“Security Na Human Being” — A Week in the Life of a Security Guard

August 3, 2021

A Week in the Life is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.


The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is a security guard. He talks about being intimidated because of his job, forfeiting 50% of his salary to security companies and spending all his time at work. He also talks about his plans to escape it all.

MONDAY:

The first thing to do when I wake up na to thank my God because I no know wetin happen for night. And things dey occur. After thanking God for protection, all other things follow — bath, brush and toilet. By 6 a.m. sharp, I don pull boots to wear and my day begins. 

I work one week on and one week off.  The week I’m on duty, like today, I run 24-hour shifts. This morning, the first thing I do is to walk around the compound to clear sleep from my eyes. In this job, I only get to sleep at night but last night was rough.

Our small and tight security room with only one window was hot like an oven because NEPA took light. As a result, I had to carry my mosquito net and bed outside to sleep under fresh breeze. But it started to rain so I couldn’t sleep because there was no cover. Between the hot room and cold outside with nowhere to stay, I ended up not sleeping and pressed my phone from midnight till around 5 a.m. 

This job is taxing [on the body] because even on a day like this, I still can’t afford to rest. I still have to be at constant alert: I have to open the gate for visitors, receive packages and ensure visitors are who they say they are. 

I will try my best today but there’s only so much I can do with little sleep. One day, I’ll talk about the problem with this job where you can’t do anything else apart from it. I’ll also talk about the not so great pay.

But today is not the day. Today is for surviving the day on minimum sleep. 

TUESDAY:

Today is better than yesterday.  At least, I slept without any disturbance last night. Even though it wasn’t deep sleep, because I was waking up to patrol every one hour, I still feel relaxed. 

Today I’m looking back at how far I’ve come. I initially started life as a waiter in a big hotel in Lekki. Although the salary was small, I used to make at least two times my salary from tips and service charges before the end of the month. Unfortunately, due to some things that happened on the job, I got fired. 

After that, I went to a sack production company. I started as a loom operator and then moved to become head loom manager. From there I moved to the quality control department. As I was enjoying my new career, the company folded and we were all sent home. 

So that I’ll not just be at home sitting down idle, I decided to pursue security work while searching for jobs. It is going to be two years now since I made that decision. 

I don’t mind the job because I find that security work is all about intelligence and using your head. It’s also not hard because we didn’t bring the job from heaven; we learned it here. Apart from the basics like checking surroundings, etc we didn’t cover a lot of new things during security training. Additionally, as a contract security personnel, I wasn’t taught about arms because I’m not allowed to carry them. 

God forbid bad thing but if armed robbers attack now, as contract security, my job is to hide, take my phone and call the police. Because of this, I’m always reminding myself to use my senses on this job. 

WEDNESDAY:

It’s intimidating being a security man in Nigeria because most people assume you’re done for. They think because you’re wearing a uniform you can’t ever make it in life. The wiser ones among them understand that it’s Nigeria of today that’s pushing some of us to do the job. But the majority of people, you’ll greet them and they’ll reply with their nose. Nothing spoil. God is upstairs and he’ll answer our prayers one day. 

I’m at work today thinking about how my current company has good people. This is the first place I’ve worked where people don’t look down on security people. Everyone here is a guy-man. But me, I still don’t pass my boundaries. I’ve learned to read body language and facial expressions to use in determining when to greet or when to keep quiet. 

I’ve never been molested or insulted and I want to keep it that way. There’s no one to report to if anything happens with the client. Is it the security company that will save me? 

The same company that told us that the customer is always right and the best we can do is record any incident in our logbook pending when a supervisor comes around. And God knows the company will always support the client because that’s where they’re seeing money. Is it the same company that collects ₦50,000 from clients and pays security people ₦25,000 that’ll protect us? 

I can stand every aspect of this job but you see that poor pay? I hate it. By the 18th, 19th of every month, I’ve exhausted my money and I’m struggling to meet up. I think my situation is even worse because I’m a family man and many people are depending on the small money. 

I’ll not lie to you, this work is somehow. I love the people I work with but I dislike the job. 

THURSDAY:

This job takes and takes and takes from you with nothing in return. The most recent thing it has taken from me is my church-going habit. Because of the nature of my shifts, I don’t attend church as much as before. I’m either working or resting because I’m tired from working. As a result of this, I spend extra time thanking God this morning. I read more Bible passages and sing more worship songs. 

I know God is still with me. Even if I don’t frequent church regularly, I know that when I call on him he’ll be there for me, especially in my days of trouble. I trust that the God I serve is in control. 

Once I’m done praying, my day begins. 

FRIDAY:

This is my last shift of the week and I’m happy today. I already have plans for my week off. Every day, for three hours, I’m learning how to drive at my friend’s place. My plan is that in the next two months I’ll master driving and become a commercial driver. Someone has promised that by the special grace of God he’ll buy me a car for Uber. At least, I know that one is better than a security job. 

I won’t mind if I can even go from ₦30,000 a month to ₦80,000 — that’s still something. If that happens, I can even bring my wife and my boy to Lagos. Since I started this security job I haven’t been able to rent a house so I sent them to Benin to stay with my mum. Every month, from the little I earn, I try to send them upkeep but it’s never enough. 

It’s been two years — since May 2019 — since I saw them last. I miss them so badly but I can’t bring them to suffer here with me in Lagos. This is July, the plan is that if everything goes well, I’ll bring them to Lagos by January 2022. I want us to be one big happy family again. 

I know God is in control so I’m not too bothered. I’ve done many things before now and I’m not afraid to try new things. However, this job has taught me something: Security na human being. They no just fall from heaven and most of them, na condition make them do the work. More people should treat us like human beings. Sometimes, the insult we receive adds to our problem. It can be very painful when someone looks at you from up to toe and just concludes that you can never make it. It’s unfair. 


Check back every Tuesday by 9 am for more “A Week In The Life ” goodness, and if you would like to be featured or you know anyone who fits the profile, fill this form.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

September 12, 2020

Transport fare takes like half of everyone’s stash. But some Nigerian states have cheaper t-fares than others sha. Keep this list in mind when you’re trying to relocate. Selah. 7. Taraba – N150 6. Ondo – N144.17 6. Osun – N144.17 4. Sokoto – N135 3. Plateau – N105 2. Anambra – N96.25 1. Bauchi […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

July 4, 2022

Lending people money can be very risky. You have to be ready to fight or say bye-bye to your money for the sake of peace. If you’ve already made the terrible mistake of giving out your hard-earned money, then you can never be too prepared for the process of getting it back. We put together […]

July 3, 2022

In this letter #ToHER, Tumi writes to one of her closest friends, Tolu. Tolu japa’d to America, and although she read this letter before travelling, Tumi wants everyone to know how special their friendship has been for her.

Recommended Quizzes

October 30, 2019

2010 was a game-changing one for Nollywood, with our movies making serious cash and getting international acclaim. So, which of these hits released between 2010 and 2019 — from the pace-setting The Wedding Party to the divisive Trip To Jamaica — best suits your personality? Well, that’s what this quiz is here to answer:

November 30, 2019

With No Nut November FINALLY coming to an end, we’ve decided to mark the torturous month with some more horny content. After quizzes that guessed how many people you’ve slept with, how good you are in bed and who you’ll sleep with next, this one will guess when next you’ll get lucky. Take it to […]

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

More from Hustle

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X