The events in this blog post are dated 18th May, 2012….. *cue ’24’ soundtrack* Lol. Not funny though, I was literally spitting fire at the end of the day.
So the morning started ok, a work related call woke me up at 6.20am and by the time I finished catering to it, it was time to get ready for the day, and a 9am meeting that ended up happening at 11.45am (let’s not even go there)!
I left the office about 1.20pm, hungry, and in need of air that wasn’t official. Took a taxi to my bestie’s spot, and after I chatted with her and another friend a bit, eaten lunch (or breakfast, since it was the first thing I was having), I borrowed the friend’s car to make a few stops. Why I did that now I can’t really explain, cos I’d been happy in my taxis since I got in.
Right. First stop was at the bank, and that was pretty uneventful. Was given my NUBAN account numbers for the umpteenth time (lol); I hope they have them to hand because the next time I’m in they’ll probably have to give them to me again!
Anyway, so I left the bank, and headed to Starcomms on Durban Street, Off Ademola Adetokunbo (Abuja) to buy a modem, which is what I’ll use when I’m done typing to publish. I got on the street, and for starters I totally think they should move to an area that’ll allow for better parking for their customers, and repaint the place at least!! Jeez! You would think that a telecommunications outfit would look pretty on the outside, and not like a structure that can be converted to a makeshift shrine.
Time check? About 10 minutes past 4pm. I parked opposite the building, outside a dry cleaning company. I asked the security guard if it was alright to park there, and he said yes. Then I asked if I had to get a ticket because I’d seen one of their signs at the beginning of the street, and he said no. So, I parked. All these questions were because I’d heard severally about the sham called the Integrated Parking Services, who in my opinion have been empowered to make people part with their monies for reasons I cannot fathom, and for causes as sure as the moon turning pink.
Let’s digress a bit; why else would the FCTA and Integrated Parking Services Limited leave more pressing issues like housing, roads, healthcare, and whatever else they’ve been charged with and bother themselves with Road Traffic Regulation which only exists to issue parking violation notices, parking violation charges and clamp down vehicles of offenders. You mean to tell me that of all the problems Abuja has, parking ranks as #1? Or is the government of the day only happiest when they’ve chanced on any new way to further impoverish its citizens? Where do these fees go? What have they been earmarked for? Organized crime? I agree. Is there any other country with priorities as warped as ours? Don’t even get me started on the 2015 plan to send astronauts to space and launch satellites. Have we finished catering to people on the ground?
Back to my story. I got out of the car, and just as I entered the gate, I saw two guys WEARING STARCOMMS tags who said hello and asked how they could help. I said I came to buy a dongle and they said to go upstairs with them. I did, and I was offered a seat in what looked like the repairs office. I asked to see a brochure or a price list and one of the guys said there was none, and that the only modems they had cost thirteen thousand naira. Dodgy, especially since bestie had called a friend in the office and he said it was eight thousand naira. I demanded anything written to that effect and again the guy said there was none, and then said the one that cost eight thousand naira was old and out of stock. When he produced a rumpled form for me to fill out, I was convinced there was something wrong and I was already on my feet when a security guard came in and said the car had been clamped.
Exasperated (did I mention it was really hot), I went outside and not only had the wheel been clamped, they had loosened the license plates as well. I said hello to the lady officer and asked what the matter was, since I had been told I could park there, etc. As though she were reading a script, she said ‘you have broken the law’. Of course she’d magnified her office, shoulders in the air, attitude et al and so wasn’t listening to me. When she said ‘if you don’t have the money we’ll tow your car to our office and when you have the money….’ I got pissed, shushed her, paid the fine (five thousand naira) and collected my receipt. Did I hear you say ‘welcome to Nigeria’? Lol.
I still needed the dongle so I parked somewhere else and went back into Starcomms. I went in through what looked like the main doors and saw a few people behind a counter and a couple others on a queue; turns out that’s where I should have been in the first place and guess what? The dongle was eight thousand naira! That’s when I started yelling (not very loudly though, I’m a lady). You know what annoyed me the most? When I was done telling my story, one of the staff said, ‘we’ve been having cases of fraud here’. Are you for real? So you’ve got people parading themselves as Starcomms staff, using your offices to perpetuate fraud and all you’ve got is ‘we’ve been having cases of fraud here’? Seriously? In 2012? How do they have tags, and access to your offices?
I paid for the modem, registered the sim, and left with a broken heart, and apologies I will forget immediately I publish this.
Nigeria will be great, but at this rate, not anytime soon.
- Nigeria to launch 3 satellites (vanguardngr.com)
- Abuja, corruption is your name (vanguardngr.com)
- Motorists allege extortion by Abuja Park and Pay firms (Weekly trust)
- Organized crime in Abuja (Allafrica.com)