Monday, 10 September 2018

THEFT!



Azeezah’s POV
It was in the evening and thirty minutes had passed the closing time. I was so engrossed in my activity that I didn’t realize that I had spent an extra thirty minutes.

I concluded my task and shut down my desktop. I arranged my bag and placed the laptop in it. Waving at the colleagues left in the office, I set forth for the road. I had to get to the final bus stop on time and buy food provisions for the house.

Standing by the roadside, I waited for more than five minutes until a rickshaw (keke maruwa) came to a halt. It was another twenty minutes drive to the park and so, I spent time reading an e-book from my phone and glancing at the workers that had just closed from work. The men were mostly dressed in a black suit and trousers while the women wore a chiffon top with a pencil-mouth skirt.

I glanced at my ankle-length black shirt with a white shirt as I thought of what to wear the next day. When we arrived at the bus stop, I walked down the road and crossed the bridge. I hadn’t stood for minutes that I entered a yellow danfo bus.

It was another two hours drive to the final bus stop. In the evening, there was always a stream of heavy traffic and there were times that we spent more than ten minutes in the same spot. After the ‘long snail-crawling,’ I got to my final destination at around 7:30 pm.

I stopped by the market to buy food items…the busy market that could hardly contain the passersby and buyers that flocked it environs. The market was the definition of a ‘jam-packed area.’ Traders and their goods were clustered together, and it altered my stance, making me to rest all my weight on one leg.

Leave my corner oo,’ a trader will start to yell when a part of someone covers her goods.

It was a market I dreaded spending time at night, but gosh…I had no choice.  Walk in a slow pace and the passersby would almost throw you out of the path. That’s how bad it is!

E fun mi ni twenty naira,’ an old woman begged me for twenty naira.

I ignored her and walked further, pleased that I had accomplished the task of buying groceries. The bag-pack was a little bit heavy because of the laptop in it, and I hurried to where the keke maruwa had lined up.

I sat at the right-end corner of the road without pulling my bag away from my back. I looked out of the opened closure and studied the road. I felt unusually solemn and expressionless. I couldn’t explain exactly how I felt but my thoughts were empty.


‘Good evening,’ some boys greeted as they entered the maruwa.

It was very unusual for people to greet each other in a bus, or maruwa. Lagos is a ‘mind your business’ region and everyone usually keep to themselves.

I replied to their greetings and kept my face sideways, watching the environs in the cold part of the night. The wind caressed my skin and the hairs on my arm stood like they were receiving an award. I was looking forward to getting home, praying, eating and working on my desktop.

Music rented the air and the two young men laughed incessantly. I had no idea why they laughed and I didn’t care to know why. Within minutes, I arrived at my final bus stop and I paid the fare while alighting from the rickshaw.

“Bye bye,” the boys greeted again.


That was also unusual!

When I got down, I had a sudden feeling of lightness but I still couldn’t understand why (Well, I was feeling too unusual that there was nothing new to believe that night).

I walked home and was welcomed by my younger sister. When I entered the living room, my family members notified me that my bag was wide opened. Whoa! How come I hadn’t noticed before now? How come no one told me about this while walking on the road?

Immediately, I pulled the bag away and searched for my phone. It was nowhere to be found.
“My phone isn’t in my bag,” I yelled, addressing my family members.

“Gosh, let’s search for it.”

I held a torch and re-traced my steps with my younger sister. I almost felt hopeless. How would I find my phone? I never planned on losing it so soon. I had just spent a lot of money on repairing it.

***
Maryam’s POV

There I was, hopping and smiling veraciously, glad that I made it home earlier than other nights. I couldn’t wait to see the shock on the face of my family members, knowing that I got home really early.

‘The road should be this free all the time,’ I murmured to myself as I opened the gate.

I was walking inside when I found someone unusually sitting down outside. We never sat outside. 

Even though there was no power supply, we would be inside with the inverter turned on, conversing or watching a movie. Seeing my dad outside in the dark of the night, I knew at once that something was wrong.

I greeted him and with the quietness of his voice, I knew that something was definitely wrong.

“Azeezah lost her phone oo. She had left with Haneefah to know if it had fallen on the path while walking home,’ he said.

I asked how it happened and he told me the story, down to the last of it. It was unbelievable. That tablet with the pink-coloured pouch was gone just like that???

My two sisters appeared some minutes later; and Azeezah with a deep frown. I could imagine how she felt. I could imagine because we used the same type of phone. We, in fact, bought them on the same day and at the same time.

“Where could this have happened?” Dad asked.

Sister gave us a full detail of her movement and we concluded that it had been stolen in the rickshaw. It had to be the rickshaw!Someone would have notified her if the bag was opened on the road. Lagos people were that nice. Well, it could be somewhere else…we couldn’t come to a conclusion…

We accepted our fate and I imagined the same scenario happening to me. Because of the extra-luggage I carried from work, I was unable to zip my bag closed. My tablet. purse, books and other contents were in the open. I had placed my hands over my bag to prevent anyone from picking an item from it.

I needed to be more careful next time and always ask God for protection. It wasn’t about how careful you are.

Listening to the admonition of accepting a lost item, I likened it to losing something more precious…a phone was indeed precious. The phone isn’t just for calling and chatting, it serves various purposes, and for some people to derive so much benefit from their phone, such loss is usually very hurtful.

***
Azeezah’s POV

I decided to accept my fate of the loss of my phone. I have had from several people as they talk about their phone loss. Today, you’ll call someone, and the next day, the person’s number will be unavailable. He/she would call you a few days later to relate that their phone had been stolen. It wasn’t an absurd incident. A lot of people had been victims of theft. I was not the first and I wouldn’t be the last.

When I attended my web development class the following Saturday, my colleagues narrated their theft story and we all laughed till tears drooled from our eyes.

‘A pastor was preaching and I had just brought out my phone abruptly to read the bible verse. Suddenly, someone grabbed my phone from the window and sped off. I couldn’t get hold of the person. The bus was moving at a fast pace and I wouldn’t meet up with the thief even if I got down from the bus. That was how I lost my phone,’ one of them said.

‘My own is very funny oo. I’ll just be walking and someone will grab my legs suddenly. They want you to be shocked so that they can get the chance to steal your phone from the pocket. Some would just stop you on the road and begin to say a story like, ‘Aren’t you Kunle from Junior high school? No? You guys look so familiar’. That way, they’re distracting you so that they can give your phone to an accomplice,’’ he said.

‘A friend had just closed from work. He was walking with some of his friends and receiving a call from someone. Suddenly, he noticed that his phone was pulled out from his hand. Thinking it was one of his friends, he grumbled at them, ‘You guys should stop all these pranks na. You can see that I am answering a call.’ Unknown to him, it was a thief that had stolen his phone. ‘Bobo, dem don steal your phone oo,” his friends told him.

I then remembered the tale my father told me the night of the incident. ‘Someone was just walking on the road and he received a sudden hot slap. For a minute, he grew very confused and he couldn’t think properly. That period, they had stolen his phone from him.’


He also talked about the danfo he entered during the day. ‘A man suddenly started to search for his phone. He searched inevitably but could not find his phone. The driver then informed him that someone, who was dressing shabbily, had alighted a few minutes from the start of the journey. It was very strange that way…if only they knew that his ulterior motive was to steal from someone...’
The tales of theft in Lagos are endless. I wouldn’t stop writing if I decide to talk about all the experiences I witnessed from people. Theft is real and there is no proper solution to solving the issue of theft.

Our episode on theft ends as I share my Lagos Island Experience of more than five years ago.

(The Lagos Island Experience)
This happened when I just visited Lagos. It occurred like five years ago. So I was going to school for the next semester and my parents decided to buy new clothes, shoes, bags, and provisions for school (that’s one of the happiest moment of a student’s life).

We were to go to Lagos Island to buy the provisions. Goods are undoubtedly cheaper in Lagos Island and you’ll get nicer and more quality things there too. (If you know the right things to shop for).
My mom and I surfed the market and bought nice clothes, shoes, sandals and other kinds of stuffs. I even bought novels and crayons. I smiled heartily as I imagined myself wearing all we’ve bought.
I hung a red coloured bag on the right/left side of my shoulder (It’s over four years na… I no fit remember).

The bag had two sides; a relatively large space and a moderately large space at the front. The smaller space was wide open with a zip or button to close it up. I kept my phone and my mom’s at the smaller space, oblivious to the fact that it can be stolen.

My mom noticed the phones and warned me to keep them in the bigger space where it cannot easily be stolen. I ignored her and continued walking with the phones still kept in the danger zone.’

We kept walking and shopping around till we bought all we wanted. We were almost exiting the market and I received one yeyeinspiration and felt my bag. It was then I noticed that the smaller part of the bag was empty.

(Our phones had been stolen!!!).

My mom rebuked me, saying she had warned me but I refused to obey her.

(Maryam and her usual disobedient nature). I kept my innocent look on the face.

We went to some men sitting on the side of the road and used one of their phones to dial our numbers. It rung severally and was later switched off. I sat, hoping that the thief would return the phones, but you know such a baseless hope in Lagos Island.

We entered a bus home and I couldn’t help but shed tears. We arrived home and I remained in the room, bawling my eyes out.

Of all that happened, I remembered that I didn’t eat before going to the market. Yeah, I was too excited to get the new things that I kept my breakfast in the fridge. Oh well, I did get the strength and chance to go to the kitchen, open the fridge, heat the rice on the electrical cooker and return back to my room to eat and cry.

A/N: Do you have any theft experience? Share your stories with mareeam802@gmail.com.

Maryam AbdulWahab, My Life in Lagos Series.

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6 comments:

  1. Lol! My theft stories are too numerous to count. These days, I'm very defensive of my belongings when people walk close to me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lol,Same here. Thanks for reading, I really appreciate Meg.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my heart sweetie
    What a sad story
    My theft story self ehn
    I won't talk

    Maryam and her usual disobedient nature
    Smiles

    ReplyDelete
  4. Aww...Taekpoet. You better tell us your own story:)

    Yes...Maryam is stubborn, lol! Thanks for reading:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I will tell with a poem
    Story will just be crime
    Haha

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yaas! That'll be fun. Inform me when you do so.

    ReplyDelete