I called Mr Chukwudi, The man whose number was sent to me as the person who got visa for people through the back channel.
He asked me to meet him at Oshodi. Driving in Lagos was bad atimes, especially that Oshodi-Apapa expressway. As a result, I hired a cab and drove to Oshodi.
I met with Mr Chukwudi at a bar. I was expecting a kind of mini office or Atleast to meet at his house.
We settled down and talked. He said the total amount was N400,000 but demanded that I pay half of the money while giving him my international passport.
” Where are you from Mr Chukwudi” I asked him.
He said he was from Onitsha in Anambra State. I told him that I knew Onitsha very well and asked where his village was located. He told me. He also told me his brother’s name who was a used tyre dealer at Nkpor.
”Mr Chukwudi, giving you half of the money is not the problem. The problem is that you have not given me any guarantee that you will return the money if the visa didn’t work” I said.
”It will work out Azubuike, I have done this for more than ten people and they all succeeded” he blabbed.
”What do you do for a living Mr Chukwudi” I asked.
He said he was a clearing agent at Apapa wharf. He told me where his office was located. I told him that the money would be ready in two days.
We shook hands and dispersed.
I told my taxi to take me to the office Mr Chukwudi had named as his at the Wharf. I met a lady secretary at the office and asked of Mr Chukwudi.
”He didn’t come today” the lady told me…
I asked where his own desk was placed.
”He works here as a sub agent, he is not the owner of the office” she had answered.
I was eventually made to know that there were many of them in that category who would go out and scout for customers.
When I got home, I evaluated the visa situation. It didn’t really have up to 50% success guarantee but life was all about risk. I was going to take the risk. However Mr Chukwudi would pay if he ever haboured any criminal thoughts.
I got home about 4pm, and called Daisy. She had been calling me but I didn’t take the call.
”Where have you been, I have been calling you. I went to the house and saw your car” she said.
I told her I went to the wharf with a cab. She wanted to come but I told her that I was tired.
As usual and expected, she talked about when I would come to see the father.
Why on earth was this girl so keen on me seeing the father?
I was sure it wasn’t for business deals. Why trying to cage a lion?.
If I happened to get hooked up with her, it could mean that I settle down permanently in Nigeria. Settling down in Nigeria permanently wasn’t such a bad idea but it had to be on my own terms and time, not through unannounced trickery.
I was going to play this ”See my father” game with Daisy but she would definitely feel the heat when the game was over.
”Tell your father I will come tomorrow evening between 6 and 7pm” I said.
She was happy as expected.
A call came to my phone, It was from Chukwudi.
I switched my phone to recording mode as soon as I picked the call. It was only a fool who would not think that the visa deal could be fake.
”Did you go to my office at the wharf. They said a young man wearing black jean, red shirt, red shoes and black eye glasses went there to ask of me. The description looked like you” he said.
”Yes, Mr Chukwudi, I was at your office. I wanted to know if you were telling the truth about working there” I said, and kept quiet.
”Why, you think I was lying to you? I like my friends when they trust me… You should not doubt me… Now that you have gone there and confirmed, are you still doubting me” he had said.
”Mr Chukwudi, I am about to give you my money without receipt. I am also going to give you my international passport. I don’t think I was out of line to make some enquiries about you. But if you think I did the wrong thing, you can call the deal off Mr Chukwudi” I said.
”No no, you didn’t make a mistake but you should have told me that you were going to my office. I could have even gone with you”. He said.
Apparently Mr Chukwudi wanted the money. I felt he was going to make some deals at procuring a visa but I also knew that he wasn’t sure of anything. There was no guarantee whatsoever but I needed to be carried along. I would not accept a failure story if I didn’t follow up the process on my own.
I had made up my mind to give him the money but I had also vowed to recover the money from Chukwudi if he played any unacceptable game with me…
Lets wait and see how it goes.
The rest of the day went bye while I plotted on how to secure the money I was going to give Chukwudi.
One of the options available was to go with a witness, who would be present when I gave him money. The other option was to get a recorded confirmation of him receiving money from me.
I decided to go with the second option. Getting a witness was good but if anything happened, it would just be his words against Mr Chukwudi.
European and American juries hardly considered such witness as substantial evidences.
But a recorded voice call was a new technology in town and it would take Many Africans some time before they fully understood what it was..
” without a trace of irony I can say I have been blessed with brilliant enemies. I owe them a great debt because they redoubled my energies and drove me in new directions”