To graduate from Unilag no be beans, something I’m sure those of you who attended the school already know. After four years and one extra year, my department was still having a hard time processing our results, simply because one student wasn’t satisfied with her result and she knew people in high places who could influence the system for her and delay things for the rest of us. The year was 2019 and it was December, and like I’d been doing off and on for the past few months, that day, I went to my department first to check on what was going on and to know what new story they had to say regarding why we weren’t getting processed out.
After the entire unnecessary gist at the department that morning, I eventually decided to leave and go see my stepmother.
My stepmother stays around Sabo, and it wasn’t long before I got there. See eh, some people won’t know their worth, until someone treats them like royalty. See me at my stepmother’s place and they packed meat into the soup that I was eating with the semo. Lord Jesus! Izzit not to take a picture and show my mother when I get home, because she don too see me finish, sotay she no dey serve me food like this? Las-las, I no go kuku show her, because she would just continue swiping on my media gallery until she’d see what she’s not supposed to see.
So, while I was still visiting with my stepmother, I remembered this guy, Segun, who I’d been chatting with for awhile who said he stays at Magodo. I figured I’d use this opportunity that I was out and about to visit him as well. I messaged him and he told me he would only be free in the evening. I said it wouldn’t be a problem. I figured that by the time I left Yaba and got to his place, it’d be evening time.
When I announced my intention to leave, my stepmother counted out 5, 000 naira and gave me. There was something about the way she rolled the money and put it in my palm that made me happy; and then she said I should “please manage this”. So, good food plus transport allowance… I love this woman!
And then I set off for Magodo. There’s this saying a friend has: “This life eh, head wey go chop knock, if e like, make him dey inside plane, e go still chop the knock.” There was every reason for me to just jejely get on a bus and be going straight home to Ikorodu; instead I got on a bus to Ketu, ready to go hook up. I messaged Segun and told him I was on my way and he said okay, that he was also just getting home. A typical gay Nigerian man that I am na – I don hear Magodo, come dey reason working class person. I just conclude say na responsible person I dey go see.
I met Segun on Grindr exactly a month before this day and we exchanged pleasantries and pictures. Then we moved to WhatsApp. He brought up the suggestion of us meeting and I told him that I am always busy and my free time is only on the weekends. He acquiesced but wouldn’t stop bothering me for us to see. One time, he even suggested him coming over to my place and I told not to worry, that he should chill. When I asked him where he stays, he said Magodo, and that anytime I want to come around, I should let him know.
Anyway, when I got to Ketu, I called him to ask how far, where I should stop when I enter keke going to Magodo.
That was how the baba changed the address on me, and Magodo turned to Berger.
I was startled, and was like, “Didn’t you say you stay in Magodo?”
He answered, “There’s a Phase 2 Magodo and you have to pass Berger side to get there.”
I had no way of knowing if this was true or not. (Proper Lagosians, is this true?)
I continued on with the new directions he gave, and when I got to Berger, I was directed to take another bus to one popular bus stop, whose name I have now forgotten, and then to hop on a bike to an estate gate where he would pick me up. The way “Magodo” turned to “inside Berger” in one short trip is something I will never understand. This was however supposed to be my red flag, an indication that this hookup wasn’t to be trusted. But I have always been one to give people the benefit of a doubt, and I was so sure that this was just a miscommunication of information.
How wrong I of course turned out to be.
Immediately I alighted and saw Segun at the estate gate in a singlet, trousers and cap, a mixture of feelings assailed me. He didn’t look quite like the hottie I’d projected from the pictures he sent, even though he was the person in the pictures. I told myself that he’d just come back from work, and so, I couldn’t expect him to be hot. We shook hands and he asked how my day was. He also said he hopes I didn’t find it too stressful to locate his place. Then we started walking into the estate.
When we walked through the estate gate, he greeted a group of guys at the security post. And that was when I started getting the feeling that something was off. There was a second entrance into the estate, and when he greeted called out a greeting to the guys at this entrance, I began to get really tense. And yet, for some reason, I continued walking with him. He was quite conversational, chatting to me about their street lights not functioning and how his place was a little bit further down the street and how we would have taken bike to get to it, but this late in the day, bikes are not allowed to run in the estate.
About fifteen minutes into our trek, two guys materialized out of a corner and joined us.
They weren’t aggressive about it. One of them, the one who I would later peg to be the leader, just started talking conversationally to me, saying, “Calm down, no fear. Na kito catch you.”
I stopped walking. My mouth dried up and my heartbeat began to race. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, were the words banging around in my head over and over again.
The other one took off my shoulder bag from my shoulder and proceeded to run his hands over me, searching me for any other valuables.
The leader was still talking as he did this. “As you see me so ehn, me sef na TB. I be Vers, but na Igbo land wey I go, wey dem do me bad thing for there. So, me sef just vex, say make I dey do my own back. Wetin be your role sef?”
Jeezuz! Was this really happening? Where we really talking about sex roles in the middle of a kito?
“Bottom,” I found myself answering.
“Which tribe you be?” he asked.
“Yoruba,” I said.
He nodded, as though acknowledging that we come from the same ethnicity. Then he switched to talking to me in Yoruba, and I took that as a cue to gain some empathy. As the other one, who had finished searching me, was now going through my wallet, I edged closer to the leader. He looked older than me, and I took his hand and began begging him in Yoruba, saying I am his younger brother and that he should please pardon me and let me go.
He burst out into laughter and said, “My money na 50k. You get 50k to buy your freedom?”
Fadalawd! Where on earth was I supposed to get 50 thousand naira from?
He asked where I stay and I told him Ikorodu. He said his parents were home owners there. Because he was being so conversational, I began to get less and less panic-stricken; was even able to tell him that I didn’t have 50k to give and that there was no one I could call that’d get me that kind of money. I told him my parents were late and that I stayed with my uncle. Threats were made to call my uncle and I begged. Whether they weren’t really in the mood to be greedy or because the leader felt a kinship with me, they decided to make do with what they’d gotten from me, which was my phone, my wallet, my wrist watch, the silver chain my mother got for me, my hand bracelets, my face cap, and even the Chelsea gin I had in my bag, plus the 5k that my stepmother gave me. The money they took from me totaled up to 9, 000 naira and some other minor change.
They gave me 500 naira as my transport fare back home, and I told the leader that it wouldn’t be enough to get me home; he should know, he had parents who stay in Ikorodu. So, they gave me another 500 naira.
I pleaded with them to give me my sim card, but they refused, saying I should be happy I wasn’t beaten, that it was because I cooperated and was Yoruba. The leader said they’d been expecting an Igbo guy, and that they wouldn’t have been so kind had I been Igbo.
They had started walking me back to the gate when one of them noticed my footwear.
“This your high top sneakers fine oh,” he remarked.
“Ha, my brother, please let me wear this shoe home abeg,” I immediately began to beg.
The guy who dispossessed me of my belongings started pulling at my leg, but I struggled, pleading with him to let me be, that I couldn’t go home without them. We spent almost thirty minutes on the matter of the sneakers o. Shoe wey be say I know how much I buy am! I could get over every other thing they’d taken from me, even my phone. But these shoes? Hell no!
All this while, the Segun person I came to see was mostly silent, not engaging in any of the drama.
Eventually, they let me go, stopping a bike for me at the gate and told the bike man to take me straight to Ketu. Awon oloriburuku werey! They see fine shoe of 30,000, them wan collect am. Shoe wey be say na two times I pay for am and na when I wan do shakara I dey wear am.
Several things were on my mind as I was on my way home. I had to borrow some minutes of a stranger’s phone in the bus to call home and tell them not to answer any call from my phone, that I was robbed and would explain when I get home. Then I called Airtel Customer Care and had my sim blocked.
I apologize for not having any personal information of the Segun to send in. apart from his number, 07035426513, I have nothing else of his to send. It’s been several months and I didn’t have that much information about him to begin with. All I can say is, when they tell you to come to Berger, or to come to Magodo and then suddenly do a switcheroo on you, turn around and go back home.
Written by Lanrey