The first time I did business at Ikeja Under bridge, I lost 5k.
I had just gotten paid at Viju Milk where I did slave labour for 10k a month. I was new in Lagos then, at least to the Ikeja underbridge/Computer Village part of Lagos. They told me Ikeja was where I could find used phones at cheap prices.
They forgot to tell me something else: “Guy, open eye o. Na thief full that place.”
So, this guy approached me immediately I entered the market. “You wan buy fone? “ he asked. I said yes. It was an open market. Crowded. Lots of young people stood by the road, openly displaying phones in their hands. I felt there would be a kind of safety and legitimacy in such openness.
I no get sense that year sha.
Let’s just say I paid 5k for a Motorola and started heading home s pride, the kind of pride that comes when you have done something for yourself, welled up in my chest. The kind of pride that a man feels when he just completed his house.
The “dia fada” kind of pride.
Nna ehn, village people, no, city boys, didn’t even let me reach house before clearing my doubts. Switch on the phone, screen stayed blank. Remove battery, wet it on the tip of your tongue and insert it back, mbanu. Remove battery again, blow the phone as if you are Pastor Chris blowing healing during a service, yinmu.
I quickly went back. But, of course, the fool had disappeared. I just stood there, looking around, begging God not to let me be put to shame. After paying tithe and sowing seeds, wee devourer still chop me like Abuja slay queens? Prove your faithfulness, Lord.
Let us just say, I never saw the guy or my money again.
Ikeja Underbridge is where your phone is likely to end up if it ever gets stolen in Lagos. It is actually where your phone will get stolen if you no open eye. A friend was having screen issues with his Samsung and he took it to Ikeja to sell off. Immediately he entered Computer Village, some boys swarmed him, asking if he wanted to sell or buy a phone. He said, Sell, and picked one guy to do business with. The guy said, Oya make we go that corner make I see am.
They got to the said corner. He dug his hand into his pocket for the phone. Nothing. He checked the other pocket. Nothing. In panic, he grabbed the guy and started patting him down. Nothing.
The guy hissed and after cussing him out in Yoruba, he left my friend to carry himself back home.
From that day, when people brushed against him in the streets, my friend would touch his pocket to be sure his phone was there and then touch his preek to avoid Nkan Nbe stories.
If Ikeja boys don’t put the fear of God in you, how else will you receive wisdom?