Bobo Omotayo: “Our P.O.S Machine is down!” (30 Days, 30 Voices)

Bobo Omotayo

The CBN ‘Cashless Lagos’ initiative has further allowed creditors like me owe more as one-man businesses across Lagos have been slow to embrace this new state-of-play.

Two mojitos and one rib-eye steak later, I was pleasantly hit by the words, “Our P.O.S. machine is down!” Not like I was genuinely trying to pay for the meal in the first place. With a pretend angry expression, I called for the manager.

“She dey come,” the waiter said whilst leaning over my left shoulder. As the manager approached, I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going to be pushed to explore the option of walking to a nearby ATM which was sixty metres outside of these premises. I based my refusal on the following:

  1. It is not my fault your restaurant refuses to comply with CBN directives.
  2. Using that particular ATM will also cost me an extra one hundred naira as it is operated by a different financial institution and besides the 12.5% consumption TAX and the other 12.5% kinikon charge.

I will not give this establishment an extra dime.

As the manager approached my table, she wore a defeated look. “Hello Mr. Omotayo,” she said. I will spare you the contents of our forty-five seconds conversation; let’s just say it ended with “…next time.” This is the fourth item which I had purchased/consumed without paying for that week. There were the Atiku Lace purchases at the start of the week. As I rummaged through a stuffed ‘Ghana-must-go’ bag sitting in the seller’s car boot, after helping myself to a few I enquired, “BTW, do you have a P.O.S machine?”

On Wednesday, after a wait-and-get photo shoot, I asked the roadside photographer, “Abeg where your POS machine?” On Saturday, I sent my car for servicing and after the oil and sparkplugs were changed, my mechanic revved the car engine in excitement outside my gate in hope for an immediate cash settlement, “Ehn ehn, Matthew please go and bring your POS machine, you know na cashless Lagos we dey so…” There’s no guessing what the collective responses were to these calculated questions.

The truth is I’ve become accustomed to life on credit. Yes indeed we do not live in a credit society but we certainly know how to ‘post’ payment. From Surulere to Magodo, there’s always one brave bar owner who will allow you pop Dom Perignon on an IOU. In fact it’s become such standard practice that some service providers look at you strange when you settle a bill upfront. “Can I come for my balance?” is a reoccurring text message I get from carpenters, electricians, and LASUU students. The CBN ‘Cashless Lagos’ initiative has further allowed creditors like me owe more as one-man businesses across Lagos have been slow to embrace this new state-of-play. Like most things, people will find loopholes. Abi, if a whole Central Bank of Nigeria asks me to stop carrying cash—I must obey. I’m a law-abiding gentle moin moin. Hence, I should not be held responsible if I go and buy something and the business owner fails to comply with the same directives.

The same way they have drummed it down the end-users’ throats is the same way they should ensure all service providers from the hospitality to retail sectors have P.O.S. machines installed by their tills. And for the ‘I-too-knows’ amongst you who are muttering “He should have asked before he started to order” under your breaths—sharrap!

I tell you what…it sure will be interesting to find out the stats. on how many P.O.S. machines exists in ratio to the number of restaurants/shops in Lagos. And yes, that includes meat pie/ sharwama/ ofada kiosks, and mama-put too. There are no exceptions. In fact, it’s a shame today is a bank holiday, otherwise I would have taken a stroll to Ghana High and after getting served, I will present my Naira MasterCard card. Let me see the ‘ara ti won fe daa’.


About the author: Bobo Omotayo is the author of London Life, Lagos Living. For more information, visit

Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (0)

  1. U be fool @bobo. Gwad! I couldn't stop laughing! I swear this guy is something! Oh my! POS palava, I expect the Iya Boole by my Junction to have POS tomorrow cos imma pull Bobo Omotayo on her! I swear down hahahahahahahahah

  2. I really enjoyed your post. informative and revealing the true state of the system. But we will get there.I remember when GSM wsa newly introduced into the naija system. There were lots of bottle neck but it came right ultimately.

    We always think nothing works in naija, but if there is a will, it will happen. Change is one thing that man is constantly resistant to.

    One group of people that will really need a POS machine is the police. You can imagine a conversation like

    Driver: "officer i no get cash here"

    Office: " no worry, i get POS, oya swipe your card"!

  3. A colleague of mine earns 40k (an office assistant), went to withdraw 20k at the beginning of April, as at today the money has not been reversed because he used his card on another banks machine. The guy has had to take soft loans to survive. I wonder if no one was willing to avail him the small amounts he requests for and what if the money was to solve an emergency.

    Last month my son was ill, after a night in the hospital we had to pay about 55grand, it was a sunday morning and the POS "operator was not at work, my hubby had to drive round maryland/ikeja to get the closest ATM that was dispensing cash.

    yet lagos has gone cashless. As always we put the cart before the horse.

    Nice write up.

  4. For a restaurant that offers "mojitos and rib-eye steaks" on their menu, the waiter couldn't speak proper english? "She dey come"

    A very witty article, bt I'm sure it's fiction.Which brings me to question the other encounters. A mechanic and a POS machine? Stitch me!

  5. Hilarious article, although you failed to point out the real challenges outside of embracing the cashless society! I drove for 2 hours from one ATM to anoda and none coy retail business has at least over 15 different POS machines, 4 in each location and we lost over 8 million cash sales due to network issues last week. POS no work as customer wan pay! Sad sad sad

  6. "'Can I come for my balance?' is a reoccurring text message I get from… LASUU students". Interesting. Female, perhaps?

    By the way, Nice shirt.

  7. Hahaha! This dude is just a natty natty! Gentle moin-moin..that's cracked me!

    I look forward to the 30days left…

  8. hahahahhaha!! bobo killed it! Ghana high on point man!

  9. And Bobo is back! Ynaija,how about getting him a weekly column? This one-time feature will not do o!

  10. U r an heeediot! Lol this article had me laffing and shaking my head. I shall try this new style, pity it doesn't work in big stores like SPAR or shoprite, they sha won't allow me to raja lawin! Nice, refreshing, witty write up.

  11. I have near fallen out of the car reading this in laughter! And so true too, though a time where mechanics will have P.O.S machines is hard to forsee. Oh and P.S I strongly doubt Ghana High will let you leave without paying… Try and see, I'm sure it'd make another hilarious article….

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