IT WAS BAD DREAM
I never had it so rough! All these years, I had always returned to Nigeria for a working vacation. My focus had mostly been on the future, my future and that of my family and my people. That is partly why today we now have the Imo Business Link Magazine. But on this particular trip to Nigeria, my eyes saw my ears without a mirror.
I am so disappointed in my people.
You possibly can't believe that as I write this, I no longer have a mobile phone. Not one phone! A guy who went to his native country 5 weeks ago with 5 high class phones! They have all been stolen. The five of them.
First was my Galaxy S.7 Edge which I always kept in the cupboard in my bedroom because it was on contract and I didn't want to be charged the exorbitant bills service providers are used to slamming on roaming customers.
The air conditioner in my bedroom was faulty and I called the Engineer who maintains it to come see what he could do about it. Because I was going to work this particular day in Owerri, the Imo State Capital where I had the office of Imo Business Link Magazine, I gave the keys to my bedroom [for the first and last time] to my nephew's only daughter who was helping me out with household chores. Mercy was her sickening name and she was a Level 200 Marine Management student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri [FUTO].
I told Mercy to open the bedroom door for the Engineer when he came, and warned her that while the man was working, she should not leave him alone in my bedroom. On my way to work at Owerri, I called the Engineer to confirm he was coming. He said he was not coming that day as he was already in Port Harcourt for another work. I came home from work in the evening and instinctively went straight to the cupboard in my bedroom, and behold, my Galaxy S.7 was gone. I asked Mercy. She said she knew nothing about the disappearance of the phone. Till today, that phone is gone. And Mercy has gone back to FUTO.
Only yesterday, I lost my Galaxy S.4, Galaxy S.5, BlackBerry Passport and my Tablet to thieves in one swoop! I had gone to distribute Imo State Business Link Magazine to some hotels in Okigwe. One of our marketing strategies is to convince hotel managements to adopt the magazine for their guest rooms in place of, or in addition to, the Rhapsody Devotion they currently keep in their guest rooms.
At one of the hotels called Alexandria Suites, the Manager was said to be around and I had to wait for him. In my tiredness, I fell asleep on one of the cushions in the Reception Area. I woke up at about 6.30 pm (after about one hour of nap). The Receptionist said the Manager was not in yet. As it was getting dark, and I don’t drive at night, I decided to sleep over till the next morning, partly to see if the Manager would be available by morning as we needed permanent partners in the distribution of our magazine. In the morning, I came down to the Reception.
From the Reception, I walked straight to my car. On getting to my car, I saw this man washing the car next to mine. There was another man hanging around, chatting on his phone, and pacing all over the place. I am sure that if he was not a staff, he was well known around the hotel.
I told the man washing the cars that he did not wash my own car and that I was about to leave the hotel. At this juncture I noticed that the back tyre of my car [on the passenger’s side] was low and needed inflating. The man said the front window of my car [on the passenger’s side] was slightly open and so he could not wash the car because water might enter into it from the slightly open window. I opened my car and kept my four phones on the passenger’s seat as I put the key into the ignition and started the car to automatically close the window. The man then said I should give him 5 minutes and he would wash my car.
The ground around the cars he washed was wet and so I stayed a little distance and watched him as he started washing my car. At this time, my phones were still on the seat where I kept them. The man had washed one side of my car [the passenger’s side] when I asked him where I could find the Manager of the hotel. He said he was the Manager and I told him I had waited all night to meet with him.
I opened my car and showed him a copy of Imo State Business Link magazine I had for the hotel and explained to him how it would enhance business at the hotel. I asked him and he told me the hotel had only 14 rooms. He said the hotel would be interested in a deal, and that he would study the magazine afterwards.
I said I would give him 20 copies so that each of the 14 rooms would have one copy and 6 copies would be kept at the Reception for those who may come in without wanting to take rooms. I told him the terms of sale and that hotels account for N1,200 as against the cover price of N1, 500.
He now asked me to take the 20 copies to the Reception. I counted 20 copies from my car and took them to the Reception. My car was not locked as the Manager was washing it at the time and I felt safe in the hotel environment and in his hands.
I came back to my car about 10 minutes later, after the Receptionist had taken delivery and counted to make sure there were 20 copies. I waited for a few more minutes for the Manager to finish washing my car. At this time, all my thoughts and concentration were on the low tyre that needed inflating.
As he was rounding up the washing, I asked the Manager about vulcanizers and he said I would find them on the road. I got into my car and drove off without realizing that my phones were no longer in my car. They probably got missing when I went to the Reception to deliver the magazines.
I had driven for about 30 minutes when I wanted to make a call to my Bank Manager. That was when it hit me that all my four phones were missing. I drove back to the hotel and had an argument with the Manager. He insisted he knew nothing about the disappearance of the phones.
I have kept wondering. How could the phones have possibly disappeared from my car if no one got into it while I was away to the Reception, as the Manager claimed? The Receptionist testified that she saw me walk to my car with the phones that morning and that I never came back with them when I came to deliver the 20 copies because I had left them in the car. The Receptionist confirmed her testimony to Captain Aruna, the Army Commandant in charge of Okigwe Zone to whom I reported the incident. The Army said they would investigate the case. But they also suggested I should involve the Police. Involve Nigeria Police when I have just one week more to stay in Nigeria?
Questions upon questions have kept crossing my mind. Why did I do, or not do, this or that? That is my latest experience from the hands of thieves who now seem to have taken positions all over the place in my once dear country, Nigeria. I guess you know I will never again be in a hurry to visit this jungle where people struggle by any means to survive. And if you ask me about this latest trip to Nigeria: my brother, it was a bad dream.