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Toby Nwazor: My Experience with ‘The Brethren’



Some years ago when I just came to Lagos, I heard my cousin refer constantly to the ‘brethren’ in the house. Whenever she made reference to them, everybody in the house laughed in a ‘coded’ way. I was new, and my curiosity got a good hold of me.

It was obvious that ‘brethren’ was a code name. I couldn’t fathom who they were, and I was desperate to. My cousins, on the other hand, didn’t want to help me out. According to them, the day I see them, they won’t need any introduction.

I met ‘the brethren’ two days later, and truly, I didn’t need any introduction.

I had gone outside with my church mind to wash my uncle’s car jejely. I had my ears plugged, playing some gospel rap songs and rapping along (Any Lecrae, Trip Lee, or DaTruth fans here?). As I was about rounding off, I saw a four-legged animal launch towards me.

I jumped up with immediate alacrity. My people have a saying that ‘nkwucha abughi ujo’ (To be security conscious doesn’t connote fear). Moreover, it is only he that fights and runs away that lives to tell the story of the fight.

Nnaa mehn I no go lie; the jump was an Olympic standard high jump that suspended me mid air for a few seconds.

When I came back to the floor, I quickly looked at the animal. I don’t know what to call it. It had the stature of a rat but the size of a small goat. Na dis type we dey call nchi (grasscutter) for Anambra state.

I was flabbergasted. Kilode!Must everything in Lagos be bigger than its normal size? Mosquitoes are almost as big as grasshoppers, and rats too are like small goats.Na waa o. If you come to Lagos with an okada, it may even turn to a car. No be small thing.

Normally, I hate rats. Mba! Hate is a very mild word to use here. Let’s just say that if I was Noah (in the Bible), no rat would have survived the flood. Yesoo, I for no gree make dey enter that ark.

That is why I am very grateful to the person that invented the Gum Mouse Catcher. God will bless his generation.

However, the producer of that trap should produce a new trap exclusively for Lagos rats. Hold on, I will tell you why.

‘Mouse’ traps are for mice, and there are no mice in Lagos. Every rat in Lagos is a mature rat (oke gbara afo onu). These mouse traps don’t catch Lagos rats, not even their babies. The only things they catch are houseflies, cockroaches, lizards and wall gecko.

From my observation, people don’t even bother to set traps for these rats again. Imagine using a hook to fish for a whale. No be waste of time and money be that?

Why waste the crayfish you would have used to cook to set traps that don’t catch rats? It is frustrating. If you set traps for these rats at night, they will chop the crayfish and walk away scot-free. What impertinence!

I don’t know how they do it, but these rats walk confidently into a trap, touch the right places, un-set the trap, and walk away with the plunder. Sheer wickedness!

The worst part is when you buy Indocid or otapiapia for them. That’s another waste of resources if you ask me.

Lagos rats have odi-eshi (immunity). Or how do I explain the fact that after pouring otapiapia on crayfish at night, crayfish will disappear the following morning, but no rat will die?

Then there are those big and annoying bearded rats (oke gbara afo onu). These ones don’t even run anymore. They walk majestically around the house as if they pay the rent. They are the ones that usually come to the sitting room door to stare at you while you are watching NTA network news.

How I wish that there will be a scientific discovery stating that when heated above a certain temperature the teeth of rats will turn to diamond.

Ewu chim oooo! Just imagine what will happen in Lagos. Wetin happen to chicken go happen to rat. (Have you not noticed that it is almost impossible to see chicken outside cage in Lagos? Free chicken pepper-soup)

In the same way, rats will simply disappear on the streets of Lagos. People will begin to rear rats the same way they rear chicken.

It will become common to see people quarrelling over rats then. Just imagine two women fighting over a rat in a compound. Their conversation will go this way:

 Mummy Lawrence: Useless woman. Why did you steal one of our family rats? God go punish you. Olobruku! E no go better for you. Give me my rat before thunder go fire you.

Mummy Anabel: Oleeeee! Whoooooo! God don catch u today. (She claps hands and ties her wrapper strongly around her waist) People make una come see rat thief o. Ode. Na you and your village wey thunder go fire. Winch!  You better leave my rat for me. Shameless Agbaya!……..

People will begin to chain their rats, and put them in cages just like dogs. Cats will become contraband. Soon enough, you will see texts like “celebrate with me; our rat just delivered 8 bouncing rats. So much money”.

Our veterinary schools will add ‘The Advanced Study of Rats’ to their curriculum. Specialist hospitals for the treatment of rats will be built too.

Big men will no longer show off their wealth by the type of cars they drive, but by how many rats they have.

Just imagine that.

Make una no mind me. I don’t know why my mind is running wild these days.

How much do you like/hate rats? What is your opinion of Lagos rats? Have you seen an oke gbara afo onu (big bearded rat) before? What would you do if rats suddenly become a very big income source?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Atholpady

Toby Nwazor is a free lance writer and motivational speaker who believes that life is meant to be lived and not just existed in. He is equally an entrepreneur with a lot of hands-on experience in business start-ups, marketing, and customer service. He passionately writes every Monday and Wednesday on about helping entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs build successful start-ups


  1. Psychic

    November 4, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Please who has seen the rats in gbagada..CHOI! in the rats association of Nigeria,Gbagada rats must represent the parliament and house of reps.Their oroboness is not here o,overfed and pompous 2. Its really bad when they get access to your roof,wow! your quiet time of life is over…biko the abroad rat nko…hahahahhahaha…im going back to work

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      November 4, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Re abroad rats – saw one at my church, not very long ago and that bugger was MASSIVE . It was as big as a small cat and moved amazingly fast for its size. My church’s located near a harbour and you know how rats tend to love harbours and ships… anyways, it took ages to get rid of it, with my number one fear being that the critter would one day just find a way into the general auditorium during a Sunday morning service and run right up to Pastor’s leg as he was preaching at the altar or something. E no for be small kasala wey for burst if that had happened, so we can only Bless Baba God as He come help us cover our shame…

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      MSA I laugh in Japanese…kiakiakiakiakiakia. Chai. No be small thing o. E be like say the rat for ur side big pass lagos own. lwkm

    • Atoke

      November 4, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      Lol The rats in South LA… dem senior the ones wey dey Oshodi o! Rat wey dey waka with Swagger of Blue Passport holder. No fear… just stroll through.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Psychic, you wan kill person with lafta o. I never knew they had a national association, not talk of house of rep member or senators. Your humour no get part 2 oh. Hahahahaha

    • Andrea

      November 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Take your time oo!! Leave my Gbagada alone
      Have u tried walking home at night!! CHRIST!! HAHHA

  2. Mimi May

    November 4, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Lols. Toby such rats were in existence during my child hood in Enugu o. Our dormitory harbored big rats. They even chop the soles of our feet those days in school. Na so we come dey wear shoes sleep o. It wasn’t funny o. We cried and complained so tey a break was given in order to fumigate the dormitories.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Mimi those ones are wicked o. I remember having that experience at a certain time. It was not funny at all.

  3. Blackbeauty

    November 4, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I wasn’t quite sure where you were going with this but you managed to get me both horrified at the vivid rat descriptions and laughing at the same time. I totally agrre with you, Noah should have left the rats to drown, plus including snakes, roaches, all kinds of creepy crawlies.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      As in eh. Thanks God say u no be Noah shaa. Lol

    • Allahtomi

      November 5, 2015 at 8:15 am

      God! Don’t even get me started, back then mum used to tell stories of how rat ate hands and soles of feet but I felt it was just a story until I entered secondary school, nna mehn me anand my provs suffered no be smol.

      Even during my service year. Oluwa o, me and his royal majesties be playing hide and seek in the midnight. Those things are smart.
      Let’s just say i’m this weirdo who wakes up if a pin drops, now imagine them doing marathon and making those squeakingly (permit me 2 use dis word abeg) annoying sounds, sprang up immediately, turned on d light alas no sound, turn off light and the same situation all over, then I start combing through every corner of d room and scream on finding the creature, lord I could see the smirk on its face literally screaming “suck it girl, i’m here to stay”… long story short, after me doing d running out instead of d rat and with luck I laughed last last and I always made sure I blocked deir entrance and exit, even with that they still knock o awon kinni buruku wonwon yen, My Benin “brethren”, I haail o. Sorry for the ejo repete and @blackbeauty on snakes and other reptiles: it is seconded, thirded and infinited by me

  4. Joy

    November 4, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I have several stories of rat experiences that if i start it ll be another post on it s own so let me just summarise.

    Since i went to a Federal boarding house sec school somewhere inside the bushes of OSun state, you can imagine the kind of rats we had but we classified them and i kid u not .
    1. The Ajebutter rat: The ones who see cabin biscuit and Kellogs variety pack, leave the cabin and descend on your variety coco-pops.
    2. The foo/finger rat: Popular Jingo, they chow ur feet/fingers and blow air same time so you don’t know they re biting. When u wake up and u start feeling funny pains on ur fingers then u know they have struck. Much to those who ate late night and didn’t rinse/wash deir hands, it is well.
    3. (i m not lying o) Sexy rat: This ones aim ur vaginal hairs… u will think a barber came in the night to shave ur pubic hair, because these nonsense rats creep up and do justice to ur hair, they dont shave/make it bald o. but if ure a keeper of hair u will see significant patches with hair littered on ur bed. dos ones are the rats u see when u wake in the night to pee running on d edges of ur bed. it normally happened to those who refused to put down deir nets or didnt sleep with undies.

    Now!!! that i m older i ve seen MASSIVE rats… my room in Lekki 1 had one visitor me and my bestie called JERRY” incidentally that was her dad s name. hehehehe! Jerry came in when we were fixing the through the wall air conditioner so there was an opening. jerry was Biggg. in the night we would wake and hear jerry shuffling around. what didn’t we do? we brought that glue! 2 sef.. jerry dragged one around the room and make the entire carpet sticky, left behind several mounts of hair that makeup artists can use to perfect a bearded makeup for one of their actor s role..
    Ok i did say this was going to be real long. lemme just finish.. we tried Sniper. Mba, pink tiny seeds like looked like drugs: Mba… indocid.. mba, we gave up after sometime we noticed we didnt see Jerry n assumed he either went out or died somewhere.. i hate rats that’s sure can even stand them but don’t get me started on roaches… i hattttte dos one.

    • Joy

      November 4, 2015 at 11:53 am

      MADE*& Ones* Sorry for the typos

    • niyoola

      November 4, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Lord have mercy! Did i just read about rats nibbling around a VJJ.
      Jesus take the wheel.

    • Zeeebby

      November 4, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Rat? Vagina hair? AAAAhhhh please you need to tell the world were u experienced that so we can avoid such places….that one don pass physical enter spiritual oh

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Joy Joy Joy! How many times did I call you? E be like say you don do research for this topic before before? Lmao.
      As in eh, you sabi the thing. Those ajebutter rats can be very annoying sha. Walking around as if say dem be your flat mates. And some of them are so heavy you can hear their footsteps. Lol.

      As for the sexy rats, Chisos. Are u for real? Those ones must be something else. U sure say na ordinary rat? I baaaaaaind all sexy by fire by force!

    • Nayon

      November 5, 2015 at 10:47 am

      hahahahahahahaha!!! this must be FGGC Ipetumodu. Kai! see suffering

    • Blessedheart

      November 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Sounds like it. I don’t remember the sexy rat though. God forbid bad thing!

  5. Temi

    November 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    A very refreshing piece compared to the bug standard relationship and unnecessary deep self reflections pieces I have had to scroll past these recent months. No large rat experiences for me..but it sounds bloody hilarious and life changing!

  6. onyx

    November 4, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    @ psychic chop knuckle jare. Gbagada rats are the truth. Dem go open your pot chop your meat cover your pot back for u. They can even enter your deep freezer chop your frozen food join.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      Onyx o. Those ones are Advanced smooth operators. If you catch them, na firing squad straight! No appeal

  7. Mz Socially Awkward...

    November 4, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Okay, I have to admit – I thought you were fixing to write about “shush” brethren.

    I’m also here to give you a fist bump as a fellow lover of the amazing gospel rap that Lecrae, Da Truth and Trip Lee put out. Plus Andy Mineo, a UK rapper you may have heard about called Jahaziel and another young man in the UK called Guvna B who I recently saw at a live event… I’m a huge fan of the new diversity in urban Christian music, as a closet rap-head but will confess that it’s often easy to get carried away with the flow/beats and not the message. So I’m trying to restrict the avenues that I get my gospel rap from (p.s: It’s almost always Lecrae for the win).

    As for your story about the rats, I work with a girl who keeps mice as pets. Why anyone would see value in keeping vermin as loved animals, I have no idea. What I’ve taken away from that discovery is to stay extra careful about using cutlery and other kitchen utensils in the general staff canteen (i.e. scrubbing anything I’m about to eat with under hot water and soap, even if it comes out of the drawer) since I don’t know who has just fed or cuddled their “pet” before coming into work each morning… However, even I can see the flaw in this logic as you don’t know which mice or cockroach keepers work in restaurants you regularly eat in. Only God protects, true-true…

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      MSA chop knuckle jare. I think say na only me dey enjoy those kinda jamz. And like you, Lecrae is also my fav. Of course I know Andy (tongue-twister) Mineo and Jahaziel. I enjoy them too and also restrict myself to them and other members of the 116 clique (Tedashii, KB etc)

      As for the lady in your story, it is well o. Oyibo people can do anything. No be the other day I read that someone willed her fortune to her cat. Mtcheww. Let them continue, I dey watch them for 5D

  8. I've seen rat oh!!

    November 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    U need to see UNEC rats particularly manuwa hall rats! Sai. No matter how many fumigation exercises that school carried out…those rats were the bonafide owners of the school hostel. UNEC rats don’t have part 2 eziokwum.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Hahaha. I can bet you that UNEC rats dey learn work where lagos rats dey. Seriously, Lagos rats get swag. Lol. Thanks for the compliment too

  9. I've seen rat oh!!

    November 4, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    And yes a very refreshing and well written article I must say…..

  10. serene

    November 4, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    hilarious piece! it brought to mind a recent ‘rat’ experience. my roommate went to use the loo, next thing she ran back inside the room that I must accompany her o before she will go and pee. i was amused and walked back with her, she said she saw a rat. rat kwa? i thought. all these ajebutter churen. when i saw the rat…mehn! i humbled. a rabbit has got nothing on it. it was not a small thing that night o

  11. rima ben

    November 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    D rats in hall1 n hall2,Uniben have hips

    • Beht why

      November 4, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Lmaooooooooo you don’t even want to know what I imagined

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Rima ben, na waa o. Na shakira things?

  12. honey omo lekki

    November 4, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    The rats in my house recognize rat gum. They don’t climb it.

    You see them playing and defecating in an area, by the time you put rat gum, they will disappear from there, and you wont see their traces again.

    I am fed up!!! Any idea on how to beat these destructive and annoying creature?

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 8:28 pm

      Honey omo lekki, if u ask me, na who I go ask? I think the best way is to just get a cat. Except that many Nigerians can’t stand cats. (Story for another day)


      November 5, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Hello honey omo lekki – let me give you a tip (I am sure this will work). I used to have lots of rats in my home and there was nothing that I did not do to get rid of them – I scrubbed, de-cluttered, used rat gum, etc but nothing work. Finally, I decided to use bleach. Guess what? For more than two months, I have not seen a single rat in my house. Just spray bleach and they will disappear (They hate the smell of bleach)

  13. whocares

    November 4, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. AH Mr, hmm you have not seen the rats I have seen in my lifetime.. In fact, I did not see the rat but boy did I feel its presence. How do you explain rats that try to break boards you used to patch up the hole? Oh jesu… Dont let me relieve it please. . Its not only lagos rats. I think rats are mutating as well. Think about it, natural selection and survival of the fittest. Otapiapia, gum or indocid will not work again o. You think its only human’s the survival of the fittest law applies too? If there are new strains of bacteria that our anti bacteria cannot kill, how much more rats? Hmm mm mm.. dont even let me relieve my story. I have written about it before

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      hahaahahahahahahaha. Who cares, you sure say those na normal rats, abi dem don go take all these oyibo gene mutation injections?

  14. nkem

    November 4, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Toby et al. I haven’t had this good hearty laugh for a long time now. Thank you. Lol @ d ones in Uniben have hips.

  15. Idomagirl

    November 4, 2015 at 7:39 pm


  16. Ephi

    November 4, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    “According to them, the day I see them, they won’t need any introduction.” Looooool

    Me sef na curiosity make me open the post. I was wondering what could brethren mean?!

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 4, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      hahahahahaha. So the curiosity strategy worked. Dancing Azonto 4 Jisos

  17. Steph Steph

    November 4, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Looooooool, UNEC rats be reppin frm time immemorial, particularly Ibiam madams. They be whinning lyk Uniben rats. Nice writeup Toby.

  18. wendy

    November 4, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    @Joy,u probably went to FGGC Ipetumodu, Osun state aka Feggi jungle.
    Interesting write up by the way.

  19. ruthy

    November 5, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Choi!!! Toby ooooo u realy had me in stitches here. I’ve had rat experience with the one dat blow & bite. terrible!!!
    N I love rap, always cool seeing another rap fan

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 11, 2015 at 9:55 am

      U serious? Has anyone seen them do that blowing and biting thing? If they really do that, that’s some serious form of intelligence for ordinary rats o.

  20. Ghostmode

    November 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Toby! Toby !!! Abeg no let laugh tear my belly !!! I always love reading your write ups!! You keep it very real! Meanwhile growing up we had so many rats in the house that at some point they were the landlords we became tenants. My Mama’s crayfish finished ontop rat poison matter kai! lol

    • Tosin

      November 5, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      i actually moved out when some ogbologbo rat cabal moved into our apartment.
      God forbid my area rats should enter my current place, these are serious, serious rats.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 11, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Hahahaahaha. Thanks for the compliment ghostmode. Those rats for your side must have been very fierce o. Hope say dem no chase una comot for house shaa

  21. Koffie

    November 7, 2015 at 9:56 am

    The rats in my father’s house don’t have rivals. Mumsy was bragging to her colleague one day that she finally eliminated all the rats at home, na so one of them stroll from behind our family portrait on the altar area of the sitting room. I side-eyed mumsy and started laughing. I don’t think the colleague saw it but mehn, the rat had to stroll to show her who was the boss. And they have hips, you could be cleaning out your room after coming back from boarding school and see a small box with tiny pieces of paper as bed and the newest rat pikins in it. That’s the time to kill them though the aggreived mother will show you pepper later. I should reveal their secret why putting rat poison in bread doesn’t kill them, they eat your poisoned bread/crayfish and walk to the bathroom or anywhere with water spill. Once they lick water, they’re not going to die. The poison only makes their throats dry.
    I currently live alone and have no rats in my house, I pray it stays this way.
    I swear I’ve seen rats in my father’s house hold a party with the host at the entrance of my brother’s box shaking his guests. I even thought the host was wearing waist coat but that bit could have been my imagination. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep at home for a week till my mum promised she had gotten rid of them. And they eat your kitchen furniture so blocking their entrance with wood won’t work. It’ll take days (your respite) but they’ll chew their way in again.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 11, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Koffie did you make those stories up, or are you for real? Jeez. Laughter wan burst my belle! Dem dey even throw party, wear waist coat join? Hahahahahahaha

  22. Angela

    November 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Hmmm…Talking About Lagos Rats! I Respect Festac Rats Alot.This Rats Are Capable of Getting Anything Done.They Have Eaten My Soup,My Doors,Clothes,Yam etc.Weytin Rat no de chop for Lagos? Their Tails could pass for a Serpent.The Size Kwanu,Festac Rats Have Never Been Killed by Poison,so this Days All i do is starve them.I make sure there are No Traces of Food for them to Eat so that they can Relocate to my Neighbors Apartment.At some Point i was Getting to feel spiritual About the Rats.I had to Annoint my House and Pray Against Rats.Cant this Rats be Exported to other Countries that Need Them? But of a Fact Mehn….Lagos Rats Are Bosses.In my Crib i call them Landlords.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 11, 2015 at 9:51 am

      High five jor. You understand exactly what I was talking about. But starvation doesnt work for them. those dudes are hustlers! If you starve them, they will go to the nearest Lawma dump site and eat the best dish of their lives, come back and tell you waka.

  23. rattus rattus

    November 9, 2015 at 9:53 am

    lol! suddenly everyone has rats in their houses

  24. Toby Nwazor

    November 11, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Thanks Steph

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