We are in the ember months and people’s evil embers are beginning to burn by this time of the year. I don’t know why wicked Nigerians like to do rituals during this period and I don’t bleeding care but I care about my life and yours. I want to be here next year, still writing and I would be blessed if you also with me, enjoying my work.
From now on, everything will begin to happen so fast; there will be a lot of movement from here to there and that means, more mayhem and more accidents. So I tried to put together the following tips to help you stay out of danger as you go about your business.
- 1. Do not board a strange car
For those of you travelling by road, make sure you go to a reputable motor park and board a car from a reputable, registered transport service. Many people, in the name of cheaper transport fares have died foolishly. They leave the park and stand by the roadside, seeking cut-rate transport and most times end up in the hands of ritual killers. Please, if the fare will be an issue, start saving up from now or better still, don’t make that trip. Nigeria is not as it used to be in those days when you can hitchhike and get away with it. Biko, let’s learn from oyibo films.
- 2. Do not pick a strange person
Okay, so you’re the one driving and somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, you see someone stopping you and begging for a lift and the angel in you stirs you to help the person… I would advise that you do not do it. A story is told of a family, who out of the goodness of their hearts stopped to help a pregnant woman and they got accosted by armed robbers who robbed them, took one of their sons and forced them to drive off. When they returned a while later with highway policemen, they discovered their son’s severed head and there was no trace of the robbers/ritualists and the fake preggie bitch. Please, don’t pick anyone, unless the person is dying. And that one would have to be a question of conscience. If the case is that severe, drive to the nearest police checkpoint and draw their attention to the person needing help.
- 3. Run a quick ‘sharp eye’ check on the passengers
If you’re about to board a taxi or bus inside or outside town, please do look carefully before you get in. It would surprise you what your eyes would catch when you take just a minute to study the faces you’re going on a trip with. Our problem is we are always in a hurry and don’t observe our environment and often times, end up in deep trouble. Look for shifty eyes, shifty hands, restless demeanor, doped expressions and the like. Granted, many Nigerians look worrisome (to put it mildly) and their faces can be unreadable but it won’t hurt to be a little extra careful. Ladies, make it a rule not to enter a car or bus that has only men in it. I know that these evil people also use women to do their dirty deeds but some of them are stupid enough to show their hands before they even start and you can use that to your advantage.
- 4. Tyre Check
Yes, do check the tyres of the vehicle you’re using before you leave. It is very, very important. Some of these drivers live life on the edge and because they keep coming out unscathed, they care not about the state of their vehicles because it is cheaper for them that way. Check the tyres and draw everyone’s attention (including other passengers) to anything you find amiss.
- 5. Avoid fast transport services
Everybody likes to get to their destination on time but nobody wants to get there dead. There are road transport services that are known for flying round the country. Please, do avoid them. Flying is for planes and not cars. Pick a transport company that is very particular about safety. If you somehow find yourself in one of the notorious cars, where it is very obvious that the driver is high on something, please avoid shouting angrily at him as this may fuel him to act more erratically. In a calm but firm voice, tell him to slow down and take things easy. Tell him you’re impressed with the way drives and that he’s really cool and blah, blah, blah, but you’re not so sure about the other motorists on the road and that they might be the ones to run into him carelessly. If he still won’t listen, ignore him, remain calm and pray you get to your destination safely.
- 6. Don’t do James Bond
This is not my prayer for you; far be it from me to even imagine it on your behalf! But e dey happen. Somehow you got accosted by robbers or you entered one chance, abeg, don’t argue with them or try to escape when you’re seeing a gun pointed to your face. Just give them what they want. Well, unless you’re Jet Li and can fight off all of them. If they ask for your phone, don’t even demand for the SIM, just pass it to them and avoid looking in their eyes. Please! I lost a neighbor and a very good friend to this foolishness. They got the cash he had and they were leaving but he felt compelled to run after them to fight the one with his money and that was how he got shot and died, leaving his young wife with two children. Abeg, no do James Bond. Leave it for the movies.
- 7. T.Y.O.P
Going for a party to mingle with total strangers? Take Your Own Poison. If it’s an open bar, then that’s good but if it’s not, make sure you avoid drinks already poured and handed to you. Parties today are a good place to rob and rape people. Be warned.
- 8. Don’t drink and drive
We all know this, but surprisingly, some of us act like we don’t. Someone was relating to my hubby and I how high he gets when he drives, that all he sees are binary digits on his windscreen. You don’t even have to get to that point to know it’s bad. If you’re the one driving, don’t drink. Buy your drink and take it home or get someone sober to drive for you. I lost my best friend to this and it still hurts like hell. I don’t want to lose you too. The alcohol companies never shut down when their victims die because they believe they sold their products to adults. Act your age and stay alive.
- 9. Play Safe
Did you think I wasn’t going to bring this up? Come on, it’s the holidays. People save up a lot of money for this time of the year and get bonuses and loads of gifts. This generally means people are happier at the end of the year (or either really depressed). Either way, they are vulnerable to a lot of things, sex being top on the list. Caution is thrown to the wind and so are people’s good judgments. Please, use a condom. Studies show that the most common birthday is September 16, meaning that most babies are conceived during the Christmas holidays. If you’re not ready to be changing diapers by this time next year, hold bodi.
- 10. Trust your instincts
Ever ignored that tiny voice and paid dearly for it? Please, don’t try it this time around. When it tells you not to get into that car or pick that girl, then don’t do it. In 2002, I had to take a taxi from Jabi park in Abuja to Jos. While at the park, I met this really good looking guy and his driver who were on their way to Jos. They were at the park to get some stuff before heading up. So while they waited for the arrival of the stuff, the guy and I got chatting and believe me, I was falling for him by the minute. Finally, when it was time for him to leave, he offered to take me to Jos. Now, all I had on me was my transport fare and a hundred bucks. I imagined how much I would be saving, plus, his lovely company in a sleek car all the way to my doorstep, and the idea seemed kind of inviting. However, I didn’t know this fine guy from Adam and I didn’t want to risk my life, so I declined, took his number and we parted ways. Anyway, we hooked up in Jos the next day and continued where we left off but he respected me for trusting my instincts. I keep imagining if he wasn’t what he said he was and I had ended up in a high priest’s shrine. *imagining…* God forbid!
Okay darlings, please beware, be smart, be careful, be safe and don’t drink and drive. Trust that small voice all the time and with time, it becomes a very big and wise voice that guides your thoughts. Ladies, that Maybach might not make it back, so avoid being blinded by all that glitters. Nothing is worth your life.
Before I leave, a couple of friends and I are doing some charity work with sick babies at LUTH this Christmas. It’s nothing too much but it does go a long way. If you want to join us or if you want to donate, even as little as a thousand bucks, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com