As you all know, we recently moved from our office at Ikota Shopping Complex to our new office at Lekki (3B Iberekodo, Bridgegate Estate, Agungi, Lekki, Lagos) and in all honesty, it wasn’t as easy as it may have seemed. There was plenty drama behind the scene. WHEW!
We planned to move out on Saturday 18th May and surely, we were prepared. We had rented a truck to move our stuff. The truck arrived at 3pm and at past five we were set to leave. Everything seemed to be going fine until we got to the complex gate where we were stopped by the Shopping Complex management officers who said we couldn’t leave the premises until we had cleared all our outstanding maintenance bills. Okay o, no wahala! We thought it was fair enough and decided to head to their office to make payment only to discover that their office was closed for the weekend. We were told that we would have to come back on Monday. We decided to return to the office and unload the truck but the officers refused, saying the truck will be held in their custody. Gen Gen! The drama was about to start. After considering it for a while and knowing we had no intentions of running away with their money plus we still had our air conditioner and office chairs in the shop. We obliged and left the truck in their custody.
First thing Monday morning, we were at their office at 8AM and the first issue we encountered was power (electricity) afterall, na Naija we dey. After that was resolved, they said they had no internet connection to access our records. We were willing to share hotspot which they said was against their policy. We then suggested we use a cybercafé but still, they couldn’t access the record because their server was down.
When we got back to the office, we asked that they give us an estimate to pay, if it was over what we owed, we’d be refunded and if it was short, we’d pay the balance. They agreed and asked us to pay the sum of NGN30,000 (thirty thousand naira) into the company account. It was a shock to us because the monthly fee has never been over NGN10,000 and were just halfway through the month. Nonetheless we rushed to the bank to make the payment and returned with the teller only for us to hear excuses that the person to authorize the release of our truck was not on seat. Our first thought was “Can’t this individual be reached via phone or something?!”
We started debating and asking to be let go and also waiting for this important person who wasn’t on seat to come back. This went on for a while and when the sky started to turn to dusk, we knew we couldn’t let this nuisance act continue and have them tell us they have closed for the day. We practically threw the carrot out of the window and picked up sticks, sebi dem talk say dem dey craze ni!. We involved the police. When we arrived with the police, it felt like action film. I could hear action music in the background, with us strutting in slow motion with the police behind us, just like a typical final showdown in movies. The once populated office was close to empty almost immediately. The ones that stayed behind started stuttering and stammering. We were let out of the gates in less than 10 minutes. This was past six already and we’ve been at their office since 8AM.
The next day, our representative went to their office to get all our documents only to discover in the invoice that we over-paid and we would be collecting a balance of NGN6,000 (Six Thousand Naira) from them. Back at the office, a different receipt was sent showing a refund balance of NGN2,000 (Two Thousand Naira). Two different receipts from same office. After this was brought to their attention, their boss accused our representative of forging the invoice with the intention of stealing NGN4,000 (Four Thousand Naira) from them. Me gansef shock! He sought for permission from our boss to arrest our representative if it was later confirmed that the invoice was forged, and our boss told their boss that if indeed the receipt was issued by an officer in their office, then he also would be arrested. End of discussion.
The problems that Nigerian businesses face are endless and sometimes crippling. Nigerian businesses face challenges with clients, employees and even third parties. Some of these problems are foreseeable while a majority aren’t. And that is the life of an entrepreneur; one moment you think you have it all figured out, the next you’re wishing you had not listened to all those motivational speakers telling you to aspire to acquire. All we can say to you is that you hang in there and that you are not alone in this.
You should watch out for our Friday story time as it will be more frequent. We’ll share with you some of the challenges we face as a business in Nigeria. Till our next story time, continue to keep your eyes on the goal.