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Esco: Help! Home Invasion



My cousins Nze and Emmanuel had to share a bedroom till they were in their early teens, as their house was smaller and tighter than a Titus sardines tin. Emmanuel used to wet the bed, so their father’s main intention was to saddle Nze with the responsibility of making sure Emma got up to pee. Nze had to either do that or get soaked with the urea of life. Emmanuel was also a restless sleeper, who either hugged the blanket, or tossed and turned all night, kicking wildly as he snored. Nze could not wait until he was rid of Emma, who was due to go off to boarding school soon. But until then, these troublesome nights were still there to be had.
One night during sleep, Nze felt someone tugging at him, like those street beggars from Chad. He thought it was his brother Emmanuel, so he said ‘Emma, please leave me alone, I want to sleep. I am as tired, as the excuses of our Nigerian leaders.’
Emma snapped ‘It is not me o. I am not in your way. Hian!”
Nze opened his eyes slightly and was confronted with the sight of a huge rat blowing gently and chewing on the tips of his fingers. He had gone to bed after eating a dinner of oats fufu featuring oha soup, without washing his hands. The rat loved ofe oha, too. Their eyes met for a moment before it scurried away into a crevice in the wall, as Nze screamed. It had also given him a Mike Tyson hair-cut, with a map of Nigeria shaped bald spot in the crown of his head. There were huge holes everywhere the rat had eaten lumps out of his hair.

Nze’s screams woke the whole house. Their father welding the fufu pestle quickly organized a search party for the rat. It was nowhere to found, as it had escaped into its tunnel deep in the bowels of their house, from which it would emerge to launch periodic attacks… just like the Sambisa Forest. And unlike Emma, rat could not go off to boarding school.

Trivia – an average rat’s lifespan is 2 to 3 years. Eat your heart out (no pun intended).

I know this single Nigerian chick that lived in an apartment shaped like a shoe. She returned from work one day, and saw a critter going through her garbage bag in the kitchen. It had crept in through the HVAC vents. That would not do, so she bought rat poison and doused some groundnuts with it. She set it on the floor, and left for work. That evening, the critter went into the loft, and cried throughout the night as it shrieked in pain from the poison. The nuisance from its yells of anguish far outweighed the inconvenience it would have caused from going and coming as it pleased. Then on the second night, the yells stopped. She was ecstatic, and did a little Shoki victory jig.
It was short-lived. The putrefying smells came, just like the plagues of Egypt. Splinter (let’s call it that) had crept into a vent in the room and was decaying there. She had to engage a pest company to locate and retrieve the carcass.

The most critical cause of pest invasion I ever witnessed was when my family moved houses to some new home in a nice leafy suburb in the mainlands of Lagos. However appearances can be deceitful and boy were we invaded by pests of every species.
In the first week, it was sandflies and gnats from the pits of hell. They bit everything moving outside before the sun went down. Playtime in the compound was a nightmare for everyone, and even Antimos (an insect repellant) would not work. Then my father noticed that the unused construction sand left in a corner of the house by the builders was what had attracted sandflies in their trillions. He donated the sand to a building site down the road. Problem solved – a bit.
Then the roaches came – in all colors. The worst cockroaches were the flying ones who take off awkwardly like a local aircraft missing a tire, when you tried to swat them. The roaches especially the loved dark corners of the house, like the store-room. I loved to mash them with my Cortina shoe heels till their abdomen jelly squished out.

My mum who is a germaphobe took the roach invasion personally – what would visitors say? She stashed her pesticide arsenal and tried different methods. We had the house fumigated. The pests disappeared for two weeks and then returned. We “fleeted” the house every morning before everyone left for school/work, and the non-sleeping areas of the house at night for an hour before bedtime. We tried Shelltox, Raid and all the popular products. We even mopped the floor with a mixture of water and kerosene, but one day the domestic help slipped and slid on it like a skating rink. Nothing worked like Baygon – a powerful insecticide with the potency of ogbunigwe. It was the kryptonite for the flying roaches and insects. Once the Baygon fluid made contact with the insect’s thorax, they were done for, and fell over on their backs like a willing runs girl. However Baygon was too potent, and irritated the lungs of my baby sister Kpomkwem. So we had to look for other solutions.
Once, I put off the kitchen lights for the night, and then remembered that I needed to fix myself a cup of Vitalo for a nightcap. I switched on the lights and there were roaches already having a town-hall meeting in the center of kitchen, by the sack of Abakiliki rice. I was here just 3 seconds ago! Hi guys. I emptied a can of Shelltox on them – the old school type with the push and pull level attached to a canister. Die, vermin, die.
Who has spread this pestilence for us to witness?

Later on, we discovered that the cockroaches had been creeping into the house through a broken pipe which needed to be closed off properly from outside. Once our handy-man sorted this out, the roach population dwindled, and went extinct.

But home invasions come in different forms. Months after we moved in, a notorious armed robbery gang which had been servicing that part of town, served notice on my street association to prepare for their arrival. They duly arrived the following night, and were operating, going from house to house, and carting away valuables. They nabbed one neighbour’s gold necklace set, and took another’s pot of stew. My next door neighbor’s 90 year old grandma Iya-Agba was not having that. Once the gang approached their gate, she raised an alarm yelling “Ole! Ajibole!! Ole!! Ajibole!!”

Her son-in-law tried to cover her mouth to prevent her from getting them all killed, but she shoved him aside and shouted even louder from the veranda window “Ole! Ajibole!! Ole!! Ajibole!!”
It somehow unnerved the robbers, and they backtracked, driving off in a hurry. Animals in human skin, as Fela once observed.

Share your personal experiences below.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Scott Griessel

Fellow Nigerians, it is with the utmost pride and sincerity that I present these memoranda as a living testament and recollection of history in the making during our generation. Preamble: Esco is a lampoonist, content provider for hire, and convener of the blog Literati: Satires On Nigerian Life, which is a symposium to project the conditions of every Nigerian and inspire young people all over the world. He is currently working on his memoirs “The Great, Wonderful Adventures of Esco”, which will be available in 2016. Esco can be reached for scripting writing, ghost writing and editing work by email at [email protected] Oh, and he occasionally tweets at @Escowoah.


  1. whocares

    July 23, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    LOOOOL. I have experienced vermin in various guise. When I was younger and lived with an aunt of sorts, we were visited by those lovely gentlemen of the road. I think I was 7 or 8 years old and there were about 6 of us kids. We were escorted to a relatively calm area of the house and locked in the toilet. One of the kids at that time was going about his morning constitution before we were rudely thrust upon him. Poor Kid. He could not move. I cannot recollect if there was a stench in the air as we were all as frozen as he was. Kids and intestines alike stood at attention until the ogas on top finished. Everytime I think about it now, I laugh so much. But then.. Ooooh. And rats. Ahhhhh we once lived in a house that had problems with the pipes. Oh gods. I think for the duration that we lived there I had permanent dark circles. They entered our house through a faulty pipe in the building. We managed to block it up but these rats were so strong, you could hear them banging away trying to force their way in!! (That’s how I envisioned it in my head anyways) and the day we managed to get one of them, my mom informed me that it was huge; gods know I did not even have the tiniest desire to sneak a peek!
    Speaking of mothers, my mom swears that she can smell rats (insert extremely sceptical look here) does anyone share the same super power or knows someone who does? Every time she says it I scoff. Lol.

    • Aleesha

      July 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      I can smell rats too. Must be a mom thing. 😀


      July 23, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      I don’t know about smelling rats but a few people have sworn they can smell cockroaches. I can’t smell cockroaches but I can sense then. I could be in the thick of sleep and my eyes would suddenly fly open and immediately meet with one ugly cockroach on the wall *goodbye sleep*. I generally don’t question God but I’ve found myself asking him several times; for what purpose was this particular creature created?

    • hmm

      July 23, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      I most definitely can smell cockroaches and rats. I have entered restaurants and smelled cockroaches and walked right out.

    • busola

      July 24, 2015 at 1:25 am

      I questioned the existence of lizards. For the life of me, I cannot deal with lizards and houseflies. They are VERY annoying!

    • honey

      July 23, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Your case is better.

      I once lived in a house where i kill like 20 cockroaches a day. i jump up about 2-4 times in the middle of the night cos cockroaches has decided to make my body their playzone. I was severely traumatized that i dont look forward to sleeping at night.

      Later discovered that it was a broken septic tank leading to my toilet/bathroom that caused it. We fixed and i was finally able to brethe a sigh of relieve. They didnt go completely but they reduced to like 2 in a day. And i didn have to jump up from my bed every 2 hours again.

    • Blah blah

      July 23, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      I can smell rats. I’m not a mom. But my sec school was in a thick forest. So I had a lot of nasty experiences with rats. I think what we smell is their urine/faeces. Cos I can definitely tell when rats have been in a room. The pesky nasty creatures eat and excrete at the same time.

    • Coco

      July 23, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Please how does one deal with cock roaches in a car. And what causes it? It’s quite embarrassing ?

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      July 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Can smell ’em.

  2. Aibee

    July 23, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Hmmm. Speaking of pest invasion will be my current abode. Rats, wall geckos, cockroaches? Every one of them is present here. Sniper is very effective on the geckos and the roaches. The rats are those tiny rats that seem to find their way everywhere. I’ve taken to using those gum-boards. Very effective. I just put it by doors and their usual freeways and dispose of the board the next morning. I’ve tried to find out where the rats get in from, to no avail. Alas, we only just moved in a few months ago so we have some time on our rent. At least le-hubs and I are in agreement that we need to relocate before one rat will chop our “safiticates”.

    • Somborri

      July 24, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Please, Please, Please be very, very, very, (repetition for emphasis) careful with Sniper. Its very dangerous to humans too especially little children. Just touching a surface that has come in contact with sniper and putting that finger in the mouth can be fatal.

  3. shae

    July 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Oh! You don’t want to be around my mum when she kills a rat, cockroach, or wall gecko. It’s usually like she finally found the sole reason behind her troubles and worries. She actually ‘destroys’ them… and you’ll hear her saying stuffs like ‘o ti daran leni, Eni lojo iku e’ like the insects and rodents understand what she’s saying. And oh!…the sight of their ‘lifeless body’, your appetite goes on a temporary leave immediately.

    • Manny

      July 23, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      That sounds like me. I scream oloshi, we re, ko ni da fun iwo ayan buruku yi etc


      July 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      People kill wall geckos? Not fair! *sobs*

    • Tosin

      July 23, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      i love my geckos. plus they eat little insects.

    • Koffie

      July 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      Have you ever held in a laugh so much so that tears start to come out without the laugh still. That’s what this comment did to me. Lmaoooo

  4. Us

    July 23, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Yippee.. Esco is back ?.. Lemme go and read

  5. Blessed

    July 23, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Lmaoooo. i remember one incident like this

    we were having cell meeting at my place one fine evening and i noticed that a brother was distracted and i wondered what he was looking at, only for me to follow his gaze and i saw two cockroaches playing “ite” on the table and they were going round and round as if the game was getting hotter.
    Kai!! i was embarrassed and while thinking of what to say to save the situation, i didn’t know when i asked him, ” Bro Daniel, shey you like them?

    Abeg, dont ask me what happened next!

    Cockroaches are crazy mehn. you forgot to add how they enter the natural cervices of the human body. my dearest Birthday mate woke up to excruciating pain in his ear. i have never seen my friend cry before. only for us to go the hospital, na cockroach dey inside him ear.
    Nobody gats tell me na, if you see as i dey wrap myself. i nor even dey fit breathe well but i no mind

    and those things sabi born, my people plus they can follow you from one house to the other if you dont find a way of leaving them behind. Abeg, body don dey scratch me…it haff do

  6. Ayoka

    July 23, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    The roaches in Nigeria are learners. I lived in new orleans for several years and I got used to seeing giant roaches on the street wearing suits and dresses and even calling out how you doing. It’s the humidity you see. Plus they fly and play jazz too.

    • Abena

      July 24, 2015 at 11:05 am

      hahahaha,you are a clown!!whoever you are! I imagined them asking ‘how u doing?’ in a Wendy William

  7. Dr. N

    July 23, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    What of sodier ants? I once woke up to find my room had been invaded by a colony of ants. They actually darkened the wall, that’s how many they were. The goosebumps on my skin were something else.
    Thankfully I was living in a hospital accommodation so some courageous colleagues came & saved d day

    • The real D

      July 23, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      And I got goose bumps reading your soldier ants story and imagining the entire scenario

  8. sally

    July 23, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    U need 2 c d seriousness @ wch my mum attacks bed bugs,roaches, mosquitoes….no b 4 here, I always yab her dat she needs 2 b awarded a degree in INSECTOLOGY

  9. Diddy

    July 23, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    i dont know why ladies are always unfriendly towards cockroaches as in any accidental confrotation can lead to high blood pressure or even cardiac arrest,sometimes i dont just get it wen we kill those pest cos they said love your neighbour as ur sef or should i say thou shalt not

  10. molarah

    July 23, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    LMAO!! Ayoka, whocares and Blessed, you guys need to go and write ur own version of this story and send us the links, your comments are so funny! Poor Brother Daniel! I nearly peed on myself when I read that. LOL!

  11. Chinma Eke

    July 24, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Lmao! I can ‘sense’ roaches and rats. Hey! I enter a room, I zero in with precision on where the roaches and rats are hiding. lol.

  12. Hmm

    July 24, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Buy 2 cans of Kill it insecticide. Remove all food containers and clean out all trash. On Friday night, open all compartments in your car. Don’t remove anything o before you transfer cockroach eggs. Cover your nose and spray like Rambo in the jungle. Every single crevice. Boot too. Inside seats. Everywhere. Lock up your car till Sunday morning. Wind all windows down. By afternoon, clean out dead roaches. Respray in 2 weeks to get any eggs that hatch. Do every 6 months. The roaches will be warning themselves. And no eating in your car.

    Remember the day I bought hot Ankara. Got down to buy bread. Put my hand inside the Ankara nylon and felt movement. Ko ni da fun ayan! Early momo!

    • Coco

      July 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Lmao @ put my hand inside the akara nylon n felt movement…that has happened to me a number of times. Will try spraying with insectide. Thank you

  13. jefka

    July 24, 2015 at 9:31 am

    ohhhhh please, don’t let me go into a litany of my own home invasion.
    I have woken up to see one mighty agama lizard lying next to me like boo, it took the real boo a month to console me.
    I woke up by 4.30am to shower and skip Lagos traffic, and on opening the door to the bathroom encountered colonies of soldier ants, i got to the office by 10.30 that day and had to shower at my neighbour’s for weeks.
    I have done vigil countless times while the rats chase themselves in my roof playing whatever game it is they play.
    the worst is one evening i got back from work and the last indomie i had to make dinner, was taken before my very eyes by one giant black rat up into my fuse box……..i slept hungry that night.
    and talk about embarrassing moments……,sigh
    boo came to pay me a visit and at night, he woke up screaming, cockroach had crept into his boxers…………..
    he hasn’t come back for another visit till date even though he claims he loves me to the moon and back.

  14. damseldam1

    July 24, 2015 at 10:55 am

    i smiled when i read this pet antics lol i remember there were this family of rat the papa, mama and children made a home in my home (this was in the uk) they ate everything in the house including my sofa!! we got fed up and decided to buy rat killer menh the one in the UK are useless the poison doesn’t work even the gum killer (it takes the grace of God for the rat to step on it it like they can smell those thing). one by one they were joining their “ancestors”then it remain the last one the” baby” who decided the luxury he was living is too sweet to join his family menh that one was playing smart with me for a year he has mastered our “activities” to the extend we hardly see it only when its very quiet u see it run like thunder blot then i got tired of jumping every time it caught me unaware so i decided to try again so i laid the trap (gum killer) i already knew his passage lol so i laid two in the main passage and the alternative passage the next morning the little rascal didnt even enter the place so i repeated it again feel determined that i have “caught” it lo and behold the next morning i saw the little devil stuck menh i was doing azonto! was so happy as if i won a big mega lottery my kids were just looking at me like have lost my marble lol since then no more surprise visitors!! peace at last!!

  15. Lol

    July 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    The exact moment my mum sees a rat in d house she doesn’t stop until its dead. One time she got one on rat gum my God she flogged it with cane ehn I pitied that rat. One time she saw a snake in d house inside her room, we still dnt knw hw it entered till today, lol the snake died that day cs they first used hot water to bath it before hitting the head with this amala rolling stick.

  16. Ama Ghana

    July 25, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Yass!!!! Only Esco can mak the topic of rodents/insects/vermin so popular!!!
    One of my fav writers handsdown!!!

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