That I am able to blog today, is only by the grace of God. If Lady Luck had not been with me last night, and if God had not been with me and my colleagues last night, I might be lying in a hospital or maybe even worse.
On my way home last night, I had an accident. I will need to explain the 'intricacies' of Lagos traffic to some of you guys out there, but anyone who drives in Lagos might have a better understanding of one or two terms. In a Traffic jam on the Iganmu bridge last night, I was going on my way when I was hit by a 'danfo' bus (actually it was a BIG 'danfo', a coaster bus). The bus and some other large vehicles had taken the wrong way on the other side of the bridge to avoid traffic(one way), and were trying to join the correct lane. The danfo hit the car close to my rear, breaking the rear lights and leaving a nasty dent. I stopped the car. While I had stopped, a TRAILER (16-wheeler or TRUCK or HGV to those of you in the UK, MASSIVE THING), hit the side of the car, the rear passenger door on the driver's side. As the window broke, and the glass flew EVERYWHERE........I was almost in shock. The silly trailer driver didn't even know he had hit me, he just kept going.......and was crushing the car, until someone told him he was about to kill me and the other 4 people in the car....when he stopped and reversed. Luckily, no one in the car was hurt. I got out, and took a look at the wreck that used to be my precious Toyota Corrolla.
I was still trying to piece what had happened together in my head.................it happenned really fast. If the trailer hadn't stopped when it did, I may not have been sitting here writing this blog.
What happened next is still a bit confusing to me. My work mates, Dipo Ogunbiyi and Bright Aigbekaen got out of the car and chased after the drivers of the bus and the trailer, who were trying to escape. Dipo was actually closest to the door that got hit and his screams had initially made me think he had been injured, but thankfully, the dent in the door had only just begun to 'enter' the car. They chased down the bus, got inside, and all the passengers begun to get down, but the trailer was getting away. Since it was the trailer that did most of the damage....they decided to chase after them, and left the bus and search for the trailer, in a 'slow-speed' car chase. By now, I had driven the car to the bottom of the bridge.......with Roli and Bose (both female) in the car, looking out for the others. We spotted them in the bus and started to chase.
What followed next was a series of phone calls that never got through........while trying to reach Dipo and Bright. I had no idea where they were, and what was going on. Bright had even gotten into the wrong trailer and begun to beat up the driver !! Thankfully, Dipo came along and stopped him and they eventually found the right trailer. When we finally located the trailer, I forced him to stop moving by driving in front of him and forcing him to park. Then came the area boys (touts, thugs,umemployed youths) who helped bring down the driver. Then a series of arguments followed, before a passing police car stopped to help. The truck driver (an illiterrate Hausa man, a.k.a. MALLAM) flipped the script and said I hit him !!! Can you imagine ?!?!?
To cut the long story short, my dad called, and said I should just go home, that the trouble wasn't worth it. By now, the area boys were DEMANDING I 'settle' them (give them some money for helping them). I had little money in my pocket, so this was going to be a problem. They had begun to harass the ladies in the car, and this soon became my biggest worry. So I came up with a 'smart' solution. The truck driver finally agreed that the accident was his fault after the policeman explained there was no other explanation. He offered me 2000 naira (His exact words were "How many you go take?". Took me and the policeman a few seconds to decode). I had just replaced the handle on one door for 2500 naira, so this was peanuts compared to what I needed to fix the car. So I told him that I'd let him go, on one condition. That he 'settled' the area boys for me. He agreed. The policeman agreed. He offered them the 2000 naira, and they refused it. They said he had to pay more. I drove off and even began to pity him as I left him surrounded by a crowd of almost 20 area boys.....who would beat the hell out of him and collect every penny he had.
Got home, had dinner and went to bed, only to realise that I was trembling. The whole bed was vibrating, and I knew I couldn't go to bed, I must have been in shock. I got down, made some hot chocolate.....and tried to relax.....finally went to bed around 1 am........
Looked at the car this morning.......and began to calculate how much it will take to fix it. I need to buy a new door, and rear lights on one side. The back wheels are wobbling, so I'll need to have that looked at as well. So 24 hours after collecting my Xmas bonus.........I'm losing it to my mechanic.
Anyway, I need to get back to work..................will be blogging again sometime next week.....................