Stalled vehicles honked in the yellow glow of the midday sun. Their drivers, the ones with no air conditioning, stuck their necks out to spew forth words peppered with profanities. Some turned off their engines, quietly seething behind their steering wheels. Exhaust belching Okadas tried in vain to wind their way through the confusion. Some drivers, unable to contain their exasperation, spilled out of their heated vehicles and surged towards the source of the gridlock. But then they already knew what the problem was – motorists had gotten wind of the arrival of a petrol tanker at a nearby filling station, the first to come in three days. So they had been left with no option but to clog up the streets in their search for scarce fuel. The acrid smell of petrol and burning rubber filled the air
Not too far from the gas station, near a record store with a monstrous speaker blaring afro beats- some Fela wannabe – a great babel of pedestrians poured in and out of the food market. There were trudging load carriers, groaning under the weight of bags of foodstuff, sweat washing down their bodies, their guttural voices telling people to get out of the way. There were cart pushers carrying piles of farm produce from the market; handicapped beggars on wheel-fastened boards, impostors feigning disability, and hospital reports, speaking of ridiculous afflictions; yellow skinned mendicants from Niger shuffling after their prospective benefactors, stubborn as leeches; truant school boys pooling away their pocket money at gambling points and barefoot hawkers, trays balanced on their heads with high-pitched voices calling out to prospective customers and hard, sun beaten faces. Theses ones milled about, hoping to benefit from the jam, dangling whatever they had to sell. There were traders with makeshift stalls lining the road, measuring out bowls of grains while their grimy tots lapping at their bone-dry breasts.
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