I had also made up my mind not to go too deep for security reasons; computer village touts/area boys are more concentrated in the farther part of the market and being harassed unduly was not just it for me.
The first shop I visited just by the bridge didn’t have what I wanted and the guy therein cajoled me into buying something else which was not just it. I wasted no time in trying out the next shop but I noticed I was being followed by 4 mean looking guys. I couldn’t tell for how long I was stalked but it was pretty obvious something wasn’t right.
Fortunately, I saw the “HD Monster Micro SD Player beats by dr. dre” in the next shop and wasted no time in bargaining. I paid, came out of the shop with the intent of moving towards the bridge, only to find out that my stalkers (now about 5 of them) had divided themselves like a pack of wolves who has their sights on a gazelle.
Seeing that it was becoming a nightmare by the minute, I moved towards some policemen who were around one of their vans under the bridge. One of the touts, supposedly their boss walked up to me while the others surrounded me in no time. Micro SD sellers turned spectators as well as passers’ by. I could see the policemen looking at us from a distance. They were clearly unmoved by the scene, judging by the expression their faces.
One of the touts spoke up “a ti n so e lataaro” (we’ve been stalking you for a while). It didn’t really come as a surprise but what I did wrong is what I couldn’t picture.
“Oya, fun wa l’owo!” (Now, give us money!) Their supposed head retorted. It was a dream. How in the world would touts harass someone in the presence of policemen
Quite scared, I told him I didn’t understand what I had done to warrant being “fined”. At my words, the minions were ready to attack me but couldn’t as their boss calmed them. Obviously angry at this point, he said “a n be a so lero, o fe gbo. O fe ka gba gbogbo t’owo e, abi?” (We have told you calmly, you don’t want to listen. Do you want us to take everything on you?”
The crowd had increased by this time and they watched helplessly while the policemen didn’t move a nerve. It was at this point it dawned on me what I was up against. Without wasting time, I reached for my wallet which was carefully tucked away in my pant’s back pocket and offered them #500 but he (their supposed boss) refused it, claiming my money is #2000!
I was baffled. I tucked my #500 away and gave them #1000 which they collected and started stumping a foot each on the ground as they sang my praise. I heaved a sigh of relief as I quickly proceeded to leave the scene. It was pretty embarrassing to say the least.
I shared my ordeal with a friend yesterday and he confirmed he had faced something similar. His case however was shocking. He claimed he resisted and the policemen “arrested” all of them while he “bailed” himself with #2000 without going to a police station.
Please be wary of these touts at Ikeja. Some officers of the NPF have no life.