Nigeria Matters

After the rain fell, I paid for the rain!

The rain had stopped and road side businesses were beginning to return. Enormous traffic congestion was in most roads in the city. I had parked my car by a friend’s place and decided to commute with a motorcycle taxi (okada). I got to Anifowoshe Junction, and water had filled up the whole streets. All the motorcycle taxi dropped their passengers at the junction. They were scared to ride through the flood and get buried by the huge dark brown waters. No vehicles dared to drive through. The side of the flood was filled with people who tried to cross over. Dirt from the neighborhood had blocked the gutters. There was no drainage system to drain out accumulated rainwater from the streets within hours. The residents had to suffer the aftermath effect of heavy rainfall. Young men were there advertising their muscularity and strength. They would offer to carry people at their back through the water, just for a token. They carried men and women, workers and students. I looked around worried and I knew that I must get to where I am going. I contemplated whether to go back or join others for flood crossing. I took the courage and decided to continue my journey. I picked one of the men that looked very strong to me.

“Hey! I want to get to where I am going fast. na how much e be?” I asked the trafficker beside me.

“Ah! na 200 Naira. My neat and clean Oga.” The trafficker replied.

“What type of amount is that, for this short journey?” I asked.

“Ah! Oga, e be like say u no want to get where u dey go?” He replied trying to look for another customer.

“Okay, let me pay you 150 Naira.”

“You fine, with your nice English and u price like woman?”

“Strong boy, nothing in this pocket you are seeing. Charles replied.

“Okay let’s go.” The trafficker willingly accepted.

I climbed at the back of the trafficker. I held his shoulders so I wouldn’t fall down. Half way into the water, he saw another trafficker carrying a young lady. They were both arguing. The lady wants the trafficker to walk fast, but the trafficker refused.

“That is the kind of customer I want and not this bone at my back.” My trafficker said gesturing to the young lady.

“Please quickly take me to my destination before you start dreaming.” I said, focused on getting out of the water.

The trafficker stopped and shook his body as if he was about to fall down.

“My oga, how much are you planning to pay?” The trafficker asked. His question surprised me and I guessed he was about to play smart on me.

“But, we have agreed on the amount” I replied and wondered what the trafficker would do next.

“I just asked you how much you are going to pay.” He asked again.

“Ah! We agreed on 150 Naira” I replied. I expected to be thrown into the brown waters, maybe he wanted a female customer.

“What do you mean by ah? On my back “

“Master I am sorry” I replied solemnly as if I was about to cry, just to make him happy.

“Don’t call me master, because I am not your master.”

“Okay, I am sorry. Please let us finish up the journey.” I knew I didn’t do enough to convince him to continue the journey.

“No, your money is 500 naira or else I will drop you down now!” He replied in a loud voice. Other traffickers turned around to watch us. I began to think that the whole human transport was to throw people into the water.

“You will drop me down in the middle of this huge flood?” I asked in amazement. I hoped the tone of authority in my voice wouldn’t make him angrier.

“Oga I have just told you my amount because I am not a horse that you can command.”

“You know you are not a horse and you carry people on your back like a horse?”

“So you still have mouth to talk? I am tired, get down!” He shouted. Another trafficker heard his shout and made the matter worst. “Drop that foolish man, if he can’t pay you, drop him drop!”

“Don’t mind him,” my trafficker said. I then realized that there was nothing I could say or do for him to change his mind.

“Okay I will pay you 500 Naira.” I said.

“Now you are talking like a gentleman just like me. You know I am a gentleman, even though I am a mere trafficker on floods. It is unemployment that caused it. Do you think I am happy to traffic people when rain falls? I am not. But, you have to pay me now before I will continue this journey.”

“You mean I have to bring out the money now that I am at your back?”

“Yes Oga. I am strong enough, just bring it out.”

I wanted to get out from the flood as fast as I could. I removed some money on my chest pocket.

“What I have here is just 1000 naira notes. How will I get my balance?” I asked.

“Oga, it’s like you are not ready to get out from here.”

I gave him a 1000 naira note and the journey continued. Immediately we arrived at the other side of the flood, I demanded for my balance. The trafficker refused, insisting the balance will be for time wasted while they were bargaining in the middle of the flood. Other huge traffickers were coming closer. I quickly left before it will turn into a serious issue. On my way to another motorcycle park, I began to think how my country had made me loose 1000 naira. Just because of the rain, I had to pay money to cross over the flood. The money we paid when summed together could be enough to maintain or build a new flood drainage system. But, this is Nigeria for me. The natural beauty of rain would cause some to lose money and other unemployment to gain money.

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