9 tips to survive in Lagos


9 tips to survive in Lagos

9 tips to survive in Lagos

Whether you are just stopping by, passing through or you are here to stay, it would be wise to live by these rules if you want to  survive even for a day.

1. Welcome to Lagos

1. Welcome to Lagos

As you are driving into Lagos from the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at the end of the boundary between the state and Ogun State, you are welcome by three statues conspicuously telling you that you are now in Lagos and that you must drop every unacceptable habit you picked up on your way because, well, this is Lagos.

That is to tell you that in Lagos you must abide the rules of the city or you are on your own. Here, no one tells you to behave yourself, because you must have noticed right from the first bus stop that you are in no man’s land and you must, like we say here,’shine your eyes’ or else, you will be on your way back to your village.

2. The law officers are not your friend

2. The law officers are not your friend
Any other place, you are told that law enforcement agents, that is, the police, army, navy and air force personnel, are your friends but in Lagos, the likes of KAI, LASTMA, Man O’War, private security, the National Union of Road Transport Workers, even the Mallam guarding your gate, are not your friends at all.

If you are new in Lagos and you miss your way, just walk to a policeman and ask for directions. If you are going from Ikeja to Surulere, you may end up in Apapa due to their misleading directions.

If you are driving and miss your way and see LASTMA officials coming your way, my friend, take off as fast you can because they are not coming to help out of your problems but to compound your problems by imposing different kinds of crazy charges on you, even when they know you do not build cars.

3. Run before you ask questions

If you are walking along the streets of Lagos and you see people suddenly running in different directions, be wise enough to join them. Do not ask questions! Just run for safety before finding out what is happening.

It is better to be safe than be a victim. If you are one of those doubting Thomases, you could well end up in the police cell or even in prison for ‘not running’ when others did. I have seen it happen, so I am warning you!

4. Get off the road

4. Get off the road

If you want to get home alive, be wise enough to get off the road when you hear the siren of speeding convoys, blaring to high heavens, telling mere mortals like us that they are above the law. These could be the police, military, government official, traditional rulers or even private security outfits or the general overseer of a church.

They own the roads and if you do not get out of their way fast enough, you stand the risk of having your car’s windscreen or side mirror broken and if you as much as try to complain, you will be given the beating of your life. After all, you are a bloody civilian, so there is nothing you can do about it.

5. The landlord is king

Guys, this is a very important lesson you have to learn in the art of survival in Lagos. Your landlord is king, no matter the kind of apartment you live in. It does not matter if the house is a dilapidated, decrepit and ramshackle shanty, he is still the owner of the house.

Even if he inherited it from his forefathers who built it in 1902, know that the cost of building materials have increased since then and you just have to pay for the increase. It does not matter if he has not carried out any repair works in the house in the past 17 years, if you cannot pay, pack up, simple.

6. Beware of free gifts

If you love free things, then you have to stay away from our City of Excellence because here, ‘awuf dey run belle’. In fact, there is no such thing as free gifts in Lagos and if you are one of those who believe you can roll along and live by free things, you will not find any succor in Lagos.

Let me give you this example. There was this young man who came to Lagos some time ago and decided to live on free things. What happened was that where he lived, there was a quiet and unassuming fraudster who became his friend. Whenever the ‘smart’ guy did some scam runs, he placed the amount in the guy’s bank account until the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) cottoned on to the scams and swooped in on the owner of the account.

The real fraudster scampered to God knows where, leaving the poor chap to explain how he came about the large sum in his account. By the time he could explain himself, he had spent two years in detention and by the time he came out, he had learnt a very bitter lesson and had to move back to his village.

7. Don’t argue with a market woman

7. Don't argue with a market woman

The first rule of survival I learnt in Lagos was never to argue with a typical market woman. If you are as foolish as I was then, you will ignore this rule but be sure you are doing it at your own risk.

Lagos market women have caustic tongues like soda and they do not hide it at all. When they know you do not understand Yoruba language, they will insult you, your family, and even generations unborn. While are doing this, they will still smile and interject each abuse with some friendly banter in a smattering of English language, making you think they are actually joking with you.

Do not be deceived, those women are coached and tutored in the art of insults

8. Beware of ‘One Chance’ buses

If you are unfortunate enough to leave your house as early as 05:00 am to chase after buses, please do be very careful because not all the buses are meant for people. Especially if you see an almost empty bus or a bus where other ‘passengers’ are sitting strategically in different scattered positions. Take a detour and do not jump into it or else you may likely fall a victim of what we call ‘One Chance’ bus.

The driver and other occupants are likely to be armed robbers, aptly called ‘Catch on the Air’ robbers. Their modus operandi is to gather the passengers they can get, rob them while the bus is on top speed and push the unlucky passenger out of the speeding bus. Many have met their deaths through the ‘One Chance’ buses.

9. Never fight with a Lagos conductor

9. Never fight with a Lagos conductor

A very important rule of survival in Lagos is to try, at all cost, to avoid any physical combat with a bus conductor. It does not matter if the guy is the conductor of a ‘Kombi’ bus, a ‘Faragon’ bus or a ‘Molue’ bus, just shun them by all means.

It does not matter if a conductor loses five front teeth in a fight with you, he is always the winner. Don’t think you can easily dust them, which you probably can. They will come out smelling like roses and people will eventually blame you for engaging in a fight with a low life.

So no matter the provocation, let them be. And in fact, if the fight involves the balance of your fare, let them keep it.


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