Lagos: Entitlement and indirect taxing system

Lagos, you could argue is Nigeria’s frontliner to the world. A mega city in it’s own right, rife with opportunities that often times, runaway from the faint hearted. It is like a beautiful jungle where class, status and backgrounds clash at every turn. It is a home for all. The good, the very bad and the ugly.

However, just like every other rapid growing metro city, Lagos grapples with significant challenges that have become part and parcel of life. Population explosion, high cost of living, homelesss, squatting and slum areas, transportation and traffic menace, environmental hazards, amongst others.

As a young Nigerian living in Lagos, I have heard and witnessed the terrible things motorists and citizens go through everyday in their quest to make ends meet. In particular, is the alarming nature of thuggery or “agbero” in the state.

For some reason, these set of people now wear crowns of entitlements, a mentality that seems admissible. Who gave them these crowns? They have been perpetrating dubious acts in the state anytime they feel like it without any repercussions.

A few months ago, I was out chatting with a friend when he received a call that changed the course of our conversation. It happened that while his friend was walking home from work, a group of guys ( thugs) stopped him to ask for money.

He politely told them that he doesn’t have any money on him because he had used the last cash on him to pay for his fare. Of course, they didn’t let him go. Instead, they requested for his phone which when he refused to oblige, they brought out blades and threatened to use it on him.

The young man feared for his life, and gave it to them. Though his phone was a valuable asset, it couldn’t be compared to his Life.

The above is one out of a thousand harassment experiences residents go through daily in Lagos State.

I have heard stories from my brothers and friends. I have even watched “thugs” harass guys for money. They always start off friendly/begging but when their victim refuses to give or gives below their expectations, they resort to violence.

Sometimes, I wonder how they came about this crown of entitlement. I never knew beggars can be choosers/robbers.

Unfortunately, this menace has eaten deep into our road transportation system.

Indirect Taxing of motorists is no longer news to Lagos residents or visitors. Moving around Lagos with public transport especially the popular yellow buses, kekes and okadas, have become a nightmare every passenger dreads but there’s hardly any alternative.

Before a motorist moves from one location to another in Lagos, there would be at least three stops where thugs would harass and collect money either as fine, levy or a share of the passengers fare.

If the motorist refuses to pay for whatever reason, delay of passengers, destruction of the bus or removal of some essential parts becomes the eventual outcome.

Some have asked if the road transportation system does not have a body regulating and overseeing the activities of transporters? The answer is yes they do.

The National Union of Road Transport Workers ( NURTW) is the body that is supposed to protect and care for the needs of motorists.

It is worthy of note to state that, NURTW is headed by men of questionable character and the thugs who harass motorists claim to be operating under this very body.

Also, some of these thugs have the NURTW uniform on when extorting motorists while some don’t even have uniforms. Hence, the difficulty in ascertaining those who belong to this body and those who are operating on their own.

Most of these thugs belong to local cult groups that constitute a nuisance in the communities with their constant violent clashes.
They possess ammunition, marks, territories and hierarchy. And they publicly abuse drugs.

They have no mercy to show to motorists.

Furthermore, these thugs play an essential yet destructive role in our elections. Without them, elections will be free and fair, there will be no case(s) of violence or stolen ballot box(es), there will be no loss of lives or assaults, there will be no buying of votes at the polling units . But the question remains, do the stakeholders in the corridor of power want this? Especially now that the 2023 elections are around the corner?

The Motorists now contend daily with the uniform men and thugs which is a shame to the NURTW that should be protecting their members’ interest.

Sadly, this loophole in our road transportation system is rapidly spreading to other states in Nigeria. Will the government continue this conspiracy of silence? Are they keeping quiet because they benefit indirectly also? The future of the Nigerian road transportation system is frightening and blurring from where I am sitting.

Will Yours Be Better Than Mine?

Every era dances to unique battles,
Some she wins, others she loses:
Some stick like stigmas, live beyond the epoch,
Clinging on to victories from battles fought.
Never learning from defeats’ scary stare,
Until its people continue in never ending fear.
Of the unknown,
Of class, erudition and faith.
So will yours be better than mine?

Tales echoed of the good old days,
Where crime had long stretches of vacation.
Basic amenities overflowing from tables.
A time when naira was king,
And foods surplused with aplomb;
Fresh air rode away radical threats,
And water, lullabied the soul.
A national cause heroes died for,
Their graves spat on by greedy leaders.
Helpless, citizens cry out for hearts with strings,
Of friendship dyed in reddish bonds.
But immorality and malevolence now reign supreme,
So I ask, was theres’ better than mine?

History drilled me about the dark era,
Reinforced by parents’, teachers’ teachings,
Where “humans” sold humans for mirrors,
“Men” bought men as slaves:
An era where colour bred tsunamis,
Where intellect bought legacies,
And riffed issues of gender inequality,
Sang uncivilised and naïve tunes
So will yours be better than theirs?
In my world, technology fumes,
Like a malfeasance god;
Nicknamed “the thumb generation”.
Restless and hot blooded,
A world where crime screech as sirens,
A pathway for Leaders and tyrannical kings
Pronouncing celebrity abnormal,
And scoring trivialities distinctions.
Money and connection spread CVs,
To dictate and confer merit,
While others join the hangman’s hustle.
Atrocities and greed run after men
Redefining standards of living
For children, left hungry and homeless
Will yours be better than mine…

When am not around to witness it,
How will yours pan out?
Will you stand if it means you stand alone?
Will your itching ears seek elders’ counsel?
Will my penned thoughts be enough for you?
Will your curious heart learn?
Will you be a candle that lights the dark?
Will you acknowledge your creator in your lifetime?
I believe in a better tomorrow,
Because the past has gone into exile.
We’re lucky, today is a prudent teacher
She knows am concerned about you,
She gave me hope to believe in a better you
And I’ve tried my best to show you
Echoes of the past, and today’s truths,
So l ask, will yours be better than mine?

                                 ©   Lois Aideloje ( Lala)

Dealing With Loss!

  At one point or another we have all had to deal with loss. The pain must have been so severe that we thought we wouldn’t get through it, our hearts ache so much that we never thought it could mend but we soon realized we are stronger than we ever thought we were.

  Dealing with loss has never been an easy route for anyone and there’s definitely no short cut around it.

Although we deal with it differently, that doesn’t  make anyone’s way of mourning invalid. It is true, some heal faster than others but no one is immune to pain. 

   I know our heart aches every now and then in remembrance of what we have lost but we always find ourselves putting on a smile not just because it brightened our face but because we realized we are other people’s source of strength.

  There are some who have to hide their pains  or fasten their healing process just because everyone expects them to be strong. They put on a smiling face even when they are hurting.

 I guess we all  move around with our invisible scars!

In these few days I have spent on earth, I have had my own share of loss, I have lost friends and family members who are dear to my heart.

I have cried till my eyes and head hurts, I have blamed myself for not being there enough for them while they lived, I have shut people out just so I can mourn and I tried asking Why without a response.

During these dark  and vulnerable periods of my life, I have marveled at people’s utterances , actions and inactions.

 I must say I have experienced kindness through the actions, inactions and words of other people too.

I have  learnt to let go, letting go makes the healing process faster and easier. I don’t mean letting go of what we have lost alone, it also entails letting go of other people’s shortcomings. It is  important that we forgive ourselves and others.

   Dear Reader, If  you’re going through tough times right now, the truth is, I don’t have the words for you and I honestly don’t know how you are feeling.

No  one knows exactly how you are feeling at this very moment, not even those who have had a similar experience. But I hope you pull through, I hope time performs her wonders on you,  I hope your aching heart mends with every tear drop, I hope that one day you realize  that they will want you to live and be happy.

I hope you realize it wasn’t your fault and there’s nothing more you could have done to keep them or change the situation.

I hope you stop blaming yourself and feeling guilty, yes, I do hope you stop wishing you could trade places with the dead.

I know you will pull through because you’re stronger than you think. However, while you’re hurting, cry if you need to, scream as loud as your lungs can carry you, take all the time you need. 

I am trusting you to be Fine!

Taking or Stealing?

    Over the years, the word “change” has been a household term in Nigeria. While some believe it is good as it has brought about developmental and technological advancement, others argue that it has caused more havoc to our society and moral standard. I will say it is a two edged sword.

Although, I cannot authoritatively say or describe change with ” in those days” like the  elders would without getting  glares and glances due to my age, I do  know  for sure that things have changed.

     I still remember vividly, while growing up in a village in the southern part of Nigeria, that taking what wasn’t given to you no matter how little, is stealing. And stealing was a crime one shouldn’t ever dream of committing as it comes with consequences.

Anyone that was caught stealing in my community then, was paraded naked, carrying whatsoever he or she  attempted stealing.  And of cause there were always willing singers who will clap and sing and should the thief dare make attempt to cover his or her private parts baptized him or her with slaps from different angles .
So,  a Child who is planning on executing such act need no other sermon on repentance, as he or she would not want to go through the shame  that comes with being tagged a thief, nor the fame.

   Moreover, a child who dare to have a bite or steal a piece of meat from his or her mother pot, steal as “little ” as  a five naira note from the house will after receiving the punishment of not eating meat ( be it fish, egg or cowskin) for a month or more depending on how strict the parents are, will still be called out in front of the school assembly, where his or her crime will be announced to the whole school,
after which, he or she will be openly punished by the headmaster.  Not forgetting the unimaginable insults  such a person will have to endure for a long while from other students.

     As noted earlier, times have “changed” and I wouldn’t recommend some of those methods on anyone. Still, stealing seems to be an everyday activity now, to some it’s a norm as some things are no longer refered to as stealing but ” taking”.

A child could “take” his or her  parents money without their consent and see nothing know with it,  “afterall,it is my parents money” .Does it make it right?

With civilization, lenient parents and Advocacy groups campaigning for the fundamental human rights ( which I have nothing against) little wonder our society is filled with thieves in saints clothing.

    In Nigeria today, every sector is said to have an “Agbada” and “Buba” wearing  thief who loot the country funds for their personal and selfish gains, these men and women were once children, but they grew up with faulty mentality ,they forget Leaders are meant to serve not Lord.

It is pathetic that, almost everyone and anyone who is aspiring for a political position in Nigeria today, have intention of stealing from the poor masses but they refer to it as “taking” or “eating from the national cake”.

Today, Nigerians don’t even care about their public officers stealing funds anymore, they just want them to “work” , provide the basic necessities while they steal and enrich their unborn generations with national funds. Sadly, nothing has changed.

   Also, there’s a get Rich fast syndrome that have lured alot of young Nigerians into crime. These young minds defraud people of their hard earned money through diverse ways. Internet scams have not only become rampant, it has become a profession even children aspire to practice and master.

Before now, these fraudsters only scammed “gullible” foreigners who wants fast return for their investments in “oil wells” , “perverts who can’t control their fleshly desires”  . However, today it has returned home.

I have lost count of the number of times I received calls and texts from fraudsters who claims to be from my bank, most times they have a few of your personal details but not enough.

Unfortunately, the decline in the society moral standard has skyrocketed.
We now see young people who don’t see anything wrong in doing absolutely anything to get money, this  include sacrificing of their loved ones or innocent strangers for money rituals.

It is bad enough that  children are watching and learning, it is indeed horrible that our young minds are going astray and trading their glorious future for moments. it is sickening to watch the society celebrate wealth without  track records, it is shameful that the government condemn the killings without taking necessary actions to curb it.

Sadly, if this menace continues and actions aren’t taken, Nigeria will become a den of thieves, killers and destroyers.

It is worthy of note , to state that, Even with this moral decay in our society, there are men and women, young and old living in Nigeria who makes honest living and detest this life of crime. We exit!

Our Difference, Our Uniqueness

Have you ever wondered how you will feel if you get to eat your favorite food alone everyday, wear your favorite colour/clothe everyday, go to your favorite place everyday, talk to that best friend of yours alone everyday, see that all time favorite movie of yours or listen to that favorite song of yours alone everyday? …

I know some will say I don’t have anything “favorite” but you will agree with me that, repeating the same routine in the exact same manner can get tiring, boring and frustrating.
If it’s so, why then do we have issues with people’s race, tribe, religion, doctrines?

    Civilization they say has shined light on our superstitious believes, still how come it haven’t taught us how to accommodate the excesses of others? Or could it be we have refused to learn?
    I do wonder why racism has become such an ugly word no one want to be associated with. When in the actual sense, we are tribalistic, unaccommodating and judgemental which in most cases is as a result of hasty generalization.

    Before you start arguing about how you don’t fall in the above categories, haven’t you once thought about how you can’t marry from a particular tribe?( Just maybe your parents have been singing it in your ears) , Could it be because they are this and that? Oh!  maybe you just must marry from your own tribe! When you are in a place of authority, don’t you play that game called ” favouritism” , I mean the he is my brother or sister ( just because you are from the same place) edging out other candidates who are more qualified? How do you treat people who don’t share your religious beliefs and doctrines, don’t you see them as hypocrites, infidels, sinners?

   Humanity has always been the race not colour, tribe, gender,class, religion… which are spices( they have different but integral roles to play) life will be boring, tiring and frustrating. So don’t just preach peace, unity and oneness, PRACTICE IT

“Let us have but one end in view,the walfare of humanity; and let us put aside all selfishness in consideration of language, nationality, and religion” – John Arnos Comenius

Lessons from Covid19

The year 2020 kick off with alot of positivity and vibes. Personally, I felt enthusiastic about the new decade.
Like many before her, I knew she was pregnant but couldn’t tell with what. Truth be told, many waters have gone under the bridge in the year 2020, that I’ve lost count or probably couldn’t keep record of, however, the emergence of the corona virus is one that we will live to remember and tell tales to the generations to come.

The COVID19 which started in the Wulhan province of China, from where it spread over China and to the world. And on March 11th 2020, the World health organization ( WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic!
Due to the world inability to curb the disease, countries declared total lockdown to prevent the spread and also protect her citizens from the ravaging COVID19.

On the 30th of March 2020, Nigeria joined her counterpart in declaring a state of total lockdown. Movements, public gathering and more were prohibited and social distancing, stay home and safe became the new anthem.
Although, the lockdown affected the world economy, different institutions, and sectors, it couldn’t be compared to what it spell for a developing country like Nigeria . In other to prevent more doom in terms of hunger and violence ( cases of arm robbery were rampant in places like Ogun and Lagos) the government thought it needful to ease the lockdown four weeks after the initial lockdown.

Even with the eased lockdown, movements wasn’t still a luxury and food items became gold as there was hike in price of every commodity.
Although , COVID19 now has a vaccine, the economy haven’t fully recovered ( maybe it never will), institutions haven’t fully reopened, some kind of gathering are still prohibited in different places in the country, traveling restrictions are no longer news, not forgetting the safety methods that have been adopted and put in place. Nigerians have learnt a few lessons during the lockdown.

According to Moses from Lagos, ” Nobody is an island, as we all need each other to survive. He further noted that one should set his/her house in order as family is the place where one run to during crisis”
It’s another story for Nehemiah from Lagos, who stated that ” Savings are important and we shouldn’t just save for the expected alone but also for the unexpected”
However, Opayemi from Anambra noted that ” Human being aren’t suppose to live on huge amount of money as there are some irrelevant things we do which are not necessarily for life and survive” he further said that ” alot can be done without physical contact “
He also stated that, ” God expresses himself in difficult time as He cannot be hindered or limited”
In the words of Favor from Ibadan, ” in as much as people are important and necessary for our daily living and growth, toxic people should be avoided” he further noted that, ” Love is the best medicine and plant we should sow”
Meanwhile, according to Joseph from Yola, although the lockdown affected his movements and cost him to panic as he was far from home, he learnt that ” Life is indeed short and the end is near, so we should own our lives and live it without caring what others will say or how they will react”

When asked about the changes they can see ahead in the years to come, they all agreed that businesses and other institutions which aren’t already in the virtual space will upgrade, the world will embrace digitalization, individual will opt for computer literacy. Also, people will learn to accept simplicity even during ceremonies and events.

With these lessons, can we say COVID19 is a two-edged sword?


Welcome to my world!

Yes! I finally did it.
Oh! Forgive my manners, my name is Lois fondly known as Lala by family and close friends. I love reading, travelling, meeting new people and sharing my experiences. I am at my happiest when I visit new places and meet people I didn’t even know exist. I also enjoy taking pictures wonderful moments and nature’s beauty.

As an introvert, writing has always been my hiding place. I find it easier expressing myself through written words, I get to write about things I necessarily can’t talk to people about and for a long time now, I have wanted to share my stories, experiences, speak my truth ,get the world to read about what I couldn’t get my shy self speak about .

Can you now imagine how happy I am that the dream of a young girl is gradually becoming a reality! This is me officially telling you welcome to my world, I am so glad you’re walking this journey with me.
I do hope you stick around.