Friday, November 18, 2016

Chaos on the Long Bridge

It was about 7:30pm. The orderly queues of vehicles moving towards Magboro stopped for not more than 5 minutes on the Long Bridge inside the demarcation created by Julius Berger on Thursday. We were still wondering whether a car broke down again when the evil boys sprang out from nowhere.

They started with a commercial bus, stabbed the driver in the rib and yanked off a woman’s hand bag. The woman reportedly slumped probably out of shock. People shouted ‘won ti pa o’. Motorists scrambled out of their vehicles and fled in various directions. A boy of probably 7 years stood by their family car, shouting to his fleeing mother ‘I cannot leave my daddy’. His father probably couldn’t run or didn’t want to run. I’m not sure which.

I made frantic calls for help to the police and to someone who I believed had their special password. I was assured they would be there shortly. But I, like the rest of the teriffied people on the bridge knew that the job of keeping ourselves from being killed or hurt was exclusively ours in the interim.

With no help in sight, some motorists who had apparently been experiencing such on the road came out with cutlasses, axes, and other hideous weapons etc. Sheer terror was unleashed. No one was sure who the robber was and who the vigilantes were. Utter bedlam in pitch darkness. The Long Bridge falls under Ogun State which, quite frankly has no wish to be like Lagos when it grows up

Somehow, the sight of some motorists emerging with crude assault implements proved intimidating for the robbers. They cut short their operation and jumped into the bush with their small loot. People rushed back to reclaim their vehicles. A woman was heard shrieking: ‘Omo mi da?’ (Where’s my child?). Apparently, mother and child had fled in opposite directions when chaos descended.

It’s not the first time. It will still probably happen tonight and tomorrow night and the night after that, to different sets of terrified citizens.

For how long will this continue? Should it get to a stage that people will begin to get illegal guns to protect themselves on the Long Bridge before the authorities will take action?

Monday, February 22, 2016

BuyNigeria and value for money

It’s okay to campaign for made in Nigeria goods and services. But how about campaigning for excellence in our local businesses? How about campaigning for our local businesses to imbibe the wining practices of the businesses whose goods and services we import?

There are Nigerians who would love to fly Arik outside Nigeria if only to save cost, but grudgingly go for the costlier but more predictable alternatives. 

When you hear stories of outbound passengers being stranded at MMA for days without compensation, it’s a good bet to think Arik. In April last year, Arik’s flight to New York was delayed for days with no arrangements made for accommodation for the hapless passengers. Some told the media they were not sure their jobs would still be waiting for them in the US after days of absence. 

The airline simply carried on its business as if nothing happened until the passengers marched to the tarmac to block an Accra-bound flight. How much sermon on the mountain will make those victims go back to this airline?

How about formulating and implementing policies that help our businesses to embrace excellence? Can we campaign for a better business environment so that the products of our local businesses will be competitive? Can we campaign to abolish predatory taxation by three distinct layers of government?

Can we campaign to rid our cities of rent-seeking behavior from all manner of agencies, host communities, area boys and so on? Local businesses are buffeted by so many challenges that they are continually tempted to compromise quality in order to make decent profit from their labour. What are we doing to make it better for our local manufacturers?

‘Buy Nigeria’ is a good campaign. But let’s first sell them excellence. Excellence attracts patronage. You don’t need to preach or invoke sentiments.
I’m a citizen. I just want to make common sense.
#BuyNigeria #BuyExcellence

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

London City Airport isn’t duty-free shopping compliant

Folks, if you want tax refund for your shopping in London, don’t fly out through London City Airport. 

The airport has no facility to process your tax refund. All they have is a box where you are expected to dump your duty-free shopping forms. 

If you have already booked for your flight, then go through the trouble of processing the refund at the appropriate offices in London ahead of your flight. Let the customs put their stamp and then you can dump in the box provided at London City Airport. Perhaps, they will get back to you with your refund.

Otherwise, kiss your refund goodbye.

Na wa for my countrymen o!

Why is it that it is your countrymen that tries to rip you off at every opportunity they get? Our last holiday in London went without any incident except when we transacted business with our own countrymen.
With other nationals, you would be sold stuff and be given receipt where they had the facility without you having to ask. Sometimes, when you were frustrated with the numerous coins in your wallet, you just dumped them on the table and asked the shop owner or sales clerk to pick the correct value of money for the stuff you bought. They would just do that, push the balance towards you and proceed to show you and explain what they took out of the lot.
On the contrary, our experience with a Nigerian cuisine restaurant, Tasty African, Maryland, Stratford, was that there was always a scheme to nick one or two pounds off you. The same items were sold at different prices every time we visited. We discovered this and started insisting on them giving us receipts for our purchases and a couple of times, the sales girl would feign forgetfulness.
If they had told you some prices for some items when you were picking stuff, once you tell them you wanted receipt, they started giving you different prices for the same items.
Sometimes when you remembered how much they sold something the previous day and ask why the difference, the sales girl would tell you, how, that must have been hard chicken. ‘This one is soft chicken!’
We found their food much better than the other restaurants we had used and our schedule was to tight that we couldn’t look for new restaurants. So, unfortunately, we had to keep going back.
The owner of that business needs to pay attention to his sales staff in that outlet particularly.