It was true that things were difficult back in Nigeria. The government was headed by criminals who should have been locked up in prisons. Every government agency was crippled with corruption. The problem lied with the central government which was stronger than the regional governments. In a country like Nigeria where we had many ethnic groups, the central government was supposed to be weak. Each region should have been managing themselves since they spoke almost the Same language, eat the same thing and used the same routes to travel. There was no way they could not be inspired to develop their region. But instead, the entire resources were being controlled in Abuja which incidentally contributed nothing to the economy of the country. There was no way people wouldnt be agitated and angry. As a result, a region who felt cheated had taken up arms, blowing pipelines and kidnapping foreign workers. Things will always be that way until we discard the foreign style of government and discover what will work for us.
This system of government was the same problem in Spain where the Catalunya region had been agitating for secession.
In contrast, the government was the reason why our people suffered those fates in foreign lands. If our system was good, half of the people living in foreign countries would definitely prefer to stay back in their various villages. They would not even like the hassles and noises of places like Lagos. I would definitely be one of them.
The Nigerian embassy in the Netherlands never came to Bijlmer to know how its people were faring. The embassy was located in Den Hague. I had once sent them a letter to rent a small office in Bijlmer where people could be coming to tell them what was happening in their lives, a letter they never replied or implemented. Apparently the suggestion came from a nobody. The truth was that 95% of Nigerians in Holland lived in Amsterdam. 93% lived in Bijlmer alone. If our diplomats had brains, there was no way they should have waited for someone to remind them that they needed an office in Bijlmer. They didn’t care about us even in foreign lands. They only cared about themselves up there in the coastal city of the Hague where a massive international diplomatic prison was built. They were supposed to be thrown into those prisons until they learnt what governance was all about.
On the other hand, we were the architects of our own problems. Majority of the Nigerians in Bijlmer needed serious orientations of ethics and how to obey the laws of the land. Some of them would enter the trains without buying tickets.
The system made it that one could purchase hourly, daily, weekly or monthly tickets. It would enable them to move around freely. But instead, some silly ones among us would risk entering the trains without tickets. The transport authorities usually came on board the trains to check for tickets. It was not a daily thing, it happened whenever they felt like. They never announced the days
They would show up, they didn’t have uniforms or badges. They would just show up inside the trains and start to check for the tickets. If they catch you without ticket, they would ask for your documents. That was where the problems of Nigerians lied. Since most didn’t have legal documents, they would just throw their hands in the air in resignation. The controllers would call the police who were readily available in every corner. The police would take you away and lock you up or deported you after finger printing you to determine if you were documented in any neighbouring country. That was also the fate of our people but that was a fate we could easily avoid.
Arguments and Drinks: This was another area where we lacked a lot. Two Nigerians would be arguing over Chelsea and Manchester United as if it was their private business. You would never hear white people shouting over such things, they would just calmly made their points. But when it comes to Nigerians, they would argue until a fight ensured, then the police gets involved and started demanding for documents.
Alcohol was the next. Drinks were cheap all over Europe. Nigerians were also readily available to buy you any amount of drinks you wanted, provided you didn’t ask him to give you the money in cash. After drinking to stupor, they would commit one thing or the other such as beating traffics or urinating along the roads. The police gets involved as usual and start demanding for documents. That was us in Amsterdam.
The major cause of those misbehavior was because we all lived in one place. Back in Germany, the government integrated us into the society by mixing us up with the local communities. It was the same in Portugal too. Maybe that was how the Dutch authorities planned their own way of keeping a check on us.
At a time, i stopped going out. I would stay at home and write. I would study through Google and read novels. I wanted to improve my English but going to school was out of question. My laptop and Google search were my teachers and my school. Apparently they taught me well only that they didn’t issue me a certificate at the end. I liked history a lot. It was my best. Back in secondary school, i did Science courses but it wasn’t something one could study without physical schools and practicals, that was my reason for choosing to read a lot of histories online. If i knew i was going to be writing this someday, i would have concentrated on English and Literature. But i am still grateful that i was able to write what other human beings could read and comprehend, even without much spelling errors. That was my life in Amsterdam. I had decided to shut hustling for money out and did another thing. Money was such a wonderful item, but i tell you this, it was never the most important thing. The most important thing was to discover yourself and when that happened, money will naturally come. Stay away from drugs, that would be my message.
The cocaine deals would be next. Brace yourself.
” Whether you think you can
or you think you can’t, you’re