I enter into a random taxi. The driver is a black man. I go into a conversation mode.
Me: Where are you from?
Me: Which African country are you from?
Me: Oh, Nigeria. You Oga’s are very active. Every country I go, I find Nigerians. You have looked for money.
Driver: Chuckles… you man you are funny. We Nigerians, we are extroverts. We move out. We have put Africa on the world map…
Me: For all the wrong reasons. You guys are too street smarts that people don’t blink in your presence. And they think all Africans have ‘fast hands’.
Driver: No. Here in this city, they know Africans as hardworking and tough thanks to Nigerians.
Me: How is life here?
Driver: Life can be very stressful. Most of the time we are working 12 to 14 hours. Like me in taxi, this is tough. If you are not serious you could sleep on the steering wheel. So, I have to practice not sleeping. It is not easy Brother. Not easy. Work. Work. Work. When we are in Nigeria, we are very lazy. But here, the targets make you wake up to reality. The city life is too fast. You have to work harder to catch up. Indians make the daily target income easily because Indians tourists want Indian drivers… for us, it means you have to learn to smile and shake the head well… telling you brother.
Me: So, you have a girlfriend here?
Driver: Girl Friend? No. I have in Nigeria. Here I am looking for money. If you go into those things of girlfriends you die poor. Emirati women, you cannot have. Forget. For African women, you need money to ‘eat’ her. That is not less than 40 dollars! Hotel cost. So, you better tell brother down there to forget about girls and think money so that when I return to Nigeria, he can remember girls and forget money.
Driver: So, as a driver I meet many girls. We just talk. Some girls have no men to pamper them but they have money. They pay taxi fees and say; talk to me and drive me around the city. I just need a man.
You know, people like AFRICAN men. We are strong in bed, especially Nigerians. Very strong! Not like Ugandan men. Here Ugandan men, have small problems you find him crying! A man, crying! Very weak!
Me: Not all Ugandan men are like that. Point of correction.
Me: How come you did not start the taxi meter at the start of my journey?
Driver: You pay cash, don’t worry!
Me: But that is bad? No, don’t worry brother.
Driver: Stops at my destination. You pay UAE 20D.
Me: That is too much! We move this distance at just 10 UAE when taxi meter is working!
Driver: Don’t worry brother. You are helping a brother!
Me: Ok, I give you extra to go and find a girlfriend!
Driver l: You are funny! Thanks a lot.
So, the driver has seen that he can make more from Tourists from Africa by asking for cash (which they are used to since there is rare, if at all, metered taxis. That way, driver charges a premium. He makes then tells his employer that he drove the journey but forgot to start car meter. Since company has standard rates for the distance, driver pays the money. Company makes money and driver earns as much! On our trip, driver made over 10 UAE over the metered fee!)
That is modern fraud.
Nigerians are indeed the masters of the con. I accept
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.