The hustle in Nigeria is tough. It’s even tougher when you are a student of Unilag. Trying to juggle your social life and academic life together, you realize that you are always in need of some extra cash. This is my story.
It started when I received a message on my whatsapp from someone I had never met before. The message read:
“Hey, I saw your ad on jiji.ng. Is the phone still available? I’d like to buy.”
That was when I recalled that I placed an ad on jiji, trying to sell one palasa phone like that. It was this Innjoo Halo phone that I had been using since forever, until it started running mad. First, the mic got spoilt. So, receivers couldn’t hear me when I make phone calls. Secondly, the navigation key got spoilt and I couldn’t operate it. Still, I was determined to sell it.
So, I placed it on Jiji and tagged it seventeen thousand naira, with hopes of attracting buyers with the cheap price. But still, no one contacted me. No one, until that fateful day.
When I saw the message, I was beyond happy. But I knew I had to be smart too, I couldn’t lose this Client. So, I just replied with:
I think I did great not letting my excitement reflect in my response. I got to chat with the person for a bit and I gathered a few info about my Client. I was dealing with a guy who was desperate to buy my Innjoo Halo. To make him even more interested, I reduced the price to fourteen thousand naira, but I didn’t tell him the phone was spoilt. So, we agreed on a date to meet. We agreed to meet at Yaba, in front of the Tejuosho shopping complex, on a Wednesday morning
When I met with the guy that morning, I tried my hardest to stop myself from shining my teeth. He was just a boy, he looked no more than fifteen years old. This was going to be easy, I thought.
“Gimme the phone,” the boy said. His voice was deeper than I expected. I gulped. Perhaps, he was more than fifteen after all.
When I gave him the phone, I quickly noticed the frown growing on his face. The phone was just too rough. The glass screen guard was cracked, clearly showing markings that looked like Spiderman’s web. The body was equally bad, one could hardly see the trademark inscribed at the back of the phone. I could sense his disapproval. He was losing interest already. I had to spark his interest again, so I reminded him of the cheap price, hoping it would make him overlook the phone’s superficial blemishes.
“So, where is the fourteen thousand naira?” I said. “I have to get back to school,” I added with urgency.
The boy didn’t even answer me. He switched on the phone. I was hoping he wouldn’t do that.
“It’s not working na,” he said, tapping the home key repeatedly. He squeezed his face at me.
“Don’t worry jhoor,” I quickly put in. “It’s because the screen guard has cracked. If you just change it, it will work,” I lied. I knew fully well that the touch pad was faulty and not just the screen guard, but the boy seemed to believe. He nodded.
First problem solved. Next, I had to make him believe that the mic was working. So I staged a fake phone call with the phone, pretending to call my fake boss at my fake office. Just so he would believe that everything was working fine. And he did.
“Oya, pay your money. I have to get back to school. I have a class very soon,” I said, sounding impatient.
“Wait, lemme call somebody,” he said.
I couldn’t let that happen.
“Ehn, pay for phone first na. Before you go dey use am dey call,” I said authoritatively. Hoping he would feel inferior and not make the call.
He smiled for the first time. He smiled like he could see right through my lies. I thought, for sure, he wouldn’t buy anymore. But then he said, “fourteen thousand naira abi?”
I smiled and nodded like a dog begging for free bone.
“Okay,” he said, handing the phone to me. “Hold the phone first, lemme go and bring the money from my house.”
I took the phone. “Why didn’t you bring it when you were coming na?”
“My Daddy said I shouldn’t. Until I see the phone,” He said. “I’m coming.” He turned to leave.
I giggled as I watched him run to fetch my money. “All this mumu aje butter boys,” I said, feeling proud of myself.
Twenty minutes later, I was starting to get worried. The boy wasn’t back yet. I decided to wait a little bit more.
After waiting for what seemed like thirty minutes, I concluded that the boy wasn’t returning. “Stupid boy,” I cursed as I turned to leave.
It was when I got back to school and sat down in the comfort of my hostel, that I realised what had actually happened. I tried to switch on my phone but it refused to come on. So, I removed the back cover to adjust the battery properly. When I did, sand poured out of my phone on my body. I was shocked! It was simply unbelievable! When all the sand had poured out, I didn’t see anything there. It was just the case of the phone and sand.
Till now, I do not know how the boy did it but, he scammed me. I looked closely at the Spiderman’s web on my screen, and I noticed that it was a different crack pattern. Somehow, the boy had managed to swap my phone and given me that nonsense. I don’t believe I had ever cried so hard, my nephew was begging me to stop crying
Now I understand what Vector meant when he said, Scam is scamming the Scam nowadays