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My First Night in Lagos

My First Night in Lagos


By C.V.C Ozoaniamalu

AWKUZU, 4 January 2022


The cell reeked of abandoned souls, it was a tiny space that could only take two persons, the floor smelled of mixtures of urines, and deadly sweats that ran over the faces of dreadful criminals who came before us. I could see only the midnight blackness; the ambiance was quiet except for the echoes of the wailing voice of Uzonna who had coiled himself up at a corner in quiet agony. We had been transferred from State C.I.D to this place at night and thrown into this cell by one of the guards; a man of modest height, part of whose voice had been sent on exile by an excessive intake of marijuana, leaving him with a very little sound for easy communication. 

He had said to us with so much resentment before locking up the cell, “You think say to answer Odogwu na easy tin, I hear say dem wan use magomago release una for Lagos, for here una go see shege.”

Uzonna uttered no word since yesterday, either to myself or to the police. I had never seen him this weak before, the more he cried, the more guilty I felt. I have ruined my friend’s day; I have ruined his interesting times. What a year’s commencement drama.


LAGOS, 1st January 2022 

It was the first day of January 2022, around the 24th hour, I had flown into Lagos for the first time from Abuja to attend Uzonna’s wedding the next day. The Ibom Air Boeing 34287LP had landed just in time, the air was clear and filled with joy. The almighty Murtala Mohammed Airport bustled with people who had flown in from halfway around the world, the terminals had a handful of seasoned uniform officers who greeted everyone warmly, and asked for a New Year tip-off from passengers by the indirect shout of “Boss”.  A woman, who swept the airport hallway with her long gown made with Ankara, which she probably had gotten from one of the markets in Aba, was being followed by one of the officers, her golden bracelet accentuated her yellowish headwrap and nude lipstick. 

With her deep Igbo accent, she chastised one of the officers for calling her Boss Lady, “Ozugonu, you have said that three times and I have ignored you, does that not tell you that things are bad? Onye aririo, osim Boss lady,” she said half-jokingly, and causing a burst of laughter around her.

Uzonna’s driver, Udeolisa had arrived to pick me up, and we were headed to the Luxury suite at Ikoyi, Lagos Island. The traffic at Jibowu was bad; passengers heading home for the New Year celebration had caused a jam at the different car parks, it was a sign that Nigerians could survive any government. Two little boys had approached our car and had started to rub soapy water on the windscreen when Udeolisa shouted at them to stop.


“I wonder who sends out these kids to the streets at this age and at this time of the night. Is that not the effect of bad government?” he said, looking my way, searching for approval, a link of every bad situation to the government.

“My oga bring out money for dis wedding o, that suite fit reach 1 million and e come lodge 20 of you for different suites,” he switched to pidgin, as he does whenever he is to say something that doesn’t concern the government. To him, Queen’s English was only used for important situations and in the heat of intellectual arguments, but pidgin was the language of laughter and gossip.

“And I hear say the wife Papa get money o,” he said, and smiled joyfully, the kind of smile you give when you are expectant of salary increase. I gave him a dismissing smile, an important signal to stop talking, and he understood my drift.


It was the middle of the night when we got to the Luxury Suite yet Lagos was still filled with life. Udeolisa had helped me unpack my things to the suite and had waited for me to take a shower so we could drive to Eko Hotels for the bachelors’ night. I had finished taking my bath as I stood at the rooftop looking down in amazement at the glorious Lagos landscapes – the dust was rising and darkness was thickening in. The thoughts of my ex Ifenkili flowed in, it reminded me of our last night together at my place at Gwarimpa, her lithe sensuous body warming my tired soul. 

She would probably be with her husband Chief Omeluora, the owner of Golden Pharmaceuticals that girded the globe, a man who is at home in dozens of cities around the world. They would probably be having dinner at one of the most expensive hotels in Italy, and when Chief Omeluora is away thereafter, maybe in a meeting with the company’s board in Italy, Ifenkili would be out, having wild sex, with a young Nigerian fine man he had secretly flown into Italy with them, her body heavily wrapped around the young man as she demands for more wild styles.

“Oga, you done finish? Time done go o,” Udeolisa’s voice jilted me back to reality. He had driven on Lagos roads for years and he had the short cuts at the tip of his fingers. We arrived at Eko Hotel at almost past one and I instructed Udeolisa to go home so we could drive ourselves back home. The bachelors’ eve was filled with so many young men whom I  believe traded in Alaba international markets with Uzonna. The whole environment was financially intimidating for a young lawyer like myself. They ordered drinks twice my net asset and women hovered around, courting attention from them. Two ladies sat at the other end, graciously sipping through their glass of wine and occasionally winking at us.

“These baddies are sharp; won’t you want one for the night?” I said to Uzonna.

“Na madness dey worry you, biko tomorrow is my wedding. I am off the market,” he snapped.

There was a comedian to lighten the mood of the attendees. The room reminded me of the ballroom in Enugu, coloured bulbs flickered, the DJ gave nice jams, while naira notes were sent up the air by the Odogwus in the room. My eyes met the lady’s eyes again, and this time she smiled and I gave a smile back. 

“Where’s your wi..sorry, your would-be wife?” I stuttered into Uzonna’s ear.

“She’s with her parents at Ikeja. She cannot be here, they are Catholics and the family tradition, or rather the doctrine of their church requires she comes from her house, not mine,” Uzonna said touching his mustache as if he stored his words in it.

“Wait, Uzy. Are you indirectly telling me that you have not touched her? like…you are trying to tell me that she’s a virgin?”

“I am not trying to tell you, I am telling you. The Dad is a knight of St. Mulumba.”

“Mulumba my foot, Guy you Dey fuck up full time….okay, okay, since she’s not here you go fit run one baddie for the last time. Remember after today, the faithfulness duty clicks in.”

We both laughed.

We left the party early enough, I had spoken to the ladies and they agreed to keep Uzonna and I company through the night. The suite had two master rooms, a kitchen, and a large sitting room.  So, Uzonna and one of the baddies slept in one while I and the other lady slept in the other room.

IKOYI, LAGOS. 2nd January 2022 

It was the morning the Destined Day or rather the doomsday. We were already lodging out, Uzonna wore a skyblue tuxedo, he looked handsome, his shoe was Gorgio Armani, and his hair was combed stylishly to the center. The marriage of the bride had arrived, and the groom had made himself ready. I dapped his face with a towel, a rehearsal of my bestman’s service.

At the reception, the lady requested for the keys and we told her that some people were still up and that they would return the keys. The lady frowned and her voice lit up “Sorry gentlemen, you cannot leave until we call them. This is the Suite policy for security reasons.” 

“We are running late to a wedding young lady and you are…“

“Calm down, Ekwe. It wouldn’t take much time, go ahead and dial the suite, 113,” Uzonna said as he patted my shoulders.

“Hello, this is the receptionist calling room 113, anyone there,” she said into the phone receiver. A voice from the other end responded, “Yes, I am here, any problem?” I recognized the voice; it was the girl I spent my night with.

“Not really, it is the hotel’s policy that we check up on people who had logged in with others before we could allow them go.”

“Oh nice, I am well, they can go?”

The receptionist had started to drop the line when the voice from the other end came up again, “Oh wait, let me check my friend.” Seconds later, we heard a squink from the other end. Our faces squeezed in confusion. What could that be for?

“Any problem, Ma?” the receptionist asked, her eyes fixated on both of us. We couldn’t get what the lady at the other end told the receptionist. The last thing I remembered was the receptionist calling the Securities who surrounded us almost immediately.

“Murderers, what did you do to my friend?” the lady I spent the night with was already downstairs, shouting and pointing at us. I was filled with so much confusion, Uzonna was looking lost and pale. A scene was already created, everything was happening so fast, the police arrived already, and we were handcuffed, as the body of the girl was being carried downstairs.

“We are innocent, we are inno…” Uzonna said, as he was cut short by a slap. People around had started making a video and taking pictures. The first time I would be appearing on Tunde Ednuts.

Uzonna’s phone rang and police took it from his pocket. The in-laws were already calling. The police man spoke into the phone.

“The owner of this phone has been arrested. You may wish to come to visit him at the state CID?”


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