Monday, November 13, 2006

Lagos LASTMA

I made it to work today….I had to ask popsie for fuel money while my mum daggered me with intense looks :). He’s my DADDY! Lol. She hates the fact that I don’t carry cash on me, I’m still not used to having so much cash in my bag. Whatever I take out usually finishes quite quickly. Money is so easy to spend when It's in your hand. Then the traffic was horrendous. There are various road works going on in Lekki and on the Island. To get from Ocean view to Eko Hotel takes an hour right now!

This is a befitting time to tell you all about my LASTMA experiences. These people are a pain! They are meant to make sure we all follow traffic rules and ease traffic congestion etc. In Nigeria there are several uniforms, Traffic wardens (orange and black), Police (Black), LASTMA officials (tan and wine), Army (army green), Area Boys collecting money from public transport vehicles (bright yellow), then there are others that I know not what they do but wear assorted uniforms. All I know is that they are out to get theirs. They don't just give you a ticket like it should be, they haul your car to their station and suck out your life savings and waste your time or you can bribe them and they'll let you go. The first option is not worth it

I will detail my only two experiences. The two vary drastically because when I am first faced with a difficult situation, my first reaction is always frustration which 60% of the time, leads to tears no matter how I hard I try not to, its quite sad. The second time I’m faced with the same situation, it’s not pretty. In my first year of secondary school, I had a school mother in SS2 who I one day teased about never giving me goodies as the other school mothers did. Hey I’m only human. The next day I received a letter with every insult in this world you can think of in English, written in different coloured pens on a sheet of paper, addressed to me. I cried. A few days later, she called to see why I hadn’t come to visit her and I promptly told her I didn’t want a school mother anymore. There were interrogations, punishments, amebo influences from her friends etc, but I didn’t budge. She had KILLED the love. She was surprised I never cried which she moaned about, sadist. I've seen her after that, it was all childhood experiences I guess. I digress.

LASTMA ENCOUNTER PART 1

So one blessed morning I decided to use a quick route to get to work. If anyone goes via CMS/Bonicamp, you know there was a time there were no barriers. You could come from Onikan and join the cars going to Bonicamp instead of going up the bridge to Awolowo, Ikoyi sec etc. Well yours truly didn’t know it was a ‘military zone’ for military cars only. Military cars my A$$. Danfos and every Tope, Deji and Hilary take that route but of course I look like a JJC so as I was winding my way round the bend to join the traffic, a dude jumped in from of my car. At first I thought he was an agbero cos he wasn’t wearing the uniform. He told me to wind down….

ERROR NO 1 NEVER WIND YOUR WINDOW DOWN.

He asked me for my military pass and I asked him ‘You what?’ lol. I had no idea what he was on about. He said if I wasn’t part of the military, I had to park. On a side note there were several civilian cars and Danfos going by at this point. So he directed me to park on the bridge then I opened the door and he jumped into the passenger’s side. If I had any sense I would have kept driving up the bridge cos it was free but as I said JJC.

ERROR NO 2 NEVER OPEN THE DOOR

He listed my offences and asked if I hadn’t seen the sign which was in an obscure place and I said I hadn’t. “Well its there and your fine is 25,000”. By then frustration was setting in and the tears were welling up. Such a baby right? She disgraces me a lot. Anyways cutting it short cos I feel like I’ve blogged about this before, I ended up giving him a 'fine' of N5,000 so he wouldn’t ‘tow my car to the station’ and he let me go.

ERROR NO 3 NEVER SAY HOW MUCH YOU HAVE, N1000 is the most you should give if it gets to that stage.

LASTMA ENCOUNTER PART DEUX

After relating my experience to others, I was given the tope tips with dealing with these predators.

1. Don’t stop if you don’t have to.

2. Don’t wind down.

3. Lock your doors always


I didn’t think I was bold enough to take heed to the advice, but I had been hardened after the first experience. They would never get the best of me again.

I had appointment on the island and was running late. As I approach Akponbon, my phone rings and as I raise it up to answer, one dude in the LASTMA uniform jumps out from nowhere and stands in front of my car. He motions at the phone and uses his two hands to suggest I stop and park. I slow down and immediately put the phone down. I apologise with my hands and try to move on. He shakes his head saying I have to park so I move the car just a little bit forward. He warns me again saying I must stop. At this point there are no more cars in front of me so the only thing in my way is this dude. I inch forward. He calls his boy and they both stand in front of the car. YOU DON”T KNOW ME. I’m getting angry at this point. I didn’t even talk into the phone, I just picked it up! So with all the anger in me, I REVVVVVVVVVVVVV the car engine (lol, the car has issues, it doesn't move immediately when you accelerate), and those two dudes...? I’m sure they’d win in an Olympic 100m sprint. SUCKEEEEEERS.

NOTE TO YOUNGNS: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. PLEASE LET YOUR CAR BE TOWED AND PAY THE FINE. THANKS

How was you weekend? I went out Saturday night to the new Lounge next to Bacchus also owned by the management of Bacchus. 6 Degrees North. It’s very very nice. Make sure you go when you are in Lagos.

35 comments:

LondonBuki said...

I am FIRST!!! Ok, let me go and read the post! LOL!!!

LondonBuki said...

Ha!!!! TM, what has Lagos done to you???? WHO ARE YOU??? U revved your engine ke???

Funmi said...

Lol@ experience deux. I had a similiar experience once too. They seem to added to the insanity of driving in lagos.

Anonymous said...

The same thing happened to me just last week.in victoria

island..After spending 4 hours in traffic(can u beat that)i took

onikan,racecourse area instaed of kingsway road and falomo bridge(was

trying to beat that traffic)only for me to enter a worse traffic

which took 4 hours + they are fixing Ozumba Mbadiwe)..ANywayz after

that mad traffic i got to my destination..on d way back i saw i

needed fuel so i went to Mobil beside Federal palace hotel..Anywayz

to cut the long story short i was caught by some silly lastma guy who

said i was obstructing traffic,just because i was trying to join

another lane...I would have driven off ,if not for the

traffic..anywayz they told me to pack,he took my licence from me and

told me to open up so he could get in and i would drive to their

office..i was like you cant get into my car and the lastma guy,joined

with one police woman and one mean looking police guy,are like "why"

ad i am like "because i heard on radio from the head of lastma that

"we are not to allow you guys get into our car" anyway my friend that

was with me was really giving them attitude(well we were near Bonny

camp n her uncle is a high ranking officer there-and she was like if

this pple mess with us i am calling my uncle)anywayz the lastma guy

picked up his phone and pretended to be calling their head office

"yes ,ehen!officer bring the towing vehicle we have caught people

,yes,that round about"i am like yeah right.At the end of the day he

gave me my licence and told me to go.He knew we werent going to drop

shishi(nothing)for them.
NEVER allow this people get into your car..It is illegal.But if you

see they arereally serious about towing yor car.Settle the hungry

people small money

Anonymous said...

My experiences with LASTMA and Lagos Police?

If I start here dem go close ya blog...

TaureanMinx said...

@buki, lol, I sure did. Lagos drives on crazy
@funmi, I know oh. These lastma peeps are really bad at handling stuff so its just best to aviod them
@anonymous, its crazy, the wat traffic is right now. I hope the mean it when they say it will take only one month or xmas will be crazy! Thanks for telling your story
@chxta, lollll

Calabar Gal said...

You poor dear!! Experience is the best teacher and I bet they'll never set foot into ur car again. LOL

My sista had an experience with those guys too. B4 she knew it, they had jumped into the car and were harrassing the driver and demanding money. She calmly picked up the fone, dialled my number but pretended to be talking to the Inspector General. If you see the speed the used in vacating the car..... hilarious!! Yeye People I hate them with a passion!!!

PSB said...

LOL ..Na wa oh! Thanks for the mini education on Lastma..I never heard of them before..All these horror stories drive Nigeria further and further away from ones mind.
It seems every time one turns around there is someone in a new uniform and if you a re law abiding jjc your own don finish. Cuz not amount of education can get you out of this type of pickle one has to be street smart!

PSB said...

excuse the shellings..u peeps know what i mean..lol

9jamommy said...

Those people are just crazy...I just moved to Lagos and I am terrified to drive (meanwhile I drove in NY for 6 years oh!), but everyone here drives like they are high.

Last week I drove from Ikoyi to VI you should have seen how excited I was, you would have think I drove to Ibadan or something.

Anyway thanks for the tips, infact I will wear my sunshades and bone like I didn't see them if they try and stop me :)

Oh and on the crying thing, it happens to me as well, just yell at the top of your voice when you're angry it helps

temmy said...

I have never stayed in lagos for more than a week, i had a nasty experience the last time i was in lagos. My driver took the wrong turning. All of us being Lagos JJC did not know, those LASTMA guys stopped us, entered the car and told us they were taking us to their office or we should pay 25,000. For where i screamed at them. Ended up paying 10,000 to the monkeys after 1.5 hours of argument.

TaureanMinx said...

@calalbar gal, they are really annoying
@psb, armed with the information I gave, you shuold be fine
@9jamommy, lol, congrats girl!!! Now try the mainland :)
@temmy, YEEEEEE. They would have gone home with a lot of beer in their bellies that night. lol. NEVER do that again.

Biodun said...

lol, guessed u have learned now, i had 2 run-ins with those LASTMA people too when I was in naija. On one occasion, my sis wasnt wearing her seat belt, they mad eher cough out a grand, lol

TaureanMinx said...

Its wierd cos theres Road Safety, then theres LASTMA. I somehow don't thinks its LASTMAS business if you r wearing seatbelts or not but they are jack of all trades.

Anonymous said...

lol... Nice post. Thanks to you, I have tips on how to handle them suckers when I land Naija.

BabaAlaye said...

My Experience. Kingsway road,hungry looking mofo Lastma guy, and my humble self.

I stopped to buy Tru love magazine for some random chic i was talking to on the phone.

Lastma Mofo jumps right in front of my car like Superfly Jimmy.

Offence 1:"obsrunting Trafick"
Offence 2: Talking on my Cellie

Superfly get's into my car all excited at the prospect of skinning another Mugu.

I calmly told him to fasten his seat belt, i pushed the central lock button and calm as you please, started driving off.

With every second Superfly was looking more scared. Then he started some BS like "Ehn (sir) you are a responsible person you should not be breaking the Law like some other people blah blah"
I wasn't trying to hear that and by now we were on 3rd mainland.

Superfly starts pleading. At this stage he's convinced i'm a ritualist. Bros e jooo. Mi o ri ise ni mo wa se LASTMA. Iyawo ati Omo wa nile.( Bros I'm begging you. I'm doing this job 'cause that's all what i could get my wife and kids are at home).

Anyway sha i drove a few extra miles, parked the car and pushed the Raasclaat outta mi Car.

I looked in the rearview and Superfly was tearing down the highway.

zaiprincesa said...

lol..LMAO...This Babe, U R HARD OH!!!...ahn ahn!...were u trying to run them off...or u were just doing "bodi"?...Gangsta stuvvs!

naijagal said...

simply hilarous! she dem get medical insurance for their legs abi?

Why did they not wait for to face the music?? nonsense!

Anonymous said...

Lolll - nice one. I always love your blogs about life in Naij. Had me cracking up at work.

Dimples said...

Lol!!!..it seems that Niaja of ours can turn somebody into vagabond…forget the once upon a time posh lifestyle one once lived…Kai!!! we shall continue to pray.

Cherub (former Bijouxoxo) said...

@Babaalaye that ur technique sounds like a good idea plus i'm sure u were boning seriously.
@Buki what kind of ojoro are u doing? Well done.
As for u TMinx, u're becoming a Lagos area gal small small o. U look so gentle that it's hard to believe u can pull such off. I guess living in Lagos has made u a hard chic.

azuka said...

Lol at the revving.

I've had a lot of funny experiences with the police too. Each one would be five times your post. Lol.

laspapi said...

After reading this post and your rules, I think I'll let you co-author my new book for 'returnees' to Nigeria. It's titled 'Relocating for Dummies".

There's something about the Apongbon story though. There was a female I slowed down for, a few weeks back, so she could get past two LASTMA fellows who stood in front of her car as she descended Eko Bridge into Apongbon. She didn't spare me a side-long glance as she raced up the bumps on the bridge. Was that you, Minx? This femme fatale had glasses on, I think.

Still, this City needs a certain kind of mentality. Once you have it, it's smooth sailing.

TaureanMinx said...

@smoothvibes, you are welcome!
@babaalaye, very funny, i know peeps who have done that too. Thos lastma people are giving themselves freely for rituals.
@zai, it was bodi oh! lol
@naijagal, abi oh!
@nonimoss, comic relief abi lol. My pleasure
@dimples...im so posh it hurts :)
@bijouxox, im turning into a seasoned agbero-ess. ITs quite disheartening.
@laspapi, I do wear glasses lol. I didnt even notice anyone around me oh, i would have done the right thing and thanked you lol. Small world.

Boso said...

LASTMA are the scum of the earth. I had one experience with them, which was enough.

Uzo said...

LOL. Been there. Done that. Thieves and suckers. Actually after my incident which happened on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street in VI, my parents banned me from driving for a week. LOL.

My own case: They "arrested" me for obstructing traffic. I made the mistake of opening my doors and 2 officers jumped in. They ordered me to park somewhere where they began to discuss my N25,000 offence. I locked my doors and began to drive straight to the supposed Lastma office somewhere near the bar beach. I told them i wanted to pay the fine and also have a chat with their boss and tell them how helpful these officers had been. Ha. By the time they saw i wwas serious they were begging me to stop my car. Useless people.

You go girl....

Uzo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Toni Payne said...

It irritates the life out of me to read things like this. I mean I have always said the problems not the armed robbers but the people put there to uphold.

You should have started driving and said no problem, we will drive to my uncle office. He is the DPO of police and Im sure he can explain my offence better.

Everyone says don't call their bluff but I think its high time people stopped giving in to these types of harrasment.

I was in lag a while back, got pulled over, he asked for papers, we showed him, he then started going on about how this dint tally with this ( like he knew the meaning). Anyhoo long story short, he threatened to take us to the station, I said lets go. We got there, I requested to see their oga, I basicaly turned into a market woman, shouting, crying, throwing tantrums and refused to leave because of the injustice (heheh, I was blowing grammer). Shouting for the American consulate. ( like they know the difference) hehehe

Sha after like an hr of their ogas tryna calm me dowm my granny sent someone to beg me to leave. hehe. Of course my ass wasnt about to let it go like that.

The next day I went to the same spot with my father. Sure enough the idiot was there tying to tax other people. By the time my dad was done with him, he was begging me like a complete disgraceful fool that he really was. I was now like what happened to the agro from yesterday. Thinking you were God. Gosh!. the satisfaction and grin on my face. it felt soooooo good.

Anyhoo my fam warned me never to go with them anywhere because anything can happen on the way to the station. He wasnt armed so i did not see the threat but Ive heard horror stories and honestly it shouldnt be that way.

Pele dear, next time they punk you call me ill come whoop their asses for ya ;)

Toni Payne said...

LMAO@ babaalaye.. You just made my day.. lol. Gosh! I havent laughed that hard in ages. Serves him right.

Calabar Gal said...

@babalaye: LOL!! Those LASTMA guys deserve whatever comes their way!! I bet you laughed long and hard after you 'released' him from ur car.

bhookey84 said...

i cant believe u r drivin in lagos, mehn thats a no-no for me o

NaijaBloke said...

I pray I dont get involve with one of dem o,cos I dont know what I might do... seems u r becoming an area gurl by the day...LOL

Onada said...

LOL dont wind down, lock your doors lol....so how long will u sit in the car for?

TaureanMinx said...

@bhookey, its not that bad oh lol
@naijabloke, oh no you didnt call me an area girl, Kneel down and face the wall
@onada, lol, you keep driving. But if you did commit a grave offence use your church mind and stop lol. Like I said at the end of the day its all about cash.

Tonyblu said...

I had a similar experience too.
Look it up here: LASTMA Again

Here is a scanned copy of the Bills which the LASTMA Guys keep a mystery so that they will ask you tom pay N20,000 for a N2,000 offence, and bluff you into negotiating for N1,000 to N5,000.