Thursday, May 5, 2011

419 - A Young Woman's Experience

I usually take a bike to a certain stop before I get a cab to work. Today, all eight bikes I stopped wouldn’t agree to take me (weird!). I decided to cross over. After waiting  5 minutes and flagging down two more bikes, I eventually stopped a cab. He said he was going my way. I got in the front seat. A well dressed guy got in the backseat.
Fast forward two minutes, the driver stops the car and the guy at the back gets off. He did not pay. The driver and I call his attention (He was already half way across the street). Guy returns. Hands over a note to driver (Fare is 50 naira). On opening his hand, driver realises it is ... wait for it... 5 British pounds!! Driver and I look askance. I ask bewildered, “na fake money?!”  Driver says,  “no na real!” Driver calls him back.
Guy returns. And after muttering some indecipherable language (maybe French), he hands over another note to driver. Guy hurriedly leaves. Driver opens hand and viola.... it is a 10 dollar note and a 5 dollar note. I am gobsmacked! What is going on? Driver calls him back and says to me, sombre faced, “Madam, I’m a Christian, I have to tell him the money is ‘over’. Guy is called back.
Driver- “Oga, this money you gave me is too much. My money is 50 naira. Are you a foreigner?”
Guy-  Mutters gibberish.  Gabon and Francais decipherable.
Driver- "Where are you going? Or do you want me to take you to Gabon embassy to change the money?"
And this is where FeistyPen bolts, calmly and very dignified.
I turn around, to see just if my sensors were merely in overdrive.  But alas they were right on target. Car and driver and man are nowhere to be seen. I look further down the road and all I see is a cloud of dust. The speed is toh badt!

I shoulda known or should I have?!
1.   I have been travelling this route every work day for the past year or so. No more than 2 bikes refused to go to my stop. Today, it was a record eight!
2.   After crossing and waiting to flag down a cab, a convoy of ten cars stop in front of me as if trying to hit me. A mere coincidence? Maybe, but it sure was unusual.
3.   Cabs do not normally ply that route especially if it isn’t ‘drop’. Today’s was a first. Definitely unusual, but I was running late.
4.   Guy at the backseat never actually said a word or told driver where he was going. But driver ‘knew’ and stopped.
5.   Driver sounded so sure when he said, “The money na real. Must have been  to sow the seed for later use!
6.    When driver asked man if he was a foreigner and would like to be taken to the Gabon Embassy to change the money, my typical Las gidi response should have been, “Wetin consign you?” and by the way is the friggin Gabon Embassy on the way to Epe?!

This is what would have happenned if I stayed:

If I was still in the cab after guy acquiesces to go to the Gabon Embassy, driver would have made an effort to drive a few more metres towards my final destination. On the way, either driver or guy would have asked, the“madam, you fit help us change some of  money?” Notice the use of 'us' . This is some two-man gang squad! Driver would  have brought out some of his own naira and changed a small amount to get me to relax. Then I may have brought out some of mine, since the driver was changing his too. As soon as my naira touches their hand and their ‘dollar’ mine,  it is at this point they say, the “jazz transfers”.

The jazz in question is capable of instilling in you an uncanny desire to change naira, yours, your father’s, your friend’s, your company’s...... into dollars and that is when your dilemma begins. You may need to sell your house!

I escaped. Thank God. Yes, I thank him. It is interesting to note that the decision to get off the cab wasn’t really much of a decision; just my hand moving to the door knob in a split second and the rest of my body following suit.

Guys, I had 70, 000 naira in my bag, and it is just the fifth of the month. Some starving there eh!

And oh yes, the first bike I flagged down after the incident, carried me with no incident. Go figure!

Have you had any experience like this before? What do you think made you escape if in fact you did?


  1. Thank God for your life #DatsAllICanSay

  2. Wow! Lucky you! Never actually had such an experience, myself, but I've heard plenty and I'm rather sceptical about the "jazz" bit (not so much the existence as the touted frequency thereof).

    I think a major factor in these things is how suggestible one is (due to personality, inexperience -- and a bit of greed doesn't hurt!). A suggestible person is much less alert. At any rate, the success of hypnosis (which may well be what really happens) is still a function of suggestibility.

    Or what do YOU think?

  3. Lucky you.
    Like Ayomide, I've heard so much about all this taxi/ bus 'jazz' but I remain sceptical.

    I have been in a cab before where I didnt feel comfortable with the dialogue going on. Luckily we were stuck in traffic on Adeniran Ogunsanya so I jumped out. However, I was more scared about the fact that I was the only female there than whether any 'jazz' could be used on me.

  4. I have come too close to such encounters. On two different occasions, i became mute and couldn't explain why my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth(the power of a praying mother eh?) At other times i just walked away as if i hadn't just been spoken to. All in all i know my Jesus was a very present help in my time of trouble and i praise Him on your behalf....they picked the wrong gal to mess with!

  5. WOW,
    that's hella scary! I have honestly never heard of this! As I was reading along, I thought the 419 was that you'll give them the Naira equivalent for fake Pounds/Dollars.

    Na God O!

  6. wow, really a narrow escape. Thank God u realised on time.

  7. A similar story on Naijastories which has happened to me is where one of the so called passenger has a large sum of money in the trunk and needs the driver's help. I also had a large sum of money that day. Teaches one not to carry so much cash, eh?

  8. Thank you, Dami.. I thank God too.

  9. @Ayo... I agree with you... the success of the apparent hypnosis depends on suggestibility and greedy people are much mroe suggestible and might I add ; people who are always ready to 'help' others.

    Help for people on the streets must always be discerning. I know, for one, because of the kind of person that I am, I would have wanted to help a needy foreigner who doesn't have Naira to use, not because I wanted free dollars.

    And that is where my trouble would have begun.

  10. @Naijamum... Thanks a lot. I'm glad you were able to get off in traffic oh. I would have been scared. Cheers.

  11. @Detola... Thanks a lot. I really praise him too. I've heard that story over and over. Those guys actually depend on the fact that some people wouldn't have heard of them.

  12. @Pretty Lashes... You haven't heard?!?! Wow!! Thank God, you've heard now oh! :D

  13. @Anonymous... Thanks a lot

    @Myne... Yes indeed! I'll try not to ever carry more than I need around. Thanks.

  14. Vwell... It sure does exist. Hasn't happened to me before but there are actually different methods. If not the taxi style, its someone asking you for directions to some place dat doesn't exist and while u r still thinkin ab the place and tellin dem dat u don't know where it is,another person walks right bEhind you and the guy in the car begs u to help him ask the other guy if he knows the so-called place. Once you ask that guy,that's it. They tell u to enter the car which you do,then they proceed to tell u a whole lot of things about you and your family.that someone has buRIed something for ur mother or fAther and unless you allow them pray for you, ur mum will die. Of cus at this point you are scared and jazzed so u agree. But then they tell u they would need ur mums jewellry or ur dads money so that they can use it as a point of contact to ur mum and pray on it and once the prayer is done they will return the jewellry to u. And of cus ask u to promise not to tell anyone or else the prayer won't work.the moment u go home,get the gold and money and hand it over to them,they push you out of the car and drIve off and that's when you regain your senses and know what you just did.

    This happened to my sister about 20yrs ago. I didn't think these kinds of scammers still existed.

    Oh yea...... They have this way of askin you to spit in the palm of youR hand and after you do they will ask you to turn the back of your hand.when you do,the spit wud have disappeared from ur palm and appeared at the back oF Your hand.


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