November 24, 2012
While on a bus to Nigeria recently, we happened watch a video of Night of a Thousand Laughs where a certain comedian told a joke about the fact that people should be proud of their profession. Yahoo boys, prostitutes etc. should indicate theirs on their complementary cards: “Kenechukwu Egoigwemmadu, Marco Polo”, “Bianca Omonigho, Runs Gal” etc.
Incidentally, at the Nigerian border (the only one with almost 10 checkpoints), a certain set of officials discovered a “Yahoo Boy” on the bus apparently from an SMS on his phone. We were delayed for about an hour. When he was finally release after having his phone seized (to be picked up for 50 thousand naira the next day), made such statements as the following when someone raised the issue on the bus:
“It’s just that I didn’t have much cash on me, nobody would have known”
“I have nine boys in Ghana”
“If I hit money now you go … ” Referring to a woman who had challenged him for doing that kind of ‘work’.
“I dey settle them for Ghana”
Among the varied comments from passengers, I managed to glean the following:
“It is better than being an armed robber” – err… OK, debateable. Different brands of thieves.
“My brother collect all the money wey white man collect from us” – OK, so it’s about revenge.
“Oya provide job for am now make e stop” – excuses, excuses.
“Na yahoo boys full churches for Ghana” – as long as they pay tithes, I guess. (To pastors like my brother who preached earlier).
I guess it has become a publicly accepted profession in Nigeria as long as the professionals pay tax to policemen and their cohorts. Simultaneously, Nigeria’s reputation rots, people are excluded from genuine businesses and upcoming young men see it as the next means of breakthrough. Well, different strokes I guess. What would have been your opinion?