Thursday, 24 April 2014

How To Swindle a Hunter

Housing for me has never been a problem––or so I thought––because my father had lots of vacant rooms and all it took to get a room was a polite request. Gaining admission into the university––UNN precisely––I immediately signed up for hostel accommodation. The tall gigantic buildings (Eni-Njoku, Alvan and Mbanefo) caught my fancy.

"A heaven", I thought. However, it turned out that life inside the hostel was a masquerade of the outside. It scared me that I had to share a room, fairly large though, with nine other rummies––four squatters inclusive.

Well, "I'll cope", I consoled myself, I always do. As time flew behind, populations in the hostel grew and so did the want for basic amenities. Getting water from the tap became a queue, same with using the bathroom; toilet was an ever growing mountain of shit. It bothered me, this struggle for everything. Towards the end of my second year, I've had it up to the neck. It was time to go off campus; no doubt, to opt the better I used to know. I met with Iyk, a classmate and a like mind and tangled for the 'ultimate search.

Unfortunately, our search coincided with the time 'big boys' ran off hostels to start 'real campus life', so, the few houses around weren't enough. Exams ended after three weeks and yet nothing. Normally, I travel home the very next day after my papers but because of my hunting expedition, I spent the next two weeks in school, painstakingly, reason been that a finalist promised me her room when she left but she was taking eternity to pack out, "Project this... Project that..." she would say each time we came to check on her––or rather, check her out. We liked the place particularly because it was still within the borders of the school in one of the staff quarters––so we'll get to enjoy free light and security.

Finally, the finalist left and we met an agent. We missed the finalist departure because we had become too regular visitors and it irked her. The last time we visited and concluded to suspend our visit, we greeted innocently and she replied, "Haba! Una wan push me off? Allow me to round up my project nah".

We had left tongue tied and embarrassed and promised our self to give her ample time before checking back. What charmed us to this guy with wilted leave skin colour––the agent parading the house––was when he introduced himself as a lecturer's son––doing business with ‘top shots’ is so cool, isn't it?

''Ah! Our money is safe", I said to myself––was it? "How much is the room?" I asked calmly "Seventy five K in all" We counted the money and handed it over to him––without receipt––and left (till now I still ask myself why we had been so naive).

We were in a haste to travel home and suspended the formalities till when we returned. We only got a padlock and locked the metal protector placed after the door. Lo and Behold, we came back to discover the key we used to lock the house had been removed. We contacted the guy––through the mobile number he gave us––but he told us it was nothing to worry about. Gradually, it became one story for a day––no money, no house. We dug up his department––Economics––and took our search there but he had ghosted away. Then it came to the point; 'The number you dialed is switched off, please try again later'.

We wanted to keep chasing––we had the will power to––but our parents told us to quit for the sake of our lives––Iyk quit long before I did. Secondly, our limited evidence made it clear to us that we were on a fool's errand. With the help of our course mate, we secured a flat (self-content)––miniature anyway––in his one deck lounge for same price but this time, outside the school in a place called beach.

The room would be small for a bachelor with lots of luggage but we had to manage––what options did we have by the way? (Well, I could have coughed out seventy-five K and enjoy the privacy of the 'Big League'). That room we retained till a little after graduation. Enough respect to my guys Chigozie Achebe and Ikenna Ibekwe.


Where one's want lies, there is his greatest vulnerability. Inasmuch as housing and houses are tough and scarce, we should be weary of our dealings with 'agents'. I would suggest that before any agreement with any so-called agent, we should go into serious enquiry, seeking knowledge from the tenants to know how they processed their stay.

Then, when on a round table with the agent, one should make sure he/she document every payment or terms in the presence of witnesses--never make blind payments or they may rob you blind. Finally, no matter how desperate you are for a house––or even any other thing––never show it in front of an agent or they may capitalize on it to swindle you.

Always keep your subconscious attune that every Nigerian is an opportunist––we take advantage of every situation, good or bad, to make money. Learn to control your desperation or anxiety. Imagine! I later learnt the house we were swindled upon rents for fifty K. Our desperation, am sure that young man had read off our faces and used against us.

Notwithstanding that I have forgiven him, I still pray each an everyday that God let our path cross again, one last time so I'll teach him how not to swindle the hunter. There is this site I discovered recently, they do similar work like except that the former deal with houses (selling and renting houses).

They have proven to be reliable just like the latter. You too should give them a try next time you want to enter the bush and hunt; sorry, house hunt. It is always better to deal with a group than a single individual so that when things go wrong you'll have more option to chase. For me, I'll give Nigeria property centre a try in the future because it will surely cut down the stress.

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