I started doing some contract work for a publishing firm in Yaba, and since the commute from where I live is murder, I had to temporarily move in with a friend of mine staying in Sabo, Yaba. The arrangement was that I’d go back home on Fridays to return on Monday.

But the Friday came when I was more than exhausted. I’d finished work late. I was starving, and I was feverish from the hunger. I simply didn’t have it in me to go all the way to my place. So, I returned to my friend’s house. Besides, he’d gone out of town, so I had his house to myself. He stays in a service apartment, one of those residential buildings where there’s security at the gate and as a visitor, you have to sign in to see whoever lives in the building and sign out when you’re leaving.

It was around nearly 10 pm when this Johnson showed up. He was someone I was merely acquainted with. He was going to stay the night. We were both lying on the bed, me watching Grey’s Anatomy on my laptop (because even though I was very tired and weak, I wasn’t feeling sleepy). And he was on his phone. He seemed to want to start something with me when he touched the back of my thigh, but I shut that down by flicking off his touch. Not only was I nowhere in the neighborhood of being in the mood for anything sexual; I also wasn’t into him. We didn’t speak to each other; I was too tired to bother, and he, well, he must have felt stung by my rejection, because he sulked off into his slumber.

Now, I am programmed to not trust anybody who I don’t know very well when he is in my personal space. I don’t trust random hookups when they come to see me. Heck, a friend of mine once wanted me to drop my key for him so he’d bring someone to shag at my place and I said no; not because I didn’t trust my friend but because I didn’t trust his hookup. I find it hard to not get suspicious of acquaintances, let alone when they’re in my personal space, and especially when they’re gay. (Sorry, I know this feels like I’m stereotyping, but after 4 years being on the receiving end of a lot of lamentable stories from KDians, I began to find it hard to shake off a growing distrust for gay guys who aren’t close to me.)

And here was one in my space, and I was starting to regret allowing him stay the night. When I did begin to feel sleepy, I fought it. Desperately. I wanted to stay awake till morning, because I had all these horrors filling my mind about what this guy could do when sleep makes me vulnerable. (I remembered an ex-lover of mine who lived in Akoka, who was murdered in his sleep by a hookup who he’d been shunning for so long and eventually agreed to see and fuck). I was so sleepy, but I was fighting it. It was a losing battle. In hindsight, I suppose there were some precautions I could have taken, like take the key of the front door from the keyhole and hide it.

However, eventually, my body’s desperate need to shut down overrode my mind’s sense for caution. Funny how in the seconds before I finally drifted off, a part of me was telling me: “Unplug your phone from your laptop and tuck it under your pillow.”

But I was too far gone. Eventually around 3 am, I slept off.

Only to wake up with a start at around 6 am, to see myself alone on the bed. My eyes went straight to my laptop to see my USB cable attached to nothing.

My phone was gone!

And my phone is like 45 percent of my life. So, what do you do when 45 percent of your life is gone?!

You do like I did. I leaped up from the bed, wearing only a pair of boxers, and dashed out of the apartment, bare-chested and bare-footed, convinced that this Johnson thief had only just left the house and that I could still catch him. I fled down the stairs, dashed out to the gate, where I saw two security men. They knew me. I asked the first one if someone had left the compound. He must have just arrived because he started to say no, when the other one interrupted and said yes. That a tall, thin, dark guy had come out and asked to be let out, but he’d told him to sign off first.

I didn’t wait to hear anymore. I yanked open the pedestrian part of the gate, still wearing just my boxers, and ran out, heading for the major junction close by. I was simply positive that this guy couldn’t have gotten far. I was running down the road, past the curious stares of the few people that were out that early Saturday morning. I got to the junction and began darting from bus to bus, looking in, trying to see if he was in any of them.

I didn’t see him. It was at that time that I began to realize that I was only wearing my boxers and I was at a major junction that was starting to get busy. So, I ran back home and went to the security room to meet with the security men. As they were yapping on and on about how they’d regrettably let a thief walk out, I was going through the sign-in logbook. The guy had signed in with his name “Johnson” and an address in Aguda, and his number, whose digits he’d tried to cancel when he was signing out. But the security man who’d called him to sign out had noticed him doing that and snapped at him, making him stop. So even though the cancellation was there, I could still make out the digits of the number. I asked the security man for his phone to make a call and he kindly gave it to me. I dialed the number. He answered, and I started talking. Telling him to kindly return my phone, that I didn’t want any trouble. He didn’t respond, simply let silence respond to my words.

So, I hung up, asked the security man how I can get to the address. He gave me the directions, and I went back upstairs, pulled on a shirt, put on a pair of bathroom slippers, and without even washing my face, set out to begin my hunt for this guy, a hunt that lasted the entire day. And then some.

So, I was off to the address in Aguda to find the thief who’d made away with my phone. I only knew his name to be Johnson. I also had his number. I didn’t have any phone on me or a watch to take note of the passage of time. I simply had one mission on my mind: find the thief and get my phone back from him. I was so consumed by this objective that I actually considered strongly going to make a report at a police station. I considered the idea, liked it, and kept it for later, after I’d done the best I could.

I got to Ojuelegba, then got on a bus to Aguda. The street wasn’t far from where the last bus stop was, but I didn’t know this. The bike man gestured and gesticulated like the street was located at some point close to Sokoto. So imagine my annoyance when he drove a short distance and deposited me at one end of the street on a charge of 100 naira.

But I was here on a mission. I paid him and began the task of locating Number 1, the number Johnson had entered into the check-in book. I was at the end of the street where number 36 was, so I walked to the other end. I could see Number 2, but what was supposed to be Number 1 (even though it didn’t have a number) was a school. I felt lost. Aimless. Like I suddenly didn’t know what to do. I went to Number 2, was tempted to bang my fists against the gate in mounting frustration. There were one or two people out that early on the street. One lady was opening her gate to drive out; I began rambling to her with questions about whether she knew any Johnson who is tall and thin and dark-skinned. Even as she gave me the “are you kidding me with that question” look, I knew how stupid I sounded, expecting her to have an answer to such a random question. There was another person opening up his convenience shop which was attached to his compound. I approached him to ask him the same question. He was kinder in his response, actually said no, that he didn’t know any such person. There was some concern on his face, as he took in my desperate countenance and disheveled appearance. It had rained the night before, so my sweaty feet had gotten grimy with mud. I hadn’t bothered to put on a belt, and so I kept yanking my three-quarter shorts up around my hips every time it slid down.

As I walked miserably back to the end of the street (which was actually the entrance), I decided to get to an MTN office and block my line. Retrieve it also. I also wanted to call Johnson again. As I got to the street gate, I saw a bank on the opposite side of the road from the street. There was a security man there. I crossed the road to him and began talking to him about using his phone to make a call. He said he wasn’t sure there was power on his phone. As we were talking, I glanced back to the road and suddenly saw “Number 1” boldly printed on a gate just outside the street. The number wasn’t at the beginning of the street; it was at the end. I left the security man and went back across the road. As I approached the gate, a gateman emerged to block me off.

Where was I going to, he wanted to know. So, I began explaining to him how I was looking for a “tall, thin, dark guy named Johnson.” He didn’t know who that was. He asked if he drove a car. I said I didn’t know. He asked if he was married. I told him I was pretty sure he wasn’t. He said that meant he couldn’t live here, because only married people were tenants in the building. I told him the guy could be staying here as a guest, that he should just let me knock on a door and ask. He wouldn’t budge. Said I should call the guy. I told him I didn’t have any phone. He said I could use his, but I’d have to recharge the phone, that he uses MTN. I asked him where I’d buy the recharge card. He pointed into the street, straight at that convenience store with the concerned owner.

I walked back into the street and to the shop. I was going to ask the owner if he’d sell me 100-naira MTN recharge card, when I suddenly felt resentful toward the gateman. Why should I recharge his phone for a phone call that’d probably not be picked, when he hadn’t even tried to help me. So instead, I asked the shop-owner if I could recharge his phone instead to make a call. He agreed. I paid for 100-naira airtel recharge. He handed me his phone, and I made another call to the number I copied from Johnson’s check-in. He answered again, but the moment he heard my voice, he changed his and began telling me I was calling a wrong number. I told him I had the right number, that he should please return my phone to me. I told him I hadn’t done any wrong letting him into my house, accommodating him; I hadn’t done anything to him to deserve this. He didn’t respond. Again with the silence. I hung up. Called my number. It rang and then I got the busy signal. I called his number. It rang and then I got the busy signal. I called mine again. The same thing. I called his again. The same thing.

I gave up.

I returned the shop-owner’s phone to him and asked him where the closest MTN office was. He said it was at Bode Thomas, and when I got outside the street, I took a 500-naira bike to the office. It was closed. There was a GT-Bank opposite it with a security man monitoring the flow of ATM customers. I went to him and asked him the time. He said it was 8 am. I asked the time the MTN office would open. He said 10 am. I had two hours to kill.

I asked him if I could use his phone, explaining to him that mine had just been stolen and I wanted to try and reach the person who stole it. The kind elderly man was instantly full of concern and advice about I should immediately get my account and BVN issues sorted out so that the thief wouldn’t get to my money. He gave me his phone too, without any conditions, and asked me to make whatever call I needed to get my phone issue sorted out. I started again: called my phone, called Johnson’s, called my phone, called Johnson’s. This time, he simply let the calls ring out without cutting them off or answering them. I sent long desperate texts to his line and to mine. I simply couldn’t believe this wickedness. He didn’t respond.

It was at this time that I looked at myself. At my grimy feet and shorts that just wouldn’t stay secure at my waist. I was positive I must have morning smell coming from my mouth and my face must look really hideous. And this was how I wanted to present myself in an MTN office?

God Forbid!

I decided to go back home, to Yaba of course, after I remembered that there was another MTN office inside Ozone. So I could go home, refresh and return to the Ozone MTN office. So I got on a keke to Ojuelegba, got on a bike to Yaba, and was trekking the short distance to Sabo, when I decided to pop into Ozone, just to see if I could get the MTN business done. But their doors were closed, with a sign saying they’d open by 9. When I asked someone in the building the time, he said it was 8.30.

I went on home. Took a quick bath. Got dressed. And went back out. I was the second customer in the MTN office. When I sat down before one of the two customer reps in the office, I didn’t hold back. I told the customer care rep the whole sob story. I needed to gain her empathy so she could cooperate with me the way I needed her to. I had this Johnson’s number and I wanted to know more about him, and I could from his registration details. No MTN customer care rep is allowed to give out such information to anybody but the customer who owns the registration, except there’s a police report involved. This much I know from working there.

But the customer care rep was taken in by my story. She wanted to help. And help she did. She typed in the number and showed me the picture on the registration. It was the thief! Then she copied out the full name, ‘Kayode Johnson Madariola’, and address registered to the line. It was not a Lagosian address – it was an address in Sagamu – but I felt my spirits lift again and the fight come back in me. I had more information than I did five minutes ago. I had his actual name.

The customer care rep also gave me the last five numbers I called on my line. The last call I made was to my friend, Chiedozie. So of course, his number was on the list. I bought a 5700-naira phone, slid my new sim card inside and called Dozie. I needed his help. First, I told him everything that had happened in a very brief summary. Then I asked him to help me make my excuses at the book club meet that I was supposed to host later that afternoon. There was no way I was going to attend the book club meet. Then I asked him to send me a few numbers of some friends who I wanted to get in touch with. Then the ultimate ask: I told him to help me run Johnson’s full name and number through Facebook and get back to me with whatever personal details he could find.

Dozie agreed to everything and hung up. Then I proceeded to text the guy, starting my message with his full name, so he’d know I now knew who he was. The text went on to say stuff about how he should get me back my phone otherwise I’d involve the police, and with the help of MTN, we were sure to get him. I was actually serious about involving the police. I was that dead-set on getting my phone back. Meanwhile, I’d decided to return to Aguda now that I had his full names and see if I could make progress with the new information.

But I was inside the bus at Ojuelegba, waiting to be filled to head off to Aguda, when the thief finally responded for the first time:

He texted back: “Dere is nothing I wanna do with ur phone, meet me at the Maryland Mall by 2pm, just wanna teach u a lesson … not to ignore someone like dey are nobody.”

Ladies, gentlemen and gentle-them, this is why someone stole my phone: because I ignored him and he wanted to teach me a lesson.


Written by Lexus

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Previously on AT THE END OF MY BREATH… * I was starting to make new friends online, some of whom I’ve met and some of whom I haven’t. Dillish was


  1. Isaac
    October 08, 06:53 Reply

    We’ve ran mad in this country finish!??

  2. Babyfwesh
    October 08, 07:51 Reply

    Nigerian gay guys sha. They are a handful Walai talai.

  3. Johnny
    October 08, 08:01 Reply

    Many are mad. TB people. Must you have sex with everyone?

    • Pink Panther
      October 08, 10:50 Reply

      How does this have to do with anything? SMH. You people will pamper any evil, until it happens to you.

  4. Boom
    October 08, 08:11 Reply

    “..No MTN customer care rep is allowed to give out such information to anybody but the customer who owns the registration, except there’s a police report involved. This much I know from working there…”

    U sha want to put someone in trouble considering she was only trying to help.

  5. Boom
    October 08, 08:19 Reply

    I hope we can also hear from the other party too.

    This issues has gone on for too long.

    • Pink Panther
      October 08, 10:47 Reply

      The other party never speaks up especially when they know they’re guilty.

  6. Francis
    October 08, 08:52 Reply

    I just noticed a warning post about this Kayode went up recently but has been deleted. Na because of this “he wanted to just teach him a lesson” BS? ?

  7. Mikkiyfab
    October 08, 11:00 Reply

    Some guys are seriously disturbed honestly
    I don’t even know what to say
    This one weak me.

  8. trystham
    October 08, 18:56 Reply

    As Francis asked, why was the initial post taken down? If indeed he is most assuredly a thief, I don’t see why any rantings from friends and concerned party of this Johnson would make the post taken down. I actually supported the credibility of the tale because it IS KD. Now, even with this, I am not so sure

  9. Ekun
    October 09, 15:27 Reply

    “just wanna teach u a lesson…” What!
    I feel he got scared, when you mentioned his full name and threatened with the Police.

  10. J
    October 10, 10:36 Reply

    Hehehe the pain of rejection, at least you sweat a bit ? The guy get koskos for head sha

  11. Pankar
    October 12, 06:03 Reply

    ..”It was around nearly 10 pm when this Johnson showed up. He was someone I was merely acquainted with. He was going to stay the night. We were both lying on the bed, me watching Grey’s Anatomy on my laptop (because even though I was very tired and weak, I wasn’t feeling sleepy)…”

    You lost me here. How did you even know this Kayode? And if its from your friend in whose apartment you were squatting, why wasn’t he involved or why didn’t he help?

    • J
      October 12, 07:43 Reply

      My thoughts exactly ???

      • Lexus
        October 13, 01:05 Reply

        Of course, J, these would be your thoughts exactly. I have been reading your comments and you have proven to be the type to favour criminals and rationalize crimes as excusable when they are carried out, out of rejection. I just realized something. You must have undergone a lot of rejection yourself for you to empathize with this guy. It must really please you to see yourself in Kayode, to see the thief you most likely are in Kayode. I wonder how many phones or valuables you have stolen from those who rejected you. How many times you told yourself that they deserved it for the way they rejected you.
        Or maybe you just imagine yourself stealing to punish those who rejected you, and now you must support he who did what you haven’t been able to do. You must back up a thief who I’m sure you wish you could emulate. You rejected souls must stick together, i suppose.

        Don’t worry though. Your time will soon come. Your shining Kayode moment will happen and you will get a chance to pay back someone who has rejected you.

    • Pink Panther
      October 13, 00:56 Reply

      Will the information about how he knew the Kayode affect your appreciation of the fact that Kayode stole from him? Besides you’ve only just read the first part. how about you read everything first before you turn into a detective against the victim.

      • Pankar
        October 19, 11:13 Reply

        Well well well how about you always endeavor to pinch yourself back to earth whenever you feel your over active imagination going irrationally overboard? For how else does…
        “You lost me here. How did you even know this Kayode? And if its from your friend in whose apartment you were squatting, why wasn’t he involved or why didn’t he help?”

        …rub off on you as ‘against the victim” , eh babe? And you also had to deify that I haven’t read the whole story? – do ensure you pinch yourself back to earth most times

        Speaking of ‘detective’ journalism or not, are you thinking like most comments are insinuating, that showing you’ ve done proper investigative work will make for less skepticism and make people agree with you more, – which I know you love?

        • Rainbow Nova
          February 04, 20:12 Reply

          As much as I didn’t want to get involved in this and maybe possibly get thrown into this “clash of clans” (I’m just trying to lighten the mood okay). I must say that I’m not happy reading these comments and see brothers argue with such hurtful and insensitive words.

          I understand both your perspectives and yes I do agree more with the victim. Why you ask? Well mainly because it’s “his” story, “real-life-very-horribly-lived-out-dreadful-confusing-and-painfully-but-bravely-endured” story and even if he left some important possibly self-vindicating details, it’s cruel to assume he did after reading this if you do have any amount of empathy or humanity left in you.

          I really understand how much their words hurt you but you really should not have replied. It makes you hurt more and relive that very indescribably dreadful experience, I commend you for going so far and I hope to mature to be brave enough to go 110 miles for my peace of mind and security just as you did. You deserve more than this I know and I want you to know you’re loved and cared for, your story is more than relatable and very enlightening even, stay strong and keep living your beautiful life dear. You’ll live many more peaceful and safe days.

          P.S. I deeply understand the aggressive Nigerian spirit of an insensitive disrespectful person so I kindly warn any unsuspecting probably negative reply to this comment to tread wisely on uncharted waters, I’m not as nice nor patient nor do I tolerate inappropriate selfish behavior.

          Let KD remain a safe haven for everyone, we may have our differences and difficulties but there is no compromise when it comes to protecting family whether right or wrong, I hope the wise heed my warning. Don’t make this more than a misunderstanding.

  12. J
    October 12, 07:44 Reply

    It was unfortunate.

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