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HUMOUR COLUMN: People Can Lie

Lagos teaches you three things: 1. It is possible to spend one-third of your life in traffic. 2. Life is hard. 3. People can lie.

Now, I would like to focus on the third one, mainly because of a few experiences I have had recently.

So the first time, it happens you were almost – almost – deceived. You are in the bus, waiting for driver to move and trying to sit with as much dignity as you can in a ‘Danfo’, which I can bet you is not much dignity.

Then the man stands up and screams: “I am blind!”

You are startled. You jerk your head up, and listen to the story carefully – how he lost his job, and how he needs 15,000 naira for eye drops tomorrow before surgery. You want to ask questions, but you see the girl beside you calmly replying her boyfriend on WhatsApp, then you look at everyone else, and they are all ignoring the story. Then it dawns on you. And the next time you sight him in another bus, in another part of Lagos, with a slightly different story with the same theme, you ignore him totally, and answer your own girlfriend on WhatsApp. Welcome to Lagos.

Then you are close to Freedom Park Lagos, beneath a streetlight, mentally preparing yourself for the awaiting 3MB traffic. And a man comes up by your side, in tears. You are worried, but not overly bothered. This is Lagos, there is nothing your eyes have not seen, so it will take more than a crying man to ruffle you. The story begins: He has a child in the hospital who is very sick. The doctor says he should buy these drugs. He shows you a piece of paper with names of drugs written on them. Everything will cost twenty-three thousand naira. He has ten thousand, and he is trying to raise thirteen thousand. You tell him you don’t have money on you. He says ok, give me hundred naira, let me buy bread and take to the hospital. You think about it a little, and then you stop the next keke and jump in, leaving him standing there. Lagos is hard, so it is easy to forget that particular event.

Until one day, you are in Ikoyi, at an ATM stand. And another crying man approaches you with the exact same story. You ask him to bring the list closer, you look carefully at the names of the drugs, and then you give it back to him and walk away.

See eh, Lagos is known for traffic and agberos. But the real MVPs? It is the people I like to call Beggars INC. Believe me, they have an association, and a pattern; the stories are too similar, the manner they operate too.

Yet there are real stories of hardship. The question is how do you know which? I will answer that in the next paragraph.

Just kidding, I don’t know.

Written by Chika Jones, tweets @chika_jones


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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15 comments

  1. The real MVPs???
    Walter ti pami saiye laro yiii.
    But, i have fallen for so many scams in my life. Now, i really cannot tell when a beggar is lying or not. But i try not to ignore all of the children i see begging and still give them under the assumption that, if life was better for them, they would not be on the street begging.

  2. Hahahaha. It’s actually sad how the hardship and activity of false beggars have made us cynical.
    One time I went to work in the hospital, a lady approached me with a prescription, she said the child was hospitalised to do operation the next day but she has to buy the drugs first. I asked to see the prescription and The drugs were Paracetamol, antimalariaantimalarial, multivitamin capsule.
    I just carried the woman to my car, gave her the drugs and told her problem solved, you don’t need money again.
    About two weeks later, she came to meet me again, in the same parking lot but this time with the empty packs of drugs I gave her. How she has no money to buy the drugs.
    I just lost it, I lost it right there.

    • What!? Did she even recognize you?

    • You don’t want to know the one that made me break down. I was at my mum’s office and she gave me 1,500 to buy food. Practically, it was the disappear from my sight kind of treatment . And as i was descending the stairs, i saw a man who wanted to go and meet someone at one of those places in Lagos you know it is at the extreme end of Lagos. I gave him 1,000 when he was asking for 400. In my own Christian sane mind, i have done the bidding of the Lord. I went back upstairs to loot my mother’s bag. This was in the space of not less than ten minutes. As i fully descended the stairs the second time, he was giving another person the exact same story. As in exact exact. I wanted to dieeeeeeeee. Me, i opened my mouth and yelled for a refund. Guess what again, my yoruba people are very untruthful set of people. They calmed me down and made me know that, that is how he use to beg. I was without remedy. That was how i did not get my 1k refund. Imagine. Within the space of 10min. That’s another five star gangster MVP.

  3. The hustle of these dishonest guys will just be spoiling market for the actual beggars na wa

  4. Lol.

    And the ones with real stories of hardship… I dunno.

  5. You left out the ones that tell you they were robbed and are going to Ekpe or Badagry (always the farthest place from wherever they meet you) and need transport fare to continue their journey.
    One of these days, i’ll tell them to enter the bus and I’ll pay for their transport.

    • Small thing, they will enter and after you leave collect the money from the conductor that they are not going again, lol.

  6. Man must wack!!! Especially in this Buhariconomy…

  7. Its been a norm for some years now for me to buy you food if you come with hunger stories, I take you to a food stand instead of giving you money. & for stranded stories, I say enter the bus, I go pay. However some guys disappear the moment you suggest the board the bus.

  8. I was coming home with hubby one night when we just got married, we didnt have much but a guy came with a sob story of having to buy food for his children and we felt for him so hubby gave him 100, they guy then said its not enough that he needs to buy kerosine, I almost collected the money back, I knew then it was a scam. A person that is genuinely in need would be grateful for whatever little they receive.

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