DURO’S RUSSIA NOTES…

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NAIRA DEBIT CARD MESS

All around the world, Nigerians have the reputation of paying cash for most of their transactions. The introduction of debit/credit cards by most Nigerian banks has hardly changed that attitude of carrying cash around. Although the fear of losing such funds to thieves has sort of reduced that attitude.

Here at the World Cup in Russsia those who are stuck to the old habit of cash in the pockets and not on the cards, are smiling, enjoying all that the Russians are offering. At the MacDonald’s, just ten minutes walk from the hotels where most of us are resident in Pribaltiyskaya area of St Petersburg, some Nigerians who wanted to spend from their Naira debit cards got the shock of their lives. After picking food and groceries, the attendant teller asked for money, they claimed not to have the Russian Rubles. One brought out his debit cards from two of the old generation banks with horse and elephants as logos. The POS declined. Several attempts yielded no result. With those on the queue becoming inpatient, yours sincerely tapped the shoulder of the guy with the cards and told him Naira cards no longer work outside the country with the new CBN policies. Of course, they dropped the groceries but had to borrow Russian Rubles to pay for the food. They were lucky got bailed out otherwise would have been hard way to learn…

NAIJA FOODS

Trust our compatriots when it comes to making fast money. With most Nigerian visitors here trying to cope with the arrays of Russian dishes on offer here, some smart ones resident here are making a kill from selling our local delicacies. One guy from south of the Niger, is offering Nigerian foods for what is clearly exorbitant price of over 600 Rubles (about N6,200) per serving of a plate of Semovita and beef  or chicken egusi soup. Those who desperately desire the stuff are going for them while those who can manage are eating the Russian meals. Don’t ask me what I am eating….

AFRICAN SOLIDARITY

After Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria lost their first matches of the ongoing World Cup here in Russia, most Africans here appear to be their brother’s keepers, sharing emotions together. Everywhere you turn, you hear some folks asking you if you are from Africa. “ We are from Egypt, Sad Mohamed Salah is not our team that lost to Urugauay. Sad, Nigeria and Morocco also lost. Don’t worry, we can get better in subsequent matches” observed an Egyptian who identified himself simply as Abdel.  He is here with his beautiful wife and son. The kid has an Egyptian flag with Salah’s image engraved on half of the coat of arms.