“Aunty, I took care of your car while you were away”. The man said.
I looked at him briefly and ignored him.
“You have a nice car and you are very pretty.”
I tapped the unlock button on the car remote once and eased in. I locked the door and started the car.
“Aunty I just need hundred naira.” He said through the wound-up window. “Please Aunty….” He kept saying as I drove off.
This is the fourth time this well spoken man probably in his late 40s or early 50s would be accosting me. He walks the length and breadth of the popular streets in Surulere every day. The first time he accosted me, I did not realize he had a problem. As I eased into the marwa that was to take me to my destination at about 6:15a.m, he walked up to me and complimented my hair. I had packed it all up and it fell like the leaves of a palm tree around my head.
“Aunty, I like the way you packed your hair. It makes you look like an African beauty.”
“Thank you.” I had replied as I looked away and hoped the marwa would fill up on time so we could move. I was already running late and not in the mood for any chit-chat with anyone early in the morning.
“I just need hundred naira, please.” He had asked.
It was at that point I actually looked at him. A tall, well spoken man begging for hundred naira early in the morning. I was confused.
Thankfully, the marwa filled up and the driver eased in and drove off.
The second encounter with him was in the afternoon. I was walking with my son. As we attempted to cross the road, he looked at my son and smiled at him.
“How are you? Hope you are taking care of mummy.”
“I am fine, thank you.” My son replied.
I immediately recognized him and I held tightly to my son as we crossed the road.
“Aunty, please I need just hundred naira.”
On my third encounter with him, I had stopped to buy suya from my regular customer. He walked up to me and said; “I thought you had a baby on your back. I didn’t realize it was your knapsack.”
He started with his compliments as usual and kept talking. I ignored him and faced my business. He asked for hundred naira and when he realized I wasn’t looking at him, he walked away.
The guy selling suya to me smiled and I asked if he knew him.
“Yes, I know am well well. He dey waka everywhere dey ask for hundred naira.”
“Ahn…ahn…” I lamented.
“I hear say na this street im papa house dey. Dem say after im papa die, na so he kolo.”
“Wow!!!” I exclaimed. “He no get family?”
“Dem say im brother just leave am for house. I hear say he don travel comot.”
I paid for my suya, thanked the guy and walked away.
Whether the story about his father dying, his brother travelling out and leaving him alone is true or not, I have no idea. But one thing is sure, the man needs help and it seems like he has been left to his fate.
Photo Credit: http://www.chinalawandpolicy.com