Episode 3 (Land Grabbers )

I wondered what else we had to deal with this time!
He said the land grabbers popularly known as omonile were on parade and would ask us for foundation money, threatening to stop the work if not given.

He (the mason) asked us to go sit a while at his compound while he worked on.

Now seated at the compound, I watched keenly as lizards displayed their skills jumping from one end to the other as if to entertain us.

After a little while we were joined by the mason.

Him: Ehen Madam, you go need to buy additional 400 blocks o and also iron rods for us to do double wall and pillars.

Me: (In my mind) you’re kidding me right?? Do these guys ever change? They all seem to emanate from the same source, all thinking alike!
Oga I remember when you were bidding for this job! You gave a four line quotation and claimed that was all you needed to erect two room and parlour self contained apartment.
I still remember looking at the figure and wondering why I hadn’t built so many self contained apartments in all my life with all the monies that crossed my hands? It seemed like under a million naira would at least get the job done.
To avoid stories like this I had asked that day
Oga….I hope you won’t come back to say you need additional items after these ones? Oga Mason answered in affirmative.

Him: The double wall is needed for this terrain to help hold the building well. He beckons on us to come look at the height of the foundation of his building where we were having this discussion. He also showed us the iron rods used for each hidden pillars on the building.

Me: Seeing that we have fallen for his tactics, just listen quietly as he explains the importance of the double wall and iron rod pillars.

Losing touch of the story I move to ask, so how much is to total we are looking at now?
He mentions some estimated prices and I do a quick mental maths which brings it to about one hundred thousand naira

Madam Jo: Hmmmm….. Where am I supposed to get that kind of money from?
She turns to the mason and says, you gave me a quotation and I asked you categorically if that was all and you said yes. I gathered all my resources to pay you half the money and asked you to kick off! Now you’re here with a fresh demand?
Where do you think I’m going to cough out that money from?

Anyways no problems, we will get back to you, just go ahead with whatever you can for now.
At this she gestures to me and I know that it’s time to leave. We get up and exchange final greetings with Mr Mason and then set out on our way out of the jungle.

A few metres away from his house,I hear footsteps behind us. Instinctively I look back and see Mr Mason running towards us. He moves close
to me and squeezes two crisp one thousand naira notes into my hand.

In awe of what he was doing I just stand and as a well thought African child, I feign not interested and then he also urges me to keep it.
I moved up to madam Jo who was metres away and showed her the token. She then stops and calls out to him to thank him.

As we move on away from the jungle, madam Jo goes: He feels you’re the one who made him get the job so he’s saying thank you in a way for the contract you helped him secure.

I just laugh it off, knowing where she was headed and not having the energy at that moment.

At home a few days later….

Madam Jo’s phone rings …
Caller: Land grabber jungle
Madam Jo usually saves numbers on her phone with whatever description she deems fit for your kind of person or behavior or the location and circumstances under which she meets you.
Going through her phone, you would find names like ‘ stupid dirty mechanic’
Every contact had a story attached to their names.
So land grabber jungle was calling.…


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