My Near-Death Experience With Four Scary Lagos Area Boys!

 Some weeks ago, or would I say about a month ago, I met this very old friend, sorry, God forbid, someone I used to know back years ago after the closing of a church service at Salvation Ministries Ikotun. Jesse, the notoriously deep-rooted criminal back in 2008–2013, during those days in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, shaking hands with brethren after a church service. The very popular "Gaze and Shoot," as he was nicknamed back then, known for his unique style of stealing, which I have since then only seen exemplified by the way Erling Haaland steals away goals from Premier League defenders. It was said that once this guy, Jesse, gazes at any of your valuables back then, forget it; it's history.

Once his eye catches sight of any of your fascinating treasures, the next place that treasure would be located would be on his left hand, because not only does he steal, he flaunts as well. And I guess that killed his stealing career. Because, of course, if not for how he flaunts his Anini-ism, he would have flourished greatly because his stealing skills were unmatched.

I mean, if it were to be a sane country, Jesse's talent would have been harnessed in Nigeria's customs service, and trust me, he would have been a front-line instrument in the war against smuggling. But after he started getting seen and caught with items he successfully stole, people around our locality started becoming more cautious and careful with their belongings whenever he was in sight. With his "Scorpion in the Monkey Shadow' strategy uncovered, he graduated into burglary infringement, fence climbing, and breaking people's ceilings during working hours, which he also successfully ran for a while before running out of luck on one of the days he attempted to break into the house of one of the dreaded traditionalists back then in Ungwan Shekaro.


I think it was after that case or another messy case with one Jukun woman that his family decided to relocate him back to their hometown, Ozumbulu, Anambra State. And since then, nothing else has been heard of Jesse, the thief.


PS: Because of how addicted this guy, Jesse, was to stealing, I probably would have guessed that he had been charmed to death by one of the native doctors whose farmland he invaded or tried to invade.


So seeing a face that looked exactly like the 17-year-old Jesse at Salvation Ministries, Ikotun, was sure an unbelievable dream. And at first, I wanted to wave it off with "Person dey resemble person nah", but bruh, the resemblance was too striking. The way he even bent his upper lips while greeting and saying "God bless you" to a fellow church sister was the same way he would bend his lips while pleading with those cruel Vigilante members after one of his unsuccessful robbery runs. This one pass doppelganger abeg.


I approached him and called him by that famous name "Gaze and Shoot,", and surprisingly, he turned and looked at me with the "Who is this wizard that knows me from my robbery days" type of eye. I shook hands with him, and before I could even finish introducing myself, the dude already mentioned the house number where I lived back then in Brinin Gwari with my parents. Of course, as a local thief back then, he knew more locations than Google Maps.

Without requesting, the dude started telling me of his transformation story from Kleptomiancy to Kingdom service, how he gave his life to Christ at a crusade in Nnewi, how he made his way down to Lagos, and how he now has a shop at Alaba and even has a wife and family now. Omoor, Imagine the infamous Jesse, who we all thought would turn out useless, is now a successful businessman and even has a family. While I, the homely, obedient, gentle dove, am struggling financially and have scarcely even kept a relationship for six months. And you tell me God won't punish those Nollywood actors and sentence their script writers to eternal damnation for playing those pawns on our intelligence, making us think that good people always experience good things while the ill-mannered end up with regrets. Now see how an ex-thief is living large, like a senior executive.

We exchanged contacts that day, and since then, we have kept in touch on WhatsApp.

Last Sunday, we once again bumped into each other after the close of another church service, and again we chatted for some minutes, talked about business, joked about the experience with Almajiris back then in Birnin Gwari, and likened it to the Agberoism in Lagos, and had several other intermittent talks. And finally, when we were about to shake those final hands and say our goodbyes, he said he would love to 'host' me in his shop one of these days, preferably this week. That word "host" struck my envious heart and, at the same time, angered me somehow. Like, does this guy think he is now Senator Ned Nwoko?

Is it all these chicken changes this guy makes that are giving him the impression that his net worth is just a little lower than that of Arthur Eze Na Ukpo?


Using the word "host" on me as if his shop is Sheraton Hostels or Subhanallah Motels and Suites sounds somewhat degrading! I don't blame him anyway; it's my shoe that looks like the wilderness of Gethsemane that must have made him think of me as a pauper. Hoster. Deep inside, I swear that the "host me" word pained me, but somehow I comported myself, pretended all was fine, and promised to find time to come see his shop, which of course I had plans of doing. Well, even though that "host" might seem like a mini-insult, surely it also means the yoke of my afternoon meal that day will be hosted by him.

So of course, I got his shop address, and I once again promised to visit.

So out of many spare-time periods, I decided to spare out last Thursday, November 2, 2023, to go see my guy, Jesse, and the goddamn shop he said he would host me in. I came back from my usual 9-4 job, and I felt that prompting to go see this guy, Jesse's shop, instead of just lying and whiling away time at home with a 15% charged phone. So I took my bath, dressed up, and took a spoon or two of my last night's leftover Jollof (even though I was kind of hungry, I had to reserve sufficient space for the incoming meal that would be proudly sponsored by the Chief Host himself), and finally wore my "Is there no balm in Gilead" shoe and moveee.


Finally getting to Alaba International Market, Omooor, finding the shop of this guy became a problem. Brethren, locating Number 16, Line 14, Electrical Plaza, became a freaking challenge. I kept strolling from end to end, checking in from shop to shop, asking directions from both the living and the dead, sensible and senseless, and all the wereys kept directing me to wherever their minds deemed fit, and of course, I kept going around like an invented man. No be me wan pay my guy a surprise visit to his shop? Of course, I had to pay the price by presenting my leg, a semi-living sacrifice worthy and trekkable to all the moronic directions I was given by several Imbeciles.

There was this aged woman with an Osogbo accent that I had asked for direction from, who took it upon herself to send me on an almost ten-kilometer walk, where I even had to climb a hill before going left, then cornering right, and all this stress, only to end up at Number 16 of another street and at Tahir Usman Phasion & Tekstile Shop. I for really swear may God punish that woman Papa, but then I thought, Why swear for someone who is probably 24 days away from the grave? The next guy, whom I then asked for directions from again, once again wickedly sent me on another ten-minute weight loss trek, only to burst out at the original spot I began my trek from.

Well, as a strong believer in "Never Giving Up", I still kept asking directions of imbeciles of all ethnicities and kept roaming around Alaba International Market like one on the verge of a breakthrough into the street madness industry until I got into the coven of these dangerous-looking Lagos Area boys.

There were about four of them, ruggedly dressed and with sticks, each holding sticks of cigarettes in their left hand. Very demonic-looking guys! One of them, who I suspect should be the Chief Priest of the Geng, was this very huge guy in a black hoodie that resembles Nollywood actor Kelvin Ikeduba; the other was a complete replica of Portable Omoloalami, just a bit taller; the other was a very funny-looking skinny dude, who I suspect tolled the path of being an Area boy after years of frustration and unemployment, after graduating from school with a 2:1; that dude was just too fresh to be a criminal.

The last guy is the only one I so much believe was predestined to be a thug; his poise, stature, face, outfit, and general facial composition were giving Thief, Ballot Box Snatcher, Arm Robber, Thug, Kidnapper, Murderer, and everything evil on earth. Guyyy! I have probably never seen such an explicit description of "devil-in-human" form until that day!

On sighting these guys, I swear at first, I wanted to do an "about-turn" movement and probably return back home since finding the shop was becoming more difficult than finding a cure to Buhari's ear problem, but then that "Tempt the Lord, thy God" section of my heart with a track record of always putting me in trouble in the past gingered me.

For goodness' sake, are we not all brothers? Are they not men like me? The same Prick they have, I have, probably in a longer and bigger size. The same muscles they have, I also have. The same manliness and ruggedity they possess, I have hidden deep inside of me, too. Ah! The difference is that they took intoxicating drinks and drugs, cigarettes, and hard substances, while I'm struggling to break free from a 5-year-old addiction to Wrapped Igbo and Colos. So in essence, they are just my senior colleagues. So why fidget?


Just then, I recalled this tip I had read from a random Facebook user on how to handle situations with Agberos or thugs, especially at night: don't act scared, walk confidently, most preferably bounce while walking, and then finally slam in your earpiece and jam to some Tupac or Eminem sounds.

So immediately I reached out for my 1500 Naira Oraimo earpiece, inserted it into my phone, and began playing Eminem's "I'm Not Afraid (the perfect song for the moment). I then tighten and fasten my face to look as scary as that of Nollywood actor Stephen Alagemba (Uwaezeuoke), and then finally swole up my shoulders like those of Kizz Daniel's Bouncer and brethren. I began bouncing with all alacrity, bouncing assiduously, and bouncing like one engaged

with an unfamiliar spirit of in-depth stupidity. Those guys would have been wondering how many drums of Cambodian weed I must have sniffed recently.

Brethren, just when I was almost about to succeed with this trick—almost about to cross past these thugs—one of them echoed "Heysssss, where you dey go"? "Who do you dey find? Why do you dey waka like werey? Shey Ogun dey kill you, ni?

Bruhhh, the walking steps I had thought would scare them and make them allow me to pass were what actually triggered these guys, and they rounded me in five seconds, almost about to unleash Mayhem on me.

At these moments, I'm pretty sure all the flesh in my left reticle was flattened. Guyyy! I was literally gasping for air. I was still. My body was shivering. My phone?  The 6500 naira on me?

Just when I was almost ready to release hot urine on myself,

Out of the blues was this loud voice that echoed from a distance: "Make Una Leave Am, Nah My Guy", and they all in unison chanted "Baba O, Agbalagba" and freed me.

Brethren, till the very moment of this post, I have no idea who my deliverer was; I probably guess he mistook me for someone else because the only person I know in Alaba International Market should be my guy, Jesse, whom I came to visit.

Ooppps. Jesse was a former thief. Could it be him who is the Agbalagba of this gang? Or was it another Agbalagba who mistaken me for someone he knew?

Omooor, I  no reason for all those ones first. I fledddddd.



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