Thursday, 13 August 2009

Welcome to civilisation?

Since arriving in the Uk on Monday night here are some of the headlines:

1. Man dies of gunshot wounds sustained on bus

2. Names of three people who tortured 17month old to death released

3. Biggest armed robbery jewelry heist in Uk history on New Bond St

4. Man kicked to death just yards from his home

5. Lady who disappeared some months ago could have been "involved" with as many as forty men

6.Drunk lady convicted for killing her equally drunk husband by driving over him

7. Baby's body found in car boot

8. A whole 40 tonne ship (trust me that's big) has disappeared feared captured by pirates

These are just some of the ones I can recall off the top of my head. Oh how I long to be back in the relative safety and (in)sanity of Lagos where one might occasionally be accosted by a tout with those immortal words "bros how far? something for the boys?".

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Can't happen here???

Always being right is a burden. It is one I carry wearily on my shoulders. O how Iyawo has suffered with her numerous attempts over the years to prove me wrong. An exercise in futility if ever there was one. The facts are the facts. I am always right. It is one of my traits. Like humility. Another one of my traits.

So to what does all this relate? Oh how I rolled with glee when reading Next newspaper a couple of weeks ago and the article about housing only designated for expatriates. See I have a bee in my bonnet at the moment. Actually I have had it for about a year. I have this feeling that Nigeria is steadily being colonised. By the Chinese, the Indians, the Lebanese. My friends scoff at my paranoia. They smirk at my naivety.

I tell them that I read a book called “Africa my black arse” in which the author described his travels through Africa. In Liberia he came across a Chinese hotel built exclusively for the use of the Chinese. No Liberians, or other Africans, were allowed entry. The irony being that the doormen and most of the other staff were Liberians!!

Every time I tell this story my friends say “aha Toks but that is Liberia. They are not as advanced as Nigeria. That kind of thing can never happen here in Nigeria”. When I pointed out Jeremy’s blog last year wherein he wrote about Abuja apartments only for rent to expatriates it became aha Toks it can neva happen in Lagos. Eko o ni baje (Lagos will not spoil). And now it has. What next? Aha Toks it can never happen in Lekki, Ikoyi, Yaba, Suru – Lere?” And then finally what? “Aha Toks it can neva happen on my street?” I beg please my friends it is happening here and now.

Look around you – generators you buy from Indians, food from Lebanese, groceries from South Africans ( we recently bought an iron from Shoprite that came with a South Africa plug. A “nice” request to “Customer Services” to change it was met with some difficulty until I switched into loud, noisy and aggressive Toks mode (not a pleasant sight to behold I can tell you), everything else the Chinese have sewn up (pardon the pun).

So what next for our “Good people, Great nation”? Well the way things are going maybe we will end up having to apply to a foreign embassy to get a visa to get into Nigeria. Far fetched and fantastical you might say? Well, ask the Liberians.