Why you shouldn’t give directions in Nigeria

directionsAbout 2 years ago on one fine Saturday morning, my mum wanted to get to Lagos Island. So being the considerate son I am I volunteered to drive her there. As fate would have it I remembered I needed to withdraw some cash from any available ATM before coming back from our destination. I parked my car and asked my mum if she wanted to wait while I joined a small queue at a nearby ATM round the corner. Her preference however was to wait outside the car but 5 minutes later something terrible happened…

The ‘Stephen King’ version of what happened:

Stephen KingThe last image Jollof had of his mum was of her standing on the pedestrian pavement a few feet away from his car. He walked into the ATM kiosk area where two people were ahead of him. He had no idea that while he was waiting for his turn a car with three men had pulled up to his mum to ask for directions. One of the men in the car who claimed to be a pastor was frantically explaining that a close acquaintance had been rushed to hospital and that he needed to know how to get there. He beckoned for Jollof’s mum to get into the car but she didn’t budge. Suddenly from out of nowhere a pedestrian walked up to the scene.

‘Ah! Pastor! It’s you!!!’

‘Hello my brother. I’m trying to locate one hospital around here’.

‘Er no problem.’ (Turns to Jollof’s mum) ‘Madam, let’s go and help pastor’…

Jollof finally withdrew N10,000 and walked back to where his mum was but she was nowhere to be seen.

The ‘Walt Disney’ version of what happened:

Walt DisneyJollof left his mum waiting by the car while he queued up at an ATM kiosk around the corner to withdraw some cash. The man at the front of the queue must have been using his debit card for the first time because he kept pressing what seemed to be the incorrect PIN. ‘Oh Lord, let his ATM debit card get retained’, Jollof prayed. In the end he wasn’t sure if the person had insufficient funds or just wanted to perform a PIN change. The next person in front of Jollof was hell-bent on taking time wasting to the next level. He must have been one of those ‘techie’ types who liked to use the ATM to pay for his cable TV bill, phone bill and then buy recharge vouchers for every member of his extended family before finally printing a mini statement. ‘AAAAARGH!!’, Jollof thought.

He finally withdrew N10,000 and walked back to where his mum was and they both got into his car.

‘So were you able to make your withdrawal?’

‘Yeah, I was’.

‘Oh good. Hmm’. She pauses and then continues. ‘You won’t believe what happened while I was waiting for you…’

Fortunately it was the Walt Disney version that panned out in real life but many today are victims of hypnosis and have managed to loot their own residences for the diabolical puppeteer, or in other cases, abduct the victim and use them for rituals. In Nigeria no one has to tell you but you need to be streetwise or as we say in these parts, ‘Shine your eye!’