Any car owner residing in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who has not visited Apo auto mechanic village, may just have been missing the other side of owning a car. The auto repair village is home to the good, the bad and the ugly in the capital city.
Those who are conversant with the place refer to it in different names, just as it means different things to various people. For some, the Apo auto mechanic village is a haven for criminals. For others, it is simply the Sodom and Gomorrah of the FCT. But it is the most convenient place to fix any kind of faulty car, with relatively cheap and genuine spare parts.
There are no dull moments for those who take their cars to the auto village for repair because there are thousands of other activities to engage and keep car owners busy and entertained while their cars are fixed. The village is a custodian of immorality, criminality, drugs, fun and auto mechanic wizardry.
Popularly known as Apo Mechanic Village, the place is a typical example of everything under one roof, as people with auto problems don’t need to search too far to get the results to their problems. From welders, panel beaters, alignment and wheel balancing experts and the main auto repairers to the enclave for fun seekers, gamblers, drug addicts and sexual exploration, everything is within reach.
Except for those living in the Zuba axis of the FCT, there is perhaps no part of the capital that can compete favourably with the Apo auto mechanic village in terms of sourcing genuine parts for any type or model of vehicle or fixing any faulty one.
With vicinity spanning over three square kilometres, Apo auto village reportedly houses the best technical hands to provide solutions to any faulty vehicle and shops to source for genuine new or used spare parts to replace any faulty part of any vehicle.
With warehouses and containers for original and fake, imported, new and refurbished auto parts, popularly called Belgium parts, in almost every cranny of the village, Apo mechanic village has assumed the status of a referral point for many people of the FCT to source for auto parts.
It is common in Abuja to hear popular names like Honda Line, Toyota Line, Mercedes Place, Volkswagen Arena and or AC Home as identities of the right places to source for auto spare parts at a price comparable with any other part of the country.
Comically speaking, the village is a mini Nigeria, as every ethnic group is represented. Those uncomfortable with an auto mechanic from a different ethnic group handling their cars need not search too far to get solutions from their kinsmen.
The village is made of good and evil, sadness and joy, sorrow, pain, agony and happiness in almost equal measures. It is a place where, within the blink of an eye, you could forever regret ever going there.
At the Apo Mechanic Village, there are hawks and fraudsters among the auto mechanics, spare parts dealers and panel beaters, among others. The village is dominated by unscrupulous conmen looking for whom to devour. The language of the village is, trust no one.
Crime and criminality
Apart from the antics of the auto mechanics and the sharp practices of the spare parts dealers that car owners have to contend with, there is also a high rate of criminality going on at the Apo mechanic village. Despite the visibility of several police teams patrolling the area for several hours, there have been periodic robberies, especially at night.
An apprentice, Joshua, who confirmed the robbery incidence in a chat with Daily Sun, noted that the robbers clash with the police patrol team from time to time, and they usually vandalise parked cars for parts like battery and sensitive fixtures.
“They usually come at night when only the apprentices are around. The robbers would vandalise cars undergoing repairs and take the parts, ranging from car battery to air condition compressor to resell. They sometimes demand cash, handsets and other valuables from the apprentices sleeping inside the vehicles.
“In those days, they moved from one vehicle to the other, vandalising them. It became so much that the apprentices deviced a means to check the situation. We would hide inside the vehicles and set bonfires to warn any robber of the danger that awaits him if he dares. The rate has reduced now,” Joshua said.
There are also daylight robbery incidents from majorly the Hausa scrap collectors. Any carelessness on the part of owners or repairers who look away from any of the parts of vehicles undergoing repair, means it is as good as gone. There have also been incidents of car owners losing car batteries to scrap collectors.
As activities at the drinking joints wind down late in the evening, the action shifts to the several brothels littering the settlement. The brothels, which operate 24 hours non-stop, basically provide carnal satisfaction and services to the shop owners, mechanics, the apprentices and vehicle owners.
Investigations revealed that Apo mechanic village ranks above other parts of the FCT for parading underage prostitutes. Ladies, ranging from age 14 and above, from every tribe of Nigeria, live in shanties to provide sex to those in need of sexual satisfaction.
There may be brothels in every part of the auto village, but the most popular is the ever-bubbling Arab joint. Ladies of all shapes and sizes, provocatively dressed, are available, round the clock, at a fee from N500 and above for quick sex.
Until it was demolished on January 17 this year, the Arab joint at the mechanic village was a semblance of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, where apprentices, their masters and area boys converged for sexual satisfactions.
Expectedly, most hotels around the area offer short-time services for the big boys and their ladies. Many customers who raid the area for ladies easily part with N2,500 and above for a quick roll under the sheets in the hotels while waiting for the auto mechanics to fix their cars. In fact, short-time is trending in the auto village.
The stench of marijuana from every corner of the auto village is enough confirmation to visitors and occupants that the level of drug trafficking and consumption at the village is spiralling, perhaps more than in any other part of the FCT.
Apart from those consuming it openly and in every corner of the mechanic village, the use of marijuana, especially in the brothels, cuts across men and women. It seems prostitutes compete with their customers and area boys on who would outsmoke the other in the consumption of the weed.
“Don’t deceive yourself that only those at this auto village consume drugs, there are many car owners that hang around and consume them too. Little wonder that some of them would be gentle when they arrive with their cars only to turn to beasts after taking the drugs with some of guys here. Sometimes, security agents even join them in the consumption,” a mechanic, Mohammed, quipped.
This regular feature of the auto village comes in different forms and guises. From those neck-deep in card gambling, to those staking money in exchange for products or for higher amounts, the vicinity bubbles from morning till night with betting activities.
Intermittently, the area will go into a frenzy or ecstasy or wailing from those celebrating victory or mourning the loss of the money they staked on a bet. It is a common sight to see these smooth operators trying to outsmart each other in attracting the attention of customers with an assortment of products like expensive wine, perfumes, bags of rice, cartons of biscuits and yam tubers loaded in wheel barrows.
Some of the gambling operators would also lure customers with big chickens, peacocks and financial inducement such that even some very decent-looking car owners cannot resist the temptation of playing to win the up to N100,000 worth of products, by staking as little as N100 or N200.
Source: Daily Sun