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Reading ‘I Do Not Come to You by Chance’ in Kaduna

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The book: I Do Not Come to You By Chance, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

The place: Kaduna

I’ve developed a new appreciation for the charms of reading books about the place you’re actually visiting. All over Kaduna, stern warnings are painted onto houses: “Beware 419! This house is not for sale!” And it turns out that this book is all about the 419ers, the Nigerian scam artists, so named after Article 419 of Nigeria’s Criminal Code, which relates to fraud. The intricacy and elaborateness of some of the schemes described in the book are admirable; on one hand, you want to say “if you put all that ingenuity into a legitimate occupation, what could you achieve?” but unfortunately the answer to that question is “almost certainly not multiple millions of dollars”, so it’s abundantly clear that crime does pay, much of the time.

Security here is tight at the best of times, but even more so with the recent Boko Haram escalations and the presidential elections coming up in February. I was supposed to be attending some training today, but shortly beforehand we were warned that a PDP rally was set to take place in the area where the training was to take place, and so we were advised not to go ahead. However a colleague was already at the training venue, and reported that our (gratifyingly keen) participants were already there, half an hour ahead of schedule, so my intrepid Nigerian colleagues decided to press on with the training, leaving me, as a conspicuous and potentially violence-attracting white person, back at the guesthouse. (Of course in the end everything was quiet and it turned out the rally had been postponed to Monday, which is when we would have postponed our training to, so it was a good thing we went ahead.)

Lockdown really isn’t so bad, though, some of the time.


Written by Jess

January 24, 2015 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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