“My job is not difficult. And the pay is good. I drive 2 Toyota G wagons and one Camry Ferrari. Nice cars. If you do all what we tell you to do, when we employ you, you will drive your own too.”

Hundreds of the applicants erupted into a standing ovation. But the whole thing wasn’t clear to me at all. I had neither heard of Toyota G wagons nor Camry Ferrari- could it be that I am not exposed to modern technology? I stood up and asked him what he really did as a pipeline engineer that he could afford 2 ‘Toyota G wagons.’

Uduaghan stared at me like I had stepped on his sore foot but decided to answer my question when all the applicants cheered me on.

“That’s a very stupid question but I will answer it. When pipelines burst due to militancy and other factors, do we leave the oil to keep pouring away? No! I carry my boys and repair the pipeline, that’s all. No more question. I am not the one who needs a job.”

He walked off the stage as the bleached lady came on.

“My name is Ms. Sophia Obasi, I graduated from Abia State University, Owerri.” 

At this stage, everyone burst into laughter, but Sophia had not the slightest idea why we were all laughing.

After two hours of confusing talk, they told us that to be able to work in the “hoil” company, we would need to have a certification in HSE and that would cost 40,000 naira, for each person.

Homie, I nearly jumped off my skin were it not for Biggie that gripped me with his fat arms. 40,000 what!? From that moment, nothing made sense anymore. And if they said more about the job, I wasn’t listening. I just wanted to go home, count my money and put it back where I used to hide it. 

When we got home, Biggie wouldn’t let me be. He went on about how one needed to sacrifice something to get something bigger.

“This is our opportunity. Wake up man. In this country if you need anything you gotta pay for it you know?” His arm was on my shoulder and it felt like the hammer of Thor. 

“Look at Peace Corps recruitment, Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment, money comes, money goes. Just imagine how much we would earn monthly. Imagine what we could do with the money. Girls, I don't mean those ones that line up at Oba Akran at night, Tush ladies, Kirachaana, Roman Goddess; then booze and smokes. Come on guy. Are you in?” 

Roman Goddess

"I want a Venza - you know I am not greedy- a Venza for mama. And a Range 2017 for myself. I am in!"

The next day, we went back to the venue to pay the money. Mr Abass said we would undergo safety training to be able to work in the hazardous environment of an oil company. The training was to last for a day after which we would sit for an exam and upon passing offered certificates

We set off at once with the training. First we went round the school and picked up anything that posed a risk, then we lined up for one on one interview. The training was over. Imagine that!


After several hours of standing in queue, it was finally my turn.  I sat before Mr Abass and his colleagues. They started to fire me with questions.

ABASS: What will you do if you are working in a gas storage facility and you notice a little                    fire?

ME:        My motto in life is "safety first." Guy, I won’t stand there and notice- I will run for my                dear life.
ABASS: Really?

ME:         Yes sir. Someone has to survive to tell journalists how it all happened.

UDUAGHAN:  Tell us about any challenging experience you had at your last place of work.

ME:         Erm, At the last place I worked, there was a time our business had problems so I offered some practical suggestions that later caused more problems.

ABASS:    How were the problems resolved?

ME:          I was fired.

MS SOPHIE:   Why do you want to work in an oil company?

ME:          I need the money badly and oil company dey pay pass money ritual.

ABASS     What makes you say that?

ME:          Upon all the ritual Alex Usifo does in Nollywood films, he is not as rich as Femi                      Otedola.

Alex Usifo

ABASS:    Do you have any questions for us?

ME:           If pipeline bursts and fuel is now pouring everywhere, are the staff allowed to                        scoop the fuel to use at home?

ABASS :   We are done with you, pay the money to Ms. Sophie and come back tomorrow for your certificate and internship placement.


Full of smiles, I paid the money, after which Biggie and I went home. Before we got home we quickly branched at a restaurant run by our neighbor to grab lunch. She knew us as notorious debtors. As we entered, she stood up like she saw a ghost.

“Ehn, what do you want? There is no credit today, come back tomorrow.” She grabbed a four feet pestle and it occurred to me that that woman did not mean well for me.

“But Iya Abeji, yesterday you said no credit, we should come back today. We’ve come now and you are saying no credit today, come tomorrow. This your tomorrow no dey finish? I asked, hiding behind Biggie. I’ve had a phobia for pestles since Iya Abeji used it on me two years ago. 

If I told you the story, you’d say it’s funny; but if you had felt the pain that ran through my spine that day, you will change your opinion about what is funny and what’s not.

Two years ago, I had walked into Iya Abeji’s shop to catch a quick breakfast. As usual, I ordered for two wraps of fufu to appetize myself before settling down to eat the main meal. The food was delicious, perhaps because of the assorted fish she used to prepare her soup. 

When I was almost done I took the fish I had kept for last and bit into it carelessly while winking at a waitress with enviable bosoms. The fish was crunchy and tasted like roast prawn, I spat out some to be sure. What I saw made me vomit all I had eaten. I had bitten and swallowed  half a cockroach.

I explained to Iya Abeji what had happened and she refunded my money. 

It was then a plan occurred to me. The next day l caught a cockroach, killed it and dried it in the sun. I took it to Iya Abeji’s shop and ordered for four wraps of fufu and egusi soup. I added four pieces of meat, two roundabout fish, three pomo and two bottles of big Pepsi. I sat down and devoured the food like a starved hyena. When I was almost done, I called a waitress to calculate my bill. As she was doing this, I brought the cockroach out and pretended as if I had found it in the soup.

Iya Abeji apologized and told me to forget the pay.

One week later. I was totally broke, hungry, and angry. I found a dead cockroach and rushed to Iya Abeji’s shop. With the hungry anger in me, I ordered for six wraps of fufu and other assorted complements. When I was almost done, I brought out the cockroach and screamed. I felt a heavy thud on my back; if not for God, Iya Abeji would have killed me that day. I didn’t know that all along, she had been standing behind me with a long pestle. 

I received the beating of my life that day. Since then, I have developed a genuine respect for pestles as a means of justice and correction. 

Come to think of it. If we could use these pestles on these our corrupt politicians (say for instance, the former DG of NNPC. I won’t mention names, it is anyone’s guess who she is) for each million they stole, corruption would be a thing of the past like Ildris Abdulkareem. But that’s a discussion for another.

So we managed to convince Iya Abeji to sell us some food on credit that we had been employed by an oil company. It worked like magic. We promised to renovate her shop and supply her cooking gas for free every day. She was so excited and dished out food with reckless abandon. Some of those eating in the restaurant heard oil company and started prostrating before us. We ordered food for everyone. It was a free for all. When we were done, we left feeling like E Money and Kcee.

Emoney and Kcee

The next day was the D day. We gagged up in our best outfit to collect our employment letters after days of strenuous interviews. As usual, when we got there, several people were waiting already. There were even new applicants who gate crashed the event hoping to be selected. Most of them were willing to pay twice the price we paid. 

We waited for two hours, Mobile Hoil did not show up. They were notorious for their lateness; so we were patient. But when the time was heading toward 4 pm, I knew we had entered one chance. We had been scammed. 

Some disgruntled ones started dialing police emergency number. When I told convinced Biggie that the whole thing was a scam, he slumped on the floor. I managed to wake him up. It was too early to start slumping, he had to tell me where he saw the vacancy so we could trace Mobile Hoil or whatever they called themselves and recover our money.

“I saw the vacancy, you know, that day, as the boss sacked me, you know. I saw it on the fence of one uncompleted building. It was written with chalk; Mobile Hoil Company vacancy; Call 080344****. I thought it was real, you know.”

I slumped on the floor. Make una kuku kill me.

Kuku Kill me

 I must have caused a scene because people began to gather round me. Then my phone rang. It was one of these customer service numbers but I pretended that it was a real call and spoke into the phone.

“Yes, hello, Mr Abass, good evening, we have been expecting you.”

I had a plan and those around me were falling for it.

“Ok, you mean I should tell the applicants that you are coming with their certificates?... Ok. Hurry up sir, we are expecting you.” 
Then I spoke more loudly to the hearing of everyone. “THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE HERE, WHO WANT TO PAY FOR THE CERTIFICATES TOO. SHOULD I COLLECT THE MONEY FOR YOU?... Alright sir. I will collect the money. Hurry up, we are waiting.”

Bros, they no dey tell person o. A trap will catch a lion, but if it be a true lion, it must escape. 

I had barely finished my call, when more than fifty applicants besieged me like flies on a mound of poo, begging that I should hurry and collect their money.

I enlisted Biggie to write down their names while I collected the money. I had collected from about 15 people when two men barged in asking for those in charge of the recruitment. I came out boldly, thinking they were new applicants. One of them dipped his hand in his pocket and when I stretched out my hands to receive the money I thought he was bringing out, a rusty handcuff gripped my hand. The other one flashed a police Id card and escorted me to a waiting car.

“You have the right to remain silent or anything you say will be used against you in the court of law.”

Bros, you don see how devil dey work? Shebi you don see am?

One of the police man asked me if I were operating alone, I told them about Abass and the others. They saw Biggie holding a piece of paper.

"Is he with you? " They asked.

I looked at Biggie, Biggie looked at me.

“No” I said “But I can explain. I don’t know anything about this o, I am not one of them o, I no follow o. Abeg o.”

 But clutching more than 200,000 naira in my hands, there was no explanation to make.

They pushed me inside their unmarked vehicle and drove off. Bros, I use God beg you. If my picture appears on Daily Sun crime section tomorrow, don’t let my mum see it. She will think I am a scammer. Or am I a scammer?

The story continues.

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