Living in Lagos is stressful. Very stressful. It’s even three times more stressful under lockdown when you add the fear of getting robbed to the mix. Recently, some parts of Lagos have experienced a surge in crime rates and this has triggered a range of emotions in people. From sadness to anger, to helplessness.
We spoke to some people and they shared their experience.
“I live in Gowon Estate. On 11 Road. I am a retired Navy commander and I haven’t been able to sleep in two days. I have lived in this place for over 25 years and it has been relatively peaceful. At least compared to Navy town where I was coming from. So, imagine my shock when two nights ago, I kept on hearing gunshots. I quickly went to check that I had locked all the doors and then cut off the power supply. I was not going to take any chance. It’s just me and my 72-year-old wife in the house. I am not even worried about me, I am scared of what they can do to my wife. I am too old for all this worrying.”
“I don’t live in Nigeria but tell me why this robbery is affecting me. I keep worrying about my parents in the house. See, I don’t have faith in the authorities to keep my people safe. Is it not these same bastards that harassed my dad last month? I sent him some dollars for him to use to hold body and soul together. On his way from the bank, police accosted him and collected it all from him. He didn’t want any trouble so he just let it go. I was so mad – those fuckers took all my hard-earned money. So, how can I trust the police to keep my parents safe? At this point, it’s just Insha Allah and plenty of calls to check-in. The timing is just fucked up. I don’t have the mental energy to deal with this right now.”
“I woke up today to the sound of curses in Yoruba. The gist is that someone (probably an insider) robbed another person’s flat in the compound next to mine. They cleaned out the person’s plasma TV and generator. So, the victim woke up this morning and started sending them curses. It’s just weird because I live in Mushin. It’s suicide to steal here. I keep wondering what will push someone to steal inside Mushin.
I live on the third floor so I think I am safe. Sha, to be safe, I will lock up my laptop and phone before sleeping. It’s not like I am scared oh, I just don’t like stories that touch. I can’t afford to replace any gadget as I am.”
“My dad used to wake me up to pray every day by 3 am. However, these days, he doesn’t need to. Because I don’t sleep. I am too scared to sleep. My dad and brother are part of the vigilante group, so my mum and I stay up all night waiting for them to come back home.
God forbid that something happens to them. I can’t sleep. I can’t pray. I just wait up feeling very useless. I just wish there was something I could do to help them. All the options that come to mind sound like it will just slow them down.
“Oh, there are robberies going on? I no longer listen to the news so I don’t know what’s going on. My area is still a little bit calm. I live in Fadeyi and the people that do this robbery probably go from here to other places for their operations. I mean the only thing the boys here do is fight and smoke. They can’t actually rob close to home. I literally raised some of them. If anyone steals my property, I will just go to their mother’s house and knock their door. We kuku all know each other.”
“My worst fear is that thieves will collect my car from me. I am an essential worker so I still go to work every day. Free roads can be considered as empty roads free of people depending on the angle you are coming from. I live in Yaba but I work around Egbeda. I am just scared that I will run into one of the gangs because I leave work late.
I bought a cutlass and put it in my car. But between me and you, if it comes down to it, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I am just waiting for borders to re-open. If not for Corona, I should be in Canada by now. My P.R came just before this whole thing started. It seems like a bad dream.”