Nobody told me that I might have to visit bank to get my notes changed to smaller denominations, or more of fifty Naira notes, nobody, but I learnt that on my first day arriving Lagos.
The bus I entered from Owerri stopped me at Begger, where I was told I will get another bus going to my destination. One of the things that will let you know when you have arrived Africa’s most populous city is the angry faces of the commercial bus conductors commonly known as ‘Danfo conductors’. They look so angry that you may have to think if entering their bus is worth risking your life.
“Elo, elo! Aunty, you dey go?’ one of the conductors with brown singlet that is hanging loosely from his shoulders beckons on me.
Yes”, I replied and told him the bus stop which he said is N50. I hopped in with the help of her hand that he used to push me in from the back, and that also confirms something I have been hearing that nobody cares about you in Lagos, because everyone inside seem to be so immovable that they didn’t even see it as a thing to shift for me, rather I had to force myself inside.
Just some meters away from where I boarded the bus, the conductor came with “Owo da (Your money)’, I deep my hands into my bag and brought out the money, N500 and stretched out my hand to give to him. As soon as he saw the note, he squeezed his face even the more and asked ‘So na N50 money you dey give me N500, where you wan make I go look for change? (Your fare is N50 and you are giving me N500, where do you want me to go look for change?)” Look like say you no wan go again (Looks like you don’t want to go again)”.
At this point I was humbled. I pleaded and told him that’s the smallest note I have. He shouted back and asked me what I want him to do, and that was followed by series of swear words and abusive languages.
I kept on pleading, but you know in this Lagos, you must either learn how to stand up and speak or be humbled and crushed by even words. He wasn’t taking any of these words I was saying.
He asked me to drop which I did and before I could get bus that will take me from there to where I was going to under that hot sun, it was something I think is a miracle.
I just learnt the importance of N50 in Lagos, but in the hard way.