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After Five: 5 Tips For Avoiding Being the Victim of the Security Guard Hustle



“Bros park for this side.”

“Just reverse back small.”

“Cut your hand to the left.”

“E don do bros.”

This was the security guard at the bank helping me out as I tried to park my car. My spider senses had already started tingling. This kind gesture was going to set me back a few naira notes, on my way out of there.

This is a common scenario in major cities in Nigeria and I’m pretty sure you have had encounters like this with security guards.

You will find them everywhere, from banks to housing estates and even the place of worship; smartly dressed, baton-wielding and muscle flexing. They are actually nice, polite and helpful unlike their bouncer companions at clubs (that’s another story). Only on rare occasions do you run into badly-mannered security guards.

Their pleasant gestures don’t come for free most times. It often comes at a cost or a tip preferably. They start off being nice as you walk or drive in and then switch to compliments. This is typically a combination of salutations and praises. Ideally, the compliments start on your way out, but some overzealous guards start hailing you on your way in. Now, the technique here is, the more the compliments, the more likely you are to part with cash. Let’s just say the compliment is like the warm-up, the foreplay to make your palms part or your wallet spread open.

Some of the usual compliments include;

  • Chairman/Big/Small Madam.
  • Big bros/Big Sis
  • Bad Guy
  • Fine boy (I usually fall for this one a lot. I like being reminded how pleasing to the eyes I look, even from a fellow guy)
  • Honourable

They can go on and on with the appellations and the cheering. Throw in a few musical instruments and backup singers/dancers and they are no different from the artists that hail you during owambes.

Right after the compliments, they move in for the kill.

“Anything for the boys?”

“Your boys dey humble.”

“Oga find something for me”

“Anything for the weekend?”

The last line is their favourite. You are guaranteed to hear that on a Friday.

It’s not easy getting past these guys, but there are a few tricks that might help you out in evading these leachy guards.

Keep a straight face
This is very important. Maintain a hard-line facial feature which will make you seem unapproachable and if they can’t approach you, they can’t ask you for favours.

Match them hail for hail
if you are the playful and witty kind, then this shouldn’t be hard for you. All you have to do is hit them with a compliment that matches the one they say to you. They call you “chairman”, call them “biggest Chairman” and on and on until somebody gives in.

Have a sober story
Once they approach you for monetary favour, hit them with a counter sober story. Start off with how you spent all your money at the mechanic and you still need to balance him. At this point, you move in for the kill and … wait for it… beg him for money. He will never know what hit him.

Flat out tell them you have nothing for them
Simple and straight to the point. I don’t have anything to give to you.

Classic Misdirection
Just point to another car/car owner and say “that’s the person you should be asking, not me.”

If all these don’t work, Chairman, Big Madam, Fine boy, Baddest Guy, you sef, put your hands in your wallet and find small cash for the guy. Times are hard. A little tip can go a long way.

Photo Credit: Andrey Popov |