Victoria Chukwuma

Living in lagos makes you paranoid

Living in Lagos makes you paranoid, often for no plausible reason.

You watch you back, you bag, your pockets and your neighbors’; on the road, anyone who comes close is too close, anyone who walks faster behind you is after you, anyone who bumps into you has taken something – your destiny or penis.

Some minutes ago, a young boy approached me with a paper in hand on the Island, I was frantic to get a bike that would take me to Ikoyi to meet up with Griots And Bards. He had barely uttered the words “you know this addre..” when I said ” I no know anywhere here”

It was reflex. Unplanned and spontaneous.

I said that and walked faster away from him with my conscience thumping loud on my hand.

Living in Lagos makes you paranoid, often for no reason.

I felt terrible. He was so young and new to Lagos probably.

As I walked, I occasionally spared a glance behind me to see if someone would help him. I looked around and saw some shop owners and willed him to approach them. Christ, I willed him to ask them.

I mean, that is what I’d do if I needed direction – which happens often.

He did not.

A bike man refused my offer for 400Naira as a fare price from Victoria Island to Ikoyi so I had extra time to look behind.

He finally approached someone who was graceful enough to guide him. God bless that man.

When I let out the sigh I never realized I was holding, relief washed over me. Right there and then, the world made so much sense.

Living in Lagos makes you paranoid

I do not want to live this way; in Lagos, scarred by stories of horror that have befallen those before me who have guided lost strangers and have met terrible fates.

I certainly do not want to live this way; burdened by the downcast faces of human beings I can help but can not. Why? Because the tales of those who have gone above and beyond for strangers who wore down crested faces but ended up missing, kidnapped or mutilated.

My heart breaks every time I fail to help and because living in Lagos makes you paranoid, you cannot help yourself.

I certainly do not want to have a means and not give meaning.

This is my story: I was born and have lived in Lagos for over two decades and still, I am yet to master the basics.

Walking away has failed to stick (on me).

#LagosRant 3

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10 thoughts on “Paranoia is Lagosian

  1. Lagos is a statement of mind. This city is different from others I have lived in and I get the paranoia sometimes as I have to walk briskly most of the times and I never carry my backpack on my back.

    This city…

  2. Honestly I get cranky when ever someone walks close to me or touch my bag pack.This 6th Sense of security you develop living in Lagos is something else

    1. Hi Vincent,

      You are absolutely right. It creeps on you unconsciously and before you know it, you are paranoid of every touch, feel or person.
      Thank you for sharing and dropping a comment.

  3. Living in Lagos makes you paranoid because Lagos is a no man’s land and you have to keep focus cos your business is no one business. Lagos is a beautiful city with many faces🤣🤣

  4. Victoria, this the Sad tale of our daily experiences here. Lagos is seen as a ‘no man’ s land’ and your survival instinct is your first line of protection.

    The good side of this is that if one can learn character in the most deplorable of classrooms Lagos can offer, then I can unequivocally say that such a one can survive anywhere in the world.

    Thanks always for sharing👍❤️

    1. Hi Peter,
      The first paragraph of your comment is exactly is what a colleague said to me when I shared this experience.

      The seemingly good side you stated is fast losing its grip on me you know. Now, I am purely not comfortable that I am paranoid every time someone moves close to me on the road but then, it has its moment when you are thankful for such sensitive instincts.

      I appreciate your comment Peter. Cheers!

  5. After my phone was forcibly gotten from me by three armed men, I now apply zig zag pattern of movement intertwined with sporadic races and front back and sideways checks. If this is not being paranoid then the word itself has lost meaning.

    1. Hi Ante,
      I am so sorry you had to lose your mobile phone albeit forcefully. It is equally terrible what the land has subjected us to as I cast sideways glances very often whenever I am on the road.

      I hope it gets better.
      Thanks for leaving a comment.

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