When we are talking of Lagos agberos, we are not just talking about bus conductors with their gruff voices and roll-on starved armpits.
We are not just talking about the bus-stop extortion specialists in their funny white and green NURTW uniforms chasing after danfo buses to collect 50 naira, 100 naira, 200 naira from the drivers and conductors.
We are not just talking about the ones who litter motor parks with marijuana on their breaths and menace in their eyes. We are also referring to the average Lagos indigene. We are talking about the average Lagosian.
If you have lived in Lagos long enough, you have probably witnessed the typical Lagos ‘fight’. It comprises of two mean looking men squaring up, face to face, each man doing everything to appear more menacing than his opponent. If you look at them well, you would be excused if you stop and stare, anticipating a bloody brawl.
Alas, only learners come upon a fight in Lagos and actually stop in the expectation of flying fists and broken bottles. It is a rare sight to see two people actually fight in Lagos. A Lagos fight usually goes something like this:
“Sho fe ku ni?” – Do you want to die?
“Ta ni e?” – Who are you?
“O mo mi?” – You don’t know me?
“TA NI E!” – Who the hell are you?
“Ma se e lese!” I go wound you.
“Ma pa e danu!” I will just kill you.
Before you know it, some oversabi peacemakers will step in and try to pull both men apart. That’s when they will become more aggressive, making rubbish lunges at each other, knowing the peacemakers will hold them back.
The first time I witnessed one of such fights, I was in a bus, heading to Ikeja. Our bus had slowed to pick passengers at the stop. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted two unfortunate fellows squaring up to each other, their faces almost touching, their expressions frantic with anger. I sharperly jumped down from the bus. I cannot miss better street brawl, abeg.
I stood in a corner of the bus stop, watching the agberos work themselves into a frenzy, waiting expectantly for the first push, the first blow, the first blood.
If I lie, make motor almost jam me!
For almost thirty minutes, the idiots faced each other trading words. Words! Something five-year-kids do. In fact, as they were being unfortunate, they were looking around at the bored crowd, as if codedly begging somebody ‘’come separate us nah, una never look belleful? Una no know Bible talk say blessed are the peacemakers?”
I just shook my head as I finally walked away from the clowns. I hopped onto the next bus and went my way. Awon we re.
From then on, whenever I see a crowd gathered around a quarrel, unless they are actually fighting, I just keep walking.
Lagos agberos, make una dey fight with mouth dey go.