.. chronicles of a typical Naija relationship
One of the petroleum Union bodies in the country, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, announced yesterday night that they would be embarking on another strike within the week. I heard it in the news at 9. I was already on my bed. I couldn’t sleep well all through the night. What I went through during the last fuel scarcity was not something I could forget very quickly. So i decided I would be leaving home by 6am, the following morning for the filling station around my hood to quickly get some fuel in my car. I had outing lined up to fill up the holiday given by the Federal government.
Fuel is like the center of all that we enjoy in the country, without it, this earth itself looks void, formless and filled with darkness. The electricity power company must take away light. And if there is no light to watch good movies, news or my favourite political programme, what’s the point of living? I have to power my small generator with fuel. Some of us use gas cooker and some that don’t have cars will have to take public transport. Even if you have a car you still need fuel to move it. So you see, that this thing called fuel answereth all things.
I didn’t even remember that I had slated some serious house chores for morning. The news of the looming strike really got my head scattered. I hate not having fuel to use, even in my car.
I woke up as early as 6am but not to get fuel but to get glued to the already scheduled house chores. I kept putting many things together till around 9:33am when i jumped in my jalopy car and rushed down to the gas station in my hood. But unfortunately for me, in its usual manner the filing station wasn’t selling. Read my lips, it wasn’t selling! I didn’t say they had no fuel to sell. You understand what I mean? Thank you.
Ah, how would I be able to cruise around and visit my Muslims friends and join them in eating their chicken now? These ones will always be trying to put sand sand in person’s garri. You need to see their hungry faces. What’s their reasons for standing by, if they truly had no fuel to sell? I smell rat.
As I was looking at the attendants and I was wishing they would just pity me and asked me to drive in for fuel. Then I remembered a filing station that would always sell. I was too sure they would sell, if they had fuel, but it’s a bit far from my house. I had just little fuel running in my car right now. Should I Park here, pick the keg in the boot and take a bike to this filling station? If I come back and I couldn’t find my car, whom will I hold to responsible? Is it these ones that were looking like they couldn’t wait for me to vamoose from their vicinity? (I’m referring to the fuel attendants) *hiss*
I switched the ignition on and I moved. On getting there to the gas station, chai, I trust Nigerians, there were queue already. It wasn’t too long to bear though, so I joined the queue. Oh, only one machine was being put to use and just a fuel attendant was stationed. Little wonder there was a queue, It was unusual of them.
As we were there and everything was going on slowly but smoothly, I saw a young girl, she should be in her 12 or 13 years of age. She was staring at a corner and smiling. I looked at her from head to toe, while sitting down there in my car. She wore sky blue long sleeve top and a pair of black pencil jeans trousers. After sizing her up, then i tried to look in the direction of her eyes. Suddenly, she started moving into the corner, where she was staring at, all along and she was struggling to deep her left hand into the pocket of her tiny jeans trousers. Was she trying to pay for what she has been looking at or what?
My car was the last one on the seemingly long queue, there was no one at my back to hasten me to drive forward and closer to the machine, so I had taken my time. What am I waiting for? Let me get down and see what this girl was looking at and find out why she was even trying to walk into the corner of the back of the filling station.
Tufiakwa, my eyes will not see evil, that is how they use to kidnap little girls for rape and rituals. It won’t happen here today! As I attempted to open my car door and step down to follow the girl, one cranky voice sounded, exactly by my side, through the window of my car “Oga drive close to the machine na. You are the only one left here and we are closing down now. Strike is starting in the next couple of hours. Don’t let them sanction us abeg.” It was the manager.
I tried to explain as I pointed in the direction where the girl went, he quickly closed the door of my car. I drove closer to the attendant and buy my fuel. My mind was with the girl that went towards the back of this filing station. I decided I would just park outside the gas station. I have to know the girl’s whereabouts.
Trying to drive out of the filling station, the young man called manager couldn’t even wait for me to finish driving out before closing the worn out gate behind me. I drove out and pulled over. It was then that I remembered that I had refused to park at the front gate of the first gas station I earlier visited for the fear of being robbed. What is it with me with parking at the front of the filling station sef? This is temptation.
I stopped there and started contemplating on what to do, it’s not as if the car was worth what some “classy” armed robbers would be looking for to steal, really but..
All of a sudden, I heard a noise coming out from this corner. It was a very loud scream.
To be continued