It is most disgustful how begging has become a cultural norm for in Nigeria. The average Nigerian seem to be given to begging...begging for money. The most disgusting are what I call corporate begging. For instance, at the bank, cashiers beg money from customers that came for transactions, in the name of the tip. When you are done with your transactions, the security men at the gate will ask for their own tip. They will tell you, "Oga, anything for us?"

At our bus depots, those that sell tickets are begging for tips; their counterparts at our airports are not exempted. Just imagine that...after selling a ticket to a customer, they will still ask him to drop "something" for them. Too unethical for business. I am not saying there is anything wrong with collecting tip, but everything is wrong with begging for it. It is self-degrading and unethical.

It has come to a point where service workers assume that tips are their entitlement. Some time ago, I was at the front desk of a hotel, and the receptionists were talking about a customer they just attended to. They said he was very stingy. I asked them why they thought so and they told me he didn't drop anything for them as if the man was owing to them. I wondered whether they actually realized that this man paid for whatever service they gave him, and that their employer would, in turn, pay them. They lacked the common sense to understand that the fact that others gave them tip did not mean the man had an obligation to give them tip.

Our policemen are not left out in this shameless begging. In fact, they are at the forefront of it. In their own case, it is not even begging, it is extortion because they use force and intimidation. In other countries, police set up roadblocks to stop traffic on the road in order to catch a fugitive or inspect traffic, but in Nigeria, police set up roadblocks to extort money from motorists. Well, maybe there are other reasons why they set up roadblocks, but whenever I see police roadblocks, all I see them do is extort money from motorists.

In government offices, it is not just begging but tactical begging. If you go to a government office to obtain a document, they will tell you that the document is not available. But if you are "smart" enough, or rather accustomed to the system, to understand their language and drop "something" (tip) for them, they even say "Roger us" meaning dropping something. The same document they said was not available will surface miraculously. That is, you have to bribe them before they could attend to you; whereas, it is the same work for which the government is paying them. Then if you go to a government office during festive periods, they will ask you to do Christmas, New Year or Easter for them, depending on the festivity. And of course, your response will go a long way to determine the success of whatever you went there to do.

This attitude of begging has become so common that some deem it normal. It is so a way of life to them that even when you exchange greetings with them, they tell you, "Anything for your boy?" Yes, begging has even become a part of some people's greetings. Nigerians are begging even on Facebook. Some Nigerians shamelessly beg foreigners (especially, not Africans) on their Facebook friend list for money. They cook up pitiful stories to ask for money from their victims. Victims? Yes, victims! 

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