For Navigating Nigeria this week, Citizen spoke to Pascal* and Folake* who told their stories of being mugged. For Pascal, staying calm while being robbed is the “smart” thing to do. Folake’s experience taught her that this is Nigeria, where you should “expect anything.”

Editorial Note: Navigating Nigeria is a platform for Nigerians to passionately discuss the Nigerian experience with little interference to individual opinions. While our editorial standards emphasise the truth and we endeavour to fact-check claims and allegations, we do not bear any responsibility for allegations made about other people founded in half-truths.


I was a student at UNILAG at the time. This was in September 2015. My friend and I went to see a friend at the Radiography Hall. It’s a part of UNILAG but outside the school gates and much closer to the Yaba environs. She had thrown a small birthday party, and we turned up. 

We left a bit late, around 9 p.m., but not “Lagos life late”, if you know what I mean. I remember telling my friend that we should take a bus back to school, and he was like, “Which bus? Let’s walk this thing, jare.” Because at the end of the day, that’s what my guy always does: he believes he can leg any distance. To be fair to him, though, waiting for a bus would have taken a lot of time, so I agreed and decided to walk.

We had passed underneath that overhead bridge at WAEC junction when my friend heard someone shout at him from a distance as though he had recognised him. It was dark, and it was a poorly lit road. We should have picked up the pace and made a run for it had we known what was coming, but my friend, thinking it was a case of mistaken identity, responded that they had the wrong person. 

Big mistake

The next thing we knew, two guys were on us. I faintly recall one of them, fair-complexioned, in a white shirt and looking so haggard. He dipped into my friend’s shorts and picked up his phone while struggling with another assailant. I had a small iPhone then, but it looked like the thieves were in a hurry and didn’t hassle me much. 

Another guy was walking along that road who looked like he was keeping watch, and I suspected he was among them. I had to tell my friend to let go when they held a broken bottle to his neck— he didn’t know.

My friend was still furious and was fighting them when the third guy joined them. I could tell he was reaching for something in his pocket, although I couldn’t say what, maybe a knife or a gun. 

Or perhaps he was bluffing. 

I’m naturally calm, and the way I read the situation, fighting there wasn’t worth the danger. So I convinced my guy to free the phone, which he did. It was late, and the road was lonely. Getting back to school safely was the priority.

I laughed when I replayed the incident in my head the next day. I was thinking, what if my friend had died that day? What would have been the story? That we went to see Babe and got stabbed on the way back? I was thinking of the narratives that could have come up, like how we should have stayed in school and not gone outside. This would’ve been funny because my friend and I were doing great at school, and the one time when we decided to take a break, we nearly paid dearly for it.

We joked about it for a long time, as guys do, but things could have gone sideways in an instant. Looking back, my reaction to the whole thing was fair and calm. Since it was at night and these guys were confident enough to mug us, letting go was smart.


My mugging experience happened in Ajah around December 2019. I was heading for work at about 4:30 a.m. This was the best time to leave home to beat heavy traffic. I remember feeling very reluctant to go to work that day, but I had no choice as it was a weekday. I left home singing. On my way to the bus stop, I saw a group of boys ahead of me, but I thought they were regular people returning from a party. They were in my path, so I passed between them. 

Immediately, one of them said, “Hey, come here”. I hissed because I thought they were teasing. Before I could even turn to see who called, I saw the other guys with knives telling me to give them my bag. I had to surrender my bag to them because I didn’t want to get stabbed. 


They took my phone, which I had just bought, my ATM card, shoes and some money I planned to deposit at the bank that day. I was lost and confused for about five minutes. I saw them as they left. It took a while to dawn on me that they’d taken everything from me and that I had nothing left. I didn’t know when I started running. I ran to the bus stop. When I arrived, I began begging people to help me, telling them I had been robbed. Nobody responded. I went to the main road to cry for help; no one was willing to help. 

I didn’t report the incident at the police station because I knew that if I did, they wouldn’t bother to do anything about it. You know the Nigerian police nau. They’ll ask you to write a statement and ask you to cough up money, and nothing will come out of it.

I returned home sad. After the incident, I felt terrible for two days. But then I told myself this is Nigeria, where you should expect anything. I later got a new phone and continued with my life.

*Name changed to protect their identity.

Join us on Twitter on April 25 at 6 p.m. to discuss Nigeria’s worrying rise as a cocaine trafficking hub.



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