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Life Hacks with Toby: Why I Will Never Buy a Second Hand (Nigerian Used) Phone Again



dreamstime_l_56208156I hate complaining; on a principle, I almost never do. My stand is, “don’t complain about what you permit. If you don’t like it, confront and change it. If you permit it, suck it up. Either way, don’t complain”. I try my best to obey that law o, but…

I finally broke my own law the day I decided to change the akpuruka Nokia E5 that I was using.

NB: Nokia E5 is a wonderful phone. Whatever happened to me was because I got it as a fairly used phone.

Omoh, that phone dealt with me. Imagine say you go dey make call, the phone go just trip on its own. I don use paper and even cardboard sheet take support the battery, yet, it still dey misbehave. E remain small make I put carton or plywood there sef.

You may not understand if you are using a good phone. You see all these new infinix, Samsung, techno android phones eh, na sweet. But if you are using, or have ever used a UK fairly used, Nigerian third-hand-used phone, all those types wey dem dey tie with rubber, ehen, you will understand.

To all whose phone batteries are supported with paper, cardboard sheet, plywood, or carton, cheers. I feel you. The hustle is tight. I used to be in your position. And I pray that the same God that changed my level will remember you this year.

I understand your pains, seriously. I have been there, and done all that and more.

When I bought my E5, I bought it as a UK fairly used, Nigerian strongly used ‘second hand’ phone. The phone happened to be working on that particular day and somehow without thinking, I paid for it. That was the beginning of my troubles.

My problem with my phone started that same day when I wanted to make a call. There was this babe I was pursuing back then. And when I say pursue, I mean both literally and figuratively. So I called her again. But in the middle of the conversation, the phone tripped off.

Did I complain? No.

I quickly switched it on again, and continued my call. And because say the babe’s voice was still ‘sweeting’ me, I didn’t even notice anything was wrong.

Before the end of six months, that phone taught me firsthand what it means to live on ‘life support’.

First of all, the sim compartment needed a paper to support it, else, it will trip. Imagine you are using the phone and all of a sudden, the network signal will just disappear. Yes, the sim card was having partial contact.

paper supports sim card

paper supports sim card

Did I complain? No.

Next thing was the battery. When I bought the phone, the former owner was already supporting it with a little paper. A few days later, I upgraded the phone.

Noooo, I did not download a new software version. For where? Who dash monkey banana? I merely upgraded the battery’s paper-supporting-hardware from one to two pieces of paper.

padded paper at the back for battery Did I complain at this point? Mba!

Next I noticed that the metallic stuff at the back of the phone battery compartment, those ones that connect power from the battery to the phone, were shaking. So after ‘padding’ the battery at the other end, I had to ‘pad’ the back of the battery to make sure that it did not shiftpadded paper keeps battery in firm touch

Trust me, I still didn’t complain.

But padding the back of the already padded battery posed a tiny problem. Yes, the casing could no longer close. Rather than complain at this point, I simply used a rubber band to support the system. And when the rubber seemed to have gotten weak, I doubled, tripled, and even ‘four-pled’ it at a point.

at a point, even the screen gave way

In spite of all that, I never complained, never.

But sometime in February I finally lost my cool and complained.

You see, one of my closest friends had just come back from abroad, and he was using one fine infinix hot note phone.  When I saw him in November, he said he bought the phone for 23k or thereabout. So I made it my vision/goal to change my phone by fire by force immediately after paying my house rent in January.

You can understand my shock when I went to the market to buy the said phone in February, and I was told that its price was 33k. Ah ah.

Oga wetin happen naa? My friend tell me say em buy this same phone for 23k. Abi na mistake you make?” I asked the phone seller.

The guy simply asked me, “when?”

“A few months ago”, I replied.

“My brother, that was then. Things have changed. Dollar tinyelu ego, and electronics n’agalazi onu now. In fact, ihe n’ile a n’eme import buzikwa afia iwu now o, ha nile n’ozikwa n’elu orji.” (Dollar added money, electronics is now expensive. In fact, all imported items are now like contraband and very very expensive). He explained.

I had to go back and wait another month. At this point, I just couldn’t help complaining. If na you dey use that E5, you sef go complain. It was as if the phone noticed that I wanted to change it, so it raised its misbehavior to the power 10.

It started tripping anyhow. And just for fun, sometimes after switching it on, it will just trip off again. But throughout my ‘ordeal’, I stood strong. I knew it was just a matter of time. And as a true Nigerian, I knew that “one day, e go better”.

Good News: On Easter Saturday I finally bought a new phone. Sweet, sleek, and beautiful. And that was when I confirmed that good things are good, and ejiro afufu anya isi (you don’t use suffering to boast).

So I pray for anyone in my former position. Anyone that is ‘suffering’ in the hands of a second hand UK used, third hand Nigerian used phone. May the Lord that finally upgraded me also change your level.

But till then, please don’t forget to have an extra piece of rubber band in your wallet/purse in case the one you are using now snaps.


Your turn: what is the worst (funny now sha) experience you have ever had with a phone (TV, Fridge, car, or any property) before you had to change it? Please share your experience in the comment section.

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. Bodunade

    May 27, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Hilarious!! Blackberry Tour, 2009. You charge till it’s 100percent, it trips off and drains to 10 percent. First and last time. Better to buy a cheap new phone than to buy a ‘UK used’ iPhone or Samsung or whatever. Makes no sense, especially longterm.

    • Toby Nwazor

      May 27, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      @Bodunade, you are absolutely correct. E be like say you don use the phone before. As in eh, I struggled with the battery so much. Thank God for ‘delivering me’ lol

  2. Honeycrown

    May 27, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Very funny post. That’s not your phone joor, why is it so dirty ?
    I’ve learnt a long time ago to invest in necessities because I would end up paying 2x or more on replacements. Not to talk of the stress and palava involved.

    • Toby Nwazor

      May 27, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Honeycrown, you don see am naa. God don help move my ministry to a more permanent side. Na my 2015 wilderness-experience phone be that o. It is dusty because I just brought it out of the wardrobe when I was writing the article. I couldn’t resell or even give it out as e no even get tenth hand value again. Lol.


    May 27, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Hahaha. I love your writing Toby. I’ve been down this paper route before, it can drive someone crazy. the Blackberry was not a used one sef. The first BB i bought from computer village, i got it new (supposedly) only for some screws to fall out

    • Toby Nwazor

      May 27, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      My dear eh, no be small thing. From Power holding to Paper holding company. Anyhow, you just have to hold something. LWKM

  4. keke driver

    May 27, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Lmao…..Nice one toby.
    Really, there are certain things you don’t buy second hand, e.g phones, laptops, Tv, Dvd, Sound System…etc just try buy new one shikena.

    • Toby Nwazor

      May 27, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      That’s my new principle now. I had to learn the hard way though. Moreover most of these things are caused by poverty sha

  5. Sai sai

    May 27, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    I had just started working in a bank, was still on probation, so the pay wasn’t too good..I was stepping up from Nokia to BlackBerry,I needed to cuz all my colleagues where alwayz talking about ‘pinging’ and I dint know nada bout pinging..I eventually confided in a senior colleague how much I wanted to upgrade my phone, as a big bros he referred me to ‘his boy’..sharply ‘his boy’showed up and I got a third hand bb for almost the price of a new bb??
    Wtf was I 1 the phone was giving me the thrills, I cldnt stop 2 phone refuses to charge
    Day 3 phone was showing like black and white TV
    Day 4 phone went blank
    Day 5 ‘his boy’ wasn’t picking my calls anymore
    Day 6 I went straight to ‘his boy’ @ the second hand phone market and created a big scene..let’s jus say I turned to ‘Nkiru’ from the ‘cry for help’ movie
    Sharply he returned my money

    • Titi

      May 27, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      This killed me! LMAO. A moment of silence to the girls that gave up their virginity for UK used BB.. Chei….

    • Toby Nwazor

      May 27, 2016 at 10:39 pm


  6. Abuja Bored Girl

    May 27, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Very funny article. I’ve not really had any phone issues,so when this my S4 started tripping,I was beyond shocked. Anyway thank God it doesn’t trip anymore. But heaven knows I wish I could get a new phone.

  7. Toby Nwazor

    May 27, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    @Bodunade, you are absolutely correct. E be like say you don use the phone before. As in eh, I struggled with the battery so much. Thank God for ‘delivering me’ lol

  8. BijouxthisBijouxthat

    May 27, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Hilarious! I don’t have much experience about phones because I always get a new one when it’s starts misbehaving.
    But by jove, you are too funny Toby ???

  9. nunulicious

    May 28, 2016 at 1:18 am

    looool! what? Boys in the 2nd hand phone market gave you your money back ke? how? phulease i need you to teach me those skills. kudos!

  10. Exotique

    May 28, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Lol. My first BlackBerry was ‘UK used’. After that I swore never to touch anything used again. I may have to come down a bit to a cheaper version, but it’s has to be new. Not worth the trouble at all

  11. Bukky Onyekwelu

    May 28, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I share your sentiments about fairly used products.I think many people go for fairly used products majorly because of financial reasons yet ironically it ends up costing more both in time and effort and not to talk about all the restlessness.Anyway I am sending this post from my new fairly used HP laptop I purchased a few weeks back but unlike you, well, I was told it was a “london used”,so I went one better.I got it for less than half the price for the original product and so far I’ve had no problems.I can have little complaints if I do anyway.
    From a technical point of view, electronics and gadgets, just like many other stuff wear out with time.From physical appearance to battery and CPU efficiency, the performance wears out gradually.So anyone opting for fairly used should also be prepared for those nuisances.

    • Toby Nwazor

      May 30, 2016 at 9:58 am

      You are absolutely right. Your comment is very intelligent and informative. Thanks for making out time to read and share your experience.

  12. Stephanie aka Anita

    May 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    ???, good write up

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