enemies through the use of force. It was
true that I made enemies but it was through
Any of my enemies who tried to do something
else after I had taken my revenge would
obviously be starting a new war.
”Oga, sorry oh, I dey try to talk to them but they
no wan hear” the driver said to me.
He could see the anger in my eyes.
I walked across the road and bought a bottle of
cold water. It cooled my head a little as I
washed my face with it and poured some on
Kola and his group had just won but knowing
who I was, it was only a matter of time before I
find out who they were.
”Carry the things upstairs” I said to the two
labourers who came with us.
The driver helped them as they off loaded the
properties and carried them upstairs.
As soon as we were finishing up, another
group of two boys came.
They demanded for money too but the driver
told them that some four men had taken
money from us.
”Ah, Kola and Ade don come before us here
again” one of them said.
As they turned around to leave, I called them
”Area, eyes wey see go chop anyhow” I said as
I handed them N1000 note.
”Omo You be correct guy” one of them said as
he hugged me with one shoulder.
I told him that my name was Austin and that I
was moving to the area that day. I Also
promised to buy them drinks in the evening if
they called me.
I gave them one of my numbers and took
theirs, then they left.
We finished arranging the properties upstairs
before the truck and its occupants left. I added
N1000 to their money since they helped me
arranged the stuff.
My cousin said he liked the house so much, it
was closer to Lagos Island where he had a
shop and Surulere was a busier area compared
to the Barracks area.
An hour later, he left for Idumota.
I took time to fix the DVD cables and every
other electrical connections.
Headache had set in due to the unexpected
slap. It made me angry more.
”Life inevitably throws us curve balls and
unexpected circumstances that remind us to
expect the unexpected. These curve balls are
the beautiful unfolding of both Karma and the
After settling down temporarily, I called Maria
and told her that I had returned to the place.
She said she was at Ikeja and promised to
come as soon as she returned.
I called Daisy and told her that I had gotten to
the new place. She demanded for the address
but I told her that I was upstairs and that I
would find out later.
I knew the address quite alright but it was time
to start drifting away from Daisy.
I was a coward for not being able to disregard
the Osu culture and went for her but one
cannot have them all. I knew a fight I could
win alone and the ones I could not. The Osu
culture was wrong and so was so many
religious indoctrinations. An individual cannot
fight such forces. It must be a collective effort.
All the above reasons was just excuses to
pacify my cowardice but like I said, we can’t
have them all.
I called Zainab. She wanted to come too.
What exactly was wrong with our school
system? Why would a girl want to leave school
in the middle of an ongoing semester?
Well since I didn’t attend the University, I may
”Everywhere is still disorganized, don’t come” I
said and cut off the phone.
I sat on the large sitting room and drank some
whiskey. The Satellite cable had not been
installed but I had connected the playstation. I
played a war game and rested.
Some hours later Maria called. She said she
had returned and wanted me to come. I took a
bike to her place. She was cooking that
universal food called rice as I waited for her in
the sitting room.
She would come to the sitting room and stole
some kisses, then went back and continued
what she was doing. She also gave me a bottle
of Johnny walker since I had told her earlier
that I liked it.
”Its weekend, where are we going today” Maria
”We are staying here today Maria, let us rest. I
did some work today and need some rest. I
want us to be husband and wife today and
stay at home” I had said.
She laughed out loud as I expected.
”I was hoping to go to a club tonight” she said.
I didn’t respond to that. I had decided that I
was not going anywhere that night.
Kola and his gang had taken my club money
and it was logical that I stay at home.
Yes, the thought of Kola reminded me of my
new Alaye friends. I called one of them.
I told him to come to Masha
He came with His friend and one of the four
guys who had slapped me. We met at a bar
and had some drinks.
The new guy, who was among my beaters
recognized me and apologized for their actions.
They were all the same group.
He wasn’t the one who slapped me and he
He blamed Kola and the slapper for what
happened to me and tried hard to exonerate
himself. I assured him there was no problem.
”I have forgotten the thing” I had told him. He
shook my hand and said that I was a man.
Yes of course, I was a man, women don’t forget
slaps in a day.
After the drinks, I asked him to tell Kola and
the rest of the guys that I had forgotten what
happened. He promised to send my message.
I collected his number too. His name was
Baba. It was apparently a nickname but who
cared, Baba was enough to remember him.
After drinks and meat, I paid N3150. The total
money stolen from Kola and his gang totaled
I had no plan on how to get it back but it was
only a matter of time before an idea came,
even if I didn’t want to do anything, the fact
that I was slapped will never depart from my
brain. Patience, just have patience.
I left them and returned to Maria. She had
finished cooking and had served some food on
the table for me.
”I didn’t say I was hungry Maria. I am not
eating” I had said.
She tried everything possible to convince me
but I refused. It wasn’t about being hungry. I
was too wary of Edo girls. I had heard all sorts
of negative news about them in Europe.
Rumours had it that they charm Igbo boys into
Marrying them in Europe. I didn’t believe the
rumours but I didn’t doubt it either.
If she had not eaten and wanted to eat with
me, we would have done that but to have
arranged food for me behind my back, no.
I told her to return the food to the pot and that
we eat together later. She agreed but when
she returned the food to the kitchen, she didn’t
return it into the pot, she left it inside the
plates. Good, we shall see.
” We all have to distrust each other to some
extent, it is our only defense against betrayal”
Maria didn’t pressurize me to go out that
evening. She also decided not to ask me to eat
the food she left in the kitchen. She was
hoping that I asked first.
On the other hand, I was getting involved with
the area boys. It was only a matter of time
before we meet again. I had decided to keep
funding their drinks until I meet face to face
with Kola and the rest of the group.
During the whole weekend, I lived between My
place and Maria’s. She did the same too. She
would come and stay with me for hours, then
she would demand that I follow her to her
place. We had sex three times during the
I had managed to convince her that there was
no need to go to night clubs all the time.
”We have both gone to clubs many times back
in Europe, we shouldn’t be doing that often
down here. This place is not like Europe, its
dangerous out there in the night” I had said to
her. She agreed after some persuasions.
On Sunday evening, I called Jude my friend
who had gone to Ondo state for the marijuana
business. He had returned to Lagos a day
before. We scheduled to meet the next day.
I called Ifeanyi and asked him to come to my
place on Monday afternoon as well.
It was time to make plans on how to follow
Chukwudi. His two weeks was getting closer
and I had a feeling that he wasn’t doing
Baba, the Alaye called. He said he had
explained to Kola that I was not angry.
According to him, Kola was angry at me. He
asked why fear even allowed me to discuss
him in his absence.
I told him to set up a meeting with Kola. We
needed to know each other very well.
It seemed that Kola had the belief that people
should be afraid of him, probably because he
smoked weed or had a gun. These were the
two things I did too, I smoked weed and I had
a gun too and it was all in a foreign Country.
In Nigeria, someone was trying to scare me
away from an area as large as Surulere. Why
would I live with fear in my own Country.
It seemed Kola did not read the history of
Wasn’t it his fathers who fought for one
Nigeria? Was Awolowo and his squad not deny
my own fathers the freedom to be on their
What was their reasons if not that we co-
existed in peace?
Now a tout had taken the laws into his hands
and was determined to terrorize everyone else.
Like it or not, I was going to meet with Kola
and try to talk some sense into his head. I
would be expecting another slap. He would
have the chance to keep laughing first.
It was true that I had not started giving much
thoughts to Kola but it was also a matter of
There was a case of N200,000 on the horizon,
it required more of my time and concentration.
Kola and his N10,150 would have to wait.
I was already living in Surulere.
On Monday morning, Baba Called me. He said
Kola wanted to see me at a place called Kilo.
There was a place along a small canal where
they smoked weed. I told him I would be there
in an hour.
”There are crimes of passion and crimes of
Logic, The boundaries between them is not
I took a cheap small Nokia phone and took a
bike to Kilo. I had left my Motorola Razor and
wallet at home.
I got to the bridge and called Baba. I had taken
his number from the Razor and stored it in the
Zain simcard on the Nokia.
I called him when I got to the bridge he had
told me. He came out and asked that I followed
him. I wore a short jean, a dirty T shirt and a
canvas sports shoes. It was time for the slums
and I needed to mix up properly.
We got to a small house beside the dirty canal
and sat down.
”Them say you dey look for me, Wetin you
want” Kola said.
Despite the semi darkness in the room, I still
”I come new for this area and I want to
identify with the area boys. We misunderstood
each other the other day and I no like am” I
He liked what I said but also said that my
protection would be costing me N5000 monthly.
The clown was even planning extortion.
”Ah Kola, The money big naa, make I dey drop
like N2000” I had said.
”Wo, I look like your mate abi. If you no fit pay
N5000, just comot here” he shouted.
I agreed to be paying Kola N5000 every month,
a fee I had no intention whatsoever to be
I left them after buying marijuana worth of
N300 for every smoker in that place. My money
in their position increased to N10,450.
During the afternoon, my friend Jude came
came. We discussed what he went to do in the
Ondo forests. It seemed they cultivated
Marijuana in those thick forests and also
packaged them for European markets.
Some good business was going on under my
nose. I would definitely find out more but for
that moment, I had invited Jude for a different
”Some guy is trying to run away with my
N200,000” I said to Jude.
I told him what the money was for. He was not
happy the way things had turned our for me
over the travel documents issues. He himself
had a daughter with a German lady and had
gotten Fatherschaft, a temporal permit that
allowed one to travel in and out of Germany.
He asked how he could help me get the money
”First of all, we need a German simcard. I
didn’t return with mine” I said.
He returned with two German simcards and he
even had them with him.
I called Ifeanyi to come. He was at the wharf.
We drank whiskey and waited for him. When
he came, I told him how the ”operation
Chukwudi” would commence.
First, he would return to Chukwudi and tell him
that his brother will give him a call from
A few days after the call, the bill of lading of
the mitsubishi bus would be sent to him. His
brother in Germany who owned the bus would
be in Nigeria a day or two after the bus had
been cleared from the wharf. It was his brother
from Germany that would pay for the clearing.
I made Ifeanyi go through the plan twice to
make sure he understood the whole details.
Jude would play the German character while I
would stay out of the way and cordinate the
plans. The call from Germany would come the
next day being Tuesday.
For the meantime, I decided to call Chukwudi.
”Hello” he said and kept quiet.
”How is our deal going” I asked him.
”I don’t know” he said and kept quiet.
”Mr Chukwudi, you have been shouting at me
since my money entered your hand. You don’t
really know me. If by friday, you didn’t give me
a comprehensive update of how things were
happening, you will refund my money. All of it
Mr Chukwudi. If not, I will make you work for
me for free and I will punish you”. I said.
”hahahahahaha, you be native doctor abi, You
don’t know me too. there is nothing you can
do. Na me be embassy we dey give visa? I don
tell you to stop calling me” he shouted and cut
the call. I recorded the entire conversation.
After half an hour, I asked Ifeanyi to call him
on his second cell phone number.
”Tell him that you have given his number to
your brother in Germany, the very one you are
dialing now. Make him understand that your
brother would call him tomorrow” I said.
Ifeanyi did as I instructed. The phone was on
”OK, no problem, I will begin work as soon as I
get the bill of lading. I just need the chassis
number and engine number. When the bill of
lading arrive, photocopy it and send the copy to
me” he said.
After our drinks, I gave Ifeanyi N1000 for
transport back to wharf. He had now received
N8000 In total from me, leaving his balance at
In the evening, I drove Jude back to his place.
He suggested that I spent the night there but I
had other plans.
Maria had said she would come to my place
that night. She wanted to spend the night
there. I had given her some reasons that the
house was not yet properly organised like her
own apartment but she insisted that she would
On my way home, I switched my phone to
bluetooth hearing device and called Daisy. She
said she was surprised at how fast I had
changed. I Reminded her that we were moving
on a fast pace and that we needed to slow
down. I promised to invite her to the house as
soon as possible.
I called Zainab, school was boring as usual. I
wanted to be with her again but I needed some
space until the ‘operation Chukwudi’ was
properly in place.
She was the only girl who didn’t disturb me or
care much about what I did and how I lived.
She was good at minding her own business.
I got home and told Maria that I had returned.
She said she was coming.
She came an hour later, with a heavy flask
containing food. I watched her dished out the
rice and when he brought out two spoons, I
knew I was going to eat.
If she had came with one spoon, she would
have eaten alone. However, I went to the
kitchen and changed the spoons.
”I don’t like eating with sharp edged spoons” I
had lied to her.
My cousin was hungry and wanted to eat the
food too but I sent him a text message begging
him not to eat.
”I will explain later” I had written in the
After the dinner, we sat together in the sitting
room and caressed some parts of our bodies.
Maria had suddenly found a bold and loving
man. I figured everything she was doing was
heading towards ” I will like you to be my man”
but I wasn’t ready. I had an unfinished
business with Europe, the second missionary
Journey must be completed before Marriage.
”Time is the only coin of your life. It is the only
coin you have, and only you can determine
how you spent it. Be careful lest you let others
spend it for you”.
The following day was tuesday. I got a call
from a courier service asking if I was
Azubuike. They said I had a package from
Germany. I drove to Nahco complex and got th
DHL. It was the bill of Lading as expected. I
photocopied it inside the complex and drove to
the wharf. I called Ifeanyi and handed him a
photocopy of the bill. He was to call Chukwudi
and hand it over to him the same day. I got
home and told Maria that we were going to the
beach. She jumped up at the proposal. We
drove to her house and picked up her
swimming gears. Not that she would swim in
the ocean. The last time I was at the Lekki
beach, the people who claimed to be swimming
only stayed at the edge of the water and ran
back to the dry land whenever the huge wave
headed towards them. We got to Lekki beach
before 12pm, and settled in a small thatched
house. We hired the hut and two mats from a
young Yoruba boy. I had brought along a bottle
of wine and half bottle of whiskey. We drank
as we laid down on the mats and kissed.
Apparently Maria didn’t care if people were
looking at us. Just like me, she had been to
the European beaches and saw how they
behaved. Although Lagos was not Napoli but
her mindset had been altered just like mine. It
all explained why I saw things differently from
too many Nigerians. Not that I was better but
we lived in a society where someone would
drive past a red traffic light. I had been at a
traffic light in maryland Lagos. The light had
turned red and I stopped. A car behind me had
been blaring its horn for me to drive through
since there was no car passing from the other
side. Apparently, the road was clear according
to his own understanding. Too many things
were wrong with our system. Nigerians needed
serious orientations on obeying the rules and
regulations.. We left the beach around 5pm. It
was a mistake I regretted. There was gridlock
on the western avenue. We had to wait for
over two hours before we connected to
Surulere through Masha. We went to Maria’s
house. It was closer and even more romantic.
She had decorated her sitting room with
flowers. As for my own apartment, despite the
obvious fact that it was new, I didn’t care about
flowers, I never did. I believed that as a soldier
of the street, I didn’t need romantic emblems.
That was for Ramsey Noah, Desmond Elliot and
Emeka Ike likes, not Pablo Escoba and Che
Guevera likes. I never did much things to
endear women to me. I was just myself all
along. No pretence and no boasting. I was just
a bold guy who would tell you that you looked
beautiful if I thought you did or that you looked
ugly if I thought you did. We slept in Maria’s
apartment. The following morning, I went to
Alaba and bought a Laptop. It was time to start
playing with computers. ”Most men would
rather deny the obvious truth than face it”
On my way back from Alaba, I called Daisy and
asked if she was free. She was. I went to their
house and picked her up. We drove to Adetola.
She was impressed with the new place. Unlike
the red rugs in the first apartment, there was
floor tiles in the new one. The kitchen had
been equipped with Maxony cupboard and wall
raft. The rooms were a little bigger than the old
one. Instead of one bathroom, there was two.
The master bedroom had its own bathroom
We spent the entire day together and I drove
her back to Ojo in the evening, I stopped her at
Alakija and asked her to use bike down to her
house. I needed to turn around before the
unpredictable Lagos gridlock would keep me on
the road for hours again.
BMW didn’t know how to cope with hold ups.
My car would start to over-heat as soon as it
spent an hour on any hold up. It was a 2.5
power sealed 6 cylinder/plugs engine fit
enough to power mercedes 911. I wondered
why the Germans decided to use such engine
in a saloon car.
(I guess it explained why I still use the car up
till today. The balance is great. I could do a
sharp bend on 120km. Something I tried with
my 2005 Lancer V-boot and found myself in a
I got home that evening and watched a video of
Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. They were
hitting each other with anything at sight. It
wasn’t interesting, I preferred cable TV but the
satellite had not been connected.
A call came to my phone. It was from Ifeanyi.
He had given the bill of laden to Chukwudi.
I called Jude and told him it was time to call
Chukwudi again. He had called him a day
before and told him about the L300 bus coming
from Berlin Germany. He had used his German
T-MOBILE simcard card which worked in
Nigeria but at a double charge call rate.
After ten minutes, Jude called back. According
to him, Chukwudi had agreed to clear the bus.
He said Chukwudi needed only N20,000
advance fee. They had agreed that the rest of
the money would be paid when he returned
from Germany in two weeks time.
It was all working out. Atleast Chukwudi would
have enough time to give excuses on why the
Visa didn’t come out. But if he got the Visa, I
was ready to give him more than we agreed
but I doubted he would get the Visa. Genuine
people didn’t shout at their customers.
Maria called and said she was on her way.
Maria was fast becoming my unofficial wife. If I
didn’t sleep in her house, she would sleep in
mine. The fun of relationships such as the one
I had with Maria was if we see each other at
intervals, not everyday.
If she kept coming the way she was doing, it
was only a matter of time before we got bored
of each other. Then next thing would be finding
silly excuses to quarrel and the eventual
Well, I braced up for such occurrence but I
needed Maria. I was going back to Europe and
I needed every contact I could get outside
Holland. She knew drug dealers in Napoli and
some other Italian cities. I was sure she knew
people in Roma, Milan and Padova as well,
There was a large concentration of Nigerians in
Napoli, Milan, Roma (Rome) and Padova.
I would play with her as long as she was
around. I knew she would travel back soon.
She had shown me her international passport
which had Spanish resident permit in it.
I asked her to come, as if I really had much
”The supreme issue involving all the others, is
the encroachment of the few upon the rights
and freedom of many”
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