Some quotes resonate so loudly in a way that the quoted person never imagined they would. “I think therefore I am”. Descartes probably never imagined how powerful that statement would become.
“Yahoo boy no laptop.” Flesh and blood did not reveal this to Olamide. It is a maxim that has now been adopted by the Nigerian Police.
If you’ve never been called a Yahoo Boy by a Police officer, you need to do better really.
As a young hulking male in Lagos, you cannot escape it especially if you stay or work around Yaba, Fola Agoro, Morocco, Onipan, Ojota or even Surulere. Bariga & Shomolu boys think they’ll escape this dragnet but they’ve got something else coming. Simply comuting along Ojuelegba under bridge, Stadium, Ojota, Ikorodu Roundabout, Laspotech, Ikeja Under Bridge, Computer Village is a complete red flag. You’re considered guilty of “wire-wire” by the law of location & visual observation, so find yourself another route. Forget that the real yahoo boys are on the Island, there are more YBNLs per square metre in these areas than anywhere else in the world.
But how can you avoid this unfortunate profiling by the police? Afterall na scum, sorry na man you be, you no kill person.
First. Whatever you do, you must not own a car. How old are you that you’re driving car? You can’t even drive a small car, you’re driving Benz. Who is your father? You must be a yahoo boy.
Hear me. You’re less likely to be labeled a yahoo boy if you’re hitchhiking molue up and down. Besides, trekking is good exercise.
If you must drive a car, you better have an I.D with your pretty face on it. Even though this doesn’t guarantee safety, it at least tells them that you belong somewhere. If you go missing, someone will ask questions. Policemen don’t like questions. The supposed PR officers on social media cannot engage properly so you shouldn’t expect much from the illiterates they put on the streets.
Make that I.D card today. It doesn’t matter if you don’t even have a job. Do it in faith.
Thinking that not having a car is the solution to all your problems? You better think again.
You’re sitting in the middle row of a rickety bus, wearing sunshades, an oversized pattern shirt and neatly cut jeans. To top it off, you’re doing beard gang. Who do you think is the yahoo boy in this vehicle if it gets stopped by the Men in Black?
Definitely not the guy in starched office shirt and pants, with a matching tie to boot.
If you have dreads, forget it. You’re a criminal. I know you’re about to complain to me that the way you wear your hair is a form of self expression & that I need to respect your freedom of choice. Agreed, but what I need you to understand is this, we now live in a quasi-draconian society where self expression is a crime, so tuck your Human Right bant in & listen son, I’m trying to save your life!
Change your wardrobe. Trash those shredded jeans. Reshape your oversized shirts. And for the love of God, say goodbye to your sweat pants and comfy Nike sleepers. Dress smart! These Policemen don’t care about the freedom of your testicles or the comfort of your feet. The Men In Black are wary of smartly dressed people. If you dress corporately, they’ll likely cooperate with you. Lousy pun but who cares.
Don’t celebrate just yet though. Dressing like you’re going for an interview every day won’t save you. At least not in Lagos. And definitely not when you’re using an iPhone. Tell me, why the hell are you even using an iPhone while riding in public transport anyway? That’s a dead giveaway that you stole it. Or swindled a dumb white lady out of her hard earned money. Never mind that you work & can afford it. That story won’t hold water when the Men In Black come for you.
Responsible people work 9 to 5 every day and can only afford Infinix, but you’re pressing iPhone on your way to go and watch Wonder Woman on a Monday morning. My friend, come down!
I know you’re going to tell me the iPhone isn’t that expensive and you can buy it legally. I know you’re going to tell me, its a great device & you’ll miss your great SnapChat selfies & posts for the Gram because of its great camera. But think about it guys, Steve Jobs didn’t die for this shit. He didn’t make the Apple device so you could get profiled & shot by the Popo. Be wise.
Now, if you think your life is worth a mobile device & insist on using the iPhone, let me paint a picture of the likely scenarios that could happen. You’ll first have to explain who all those white people and funny names on your phone are. Say it’s LinkedIn, that Betty O’Conor is your career influencer & you follow her to receive career tips & receive a dirty slap! “So that is where you’re linking up with other criminals abi?! Every day is for the thief. Today is for The Owner.” They are The Owners.
If you are unfortunate though and you have village people who are relentless and they happen to catch up with you that day, these uniformed men will find porn on your phone. Or locate that babe’s nudes you promised to delete but kept in a secret folder. Na him be say you don lose guard be that.
The greatest sin you can commit though is to leave transaction alerts on your phone. Who does that? Why you gon’ set yourself up like that Bro? At this point, money must change hands. In cash or electronically. It’s not even a joking sturvz anymore.
If you must use a phone because of functionality, aim low son. An Android device, make sure the screen is cracked or better still, hold the battery in with a rubber band. All of them can send WhatsApp broadcast & you can check Facebook, so what are you looking for? But for your own good & my peace of mind, just get a Chinese Nokia phone with ear splitting ring tones and count your blessings one by one, it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Disclaimer: This checklist will not save you from profiling by the police. It’s a battle you cannot win. But at least, die trying (literally). Do not go gentle into that good night.
Honest Advice: Never argue with a uniformed man armed with a rusty kalashnikov. Or any weapon for that matter.
In the words of Fela, “you go die for nothing, dem go carry your body go police station. You die wrongfully. Jeje”