It is a hot afternoon at the busy Itire express on the mainland. As usual, the market is bursting at the seams with traders and buyers, the former shouting at the top of their voices promoting their wares, the latter pulling and pushing one another as everyone meanders his way through the thick population of sweating bodies in the market.
Among these impatient buyers is my humble self. My name is Jelili and this is my story. Missed episode 1, you can read it here
I recently relocated to Lagos to work after spending 25years in Ado-Ekiti. I was to resume at my new job in Victoria Island at the end of the month and decided to furnish the mini-flat I rented in Abule-Egba prior to resumption. I asked friends and ex-colleagues for the cheapest market to get neat fairly used furniture, so off I went to Itire express in search of my most needful item.
After spending several hours and satisfactorily getting what I wanted, I boarded an open-truck and headed home.
In about 2 hours, after several complaints and murmuring from the driver, we successfully got to Ekoro junction, and then another saga started as he refused to drive into the untarred road with the heavy furniture inside his truck.
“Baba, you have to take me to the front of my house if you are to get your total payment.
This is not our agreement Baba, this is so not our agreement
What is the meaning of this Baba? I swear I won’t pay a dime if you drop my goods here”
We were on this whole issue for another 30 minutes and finally, we reached an agreement. Baba promised to pay some percentage of money to some young men who at that point were already gathered around us to help settle our disagreement. These sets of 5 hefty young men were sweaty, haggard and dirty, wearied by hours of fighting and running after buses to collect illegal money from drivers/ conductors. As they moved closer to me to negotiate their charges, I could perceive a thick odour of cigarette and alcohol from their mouth, and could vividly see four of them with scars on their faces and decaying brown teeth. Left with no choice, I agreed to their offer of #1,000 to move the bought furniture from the junction into my apartment which was about 5minutes walk away.
Welcome to the world of agberos – the Lagos version of a local tout at the ubiquitous porter in Ekoro junction and, indeed, other busy bus-stops across Lagos.
Unsurprisingly, Lagos, being a cosmopolitan city and the nation’s commercial nerve centre, plays host to a high number of agberos than other big cities in the country. They are everywhere in popular Lagos bus-stops, from the many big bus-stops on the Island to the Oshodi, Ejigbo, Ajegunle, Iyana Iba and Iyana-paja bus stops.
Happy with such timely help, these men mounted one furniture each from the truck and were dashing off into the street towards my apartment. We arrived at my apartment and under 1 hour, they were done with unpacking and arranging the furniture in my sitting room.
I was extremely happy they didn’t waste time at all, they placed all furniture at the appropriate place and they were like God’s sent. After they left, I went to the bathroom to have a necessary warm shower while reflecting on how hectic and dramatic Lagos could be, got back to the sitting room to check my i-pad and probably chat with my bae for the first time that day… but to my surprise, my i-pad was nowhere to be found. I searched all around, dialled my number several times but was switched off. Sadly, at that moment, I realized I just got duped and robbed in the most solemn way possible… well as a J.J.C that I truly am.
To be continued!