Working Lives

Working Lives: The Lagos Affidavit Agent From Oye Ekiti

Working Lives: The Lagos Affidavit Agent From Oye Ekiti

Oluwasegun came to Lagos with dreams of working to finance his higher education. His option was to stay in the village and work on the farm for N2,000 daily. He studied for a Business Adminstration degree while working in a factory. Oluwasegun was then trained by Area Boys to hang around the court and look for opportunities to process documents for Lagosians.


“Someone asks you to clear a plot of land and at the end of the day, you will be paid N2,000 or less. In the city, you can get a job in an office as a clerk or learn a profitable skill as a secondary school leaver in the city”.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Oluwasegun Damilare. I am from Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

Tell us about your education.

I had my primary education at St. Michael Nursery and Primary School. Thereafter, I attended St Augustine Secondary School. Both schools are in Oye, Ekiti State.  My parents could not afford to pay for higher education. As the first male child, I had to tighten my loins. I realized that if I wanted to get a higher degree, I would have to hustle more than my peers.

A friend asked me to move to Lagos. He said I would get better job opportunities in Lagos. True to his word, he helped me get a job as a factory worker at the company he was working in. He was a machine operator at Ragolis Water in Ikorodu. I was able to save and start a part-time programme at the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) where I studied Business Administration.

What year did you come to Lagos?

I came to Lagos in 2007. With my parent’s help, I raised N10,000 and traveled to Lagos in search of a greener pasture. Staying in the village would have made me a farmer. There are no job opportunities in the village except farm work and manual labour.

 In the village, if you own a farm, you are a rich man. You can plant cassava and earn N3,000 – N3,500 per basin.  But there is no money in manual labour. Someone asks you to clear a plot of land and at the end of the day, you will be paid N2,000 or less. In the city, you can get a job in an office as a clerk or learn a profitable skill as a secondary school leaver in the city. This was the reason my parents supported my decision to move to Lagos at such a young age. Not everyone leaves the village. Some people who can afford to buy bikes go into the transportation business, while some continue with farming.

How much is your rent?

When I moved to Lagos, I stayed with my friend at Olorunfunmi Street, Ilupeju–Lagos. But when my friend got married, I had to move out and rent an apartment. I found an apartment around Haruna in Ikorodu. The rent is N3,500  per month.

How did you start the affidavit business?

The amount I earned as a factory worker was not enough to meet my needs. After a few years of working in the factory, I decided to quit. I got a job in a hotel as a cleaner. But the manager was a shrewd businessman. I worked there for two months and he did not pay me a dime. The manager said at the end of the month that sales have not been good and there was no money to pay.

After two months I could not continue to waste my sweat so I quit.  I started following some area boys. They taught me this hustle. I started working for myself during the covid period. My former boss taught me everything I know about this business- how to do affidavits, birth certificates, marriage certificates, change of name, vehicle documents, etc. COVID-19 affected my boss’s business. We had to shut down our office.

It was difficult staying at home with no form of income. I reached out to past customers and my contacts. Often, I would call them and ask if they wanted to process any documents. I also asked them to refer anyone who wanted to process a birth or marriage certificate to me. This was how people started contacting me to do documents for them.

Who are your customers?

Everybody is my customer. Today, you might not be my customer. But tomorrow you may get married and you will need someone to process your wedding certificate. This is when I come in handy. When I meet someone new today, I make sure I exchange numbers with them. They might not need my services at that moment. I like to position myself in the right place.

I also hang around court premises like other people in my trade. We walk up to people and ask them what they want to do. Then we take their requests to the government workers who will process them. We know where all the documents can be processed. Our customers do not know this. So, we act as a middleman to make their work easy and they pay us in return.

Also Read: Working Lives: The Generator Seller who used to work as a Motor Boy

When do you have the most customers?

I cannot say we have more customers on Friday than we do on Monday. Our job is not predictable. We just go with the flow. All affidavit agents work within the court time frame. We open when the court opens and close when the court closes. There is no day we don’t have customers.

What amount do you charge for each document?

There is no fixed price. We demand a high price and expect customers to beat it down. It is a good deal when a customer doesn’t. But some customers will cut your price. At some point, they are asking you to do the documents for free. When we bargain with customers, we ensure that the agreed price is enough to pay the government officials and that can also get our percentage.

In a good week, how much do you make?

I make nothing less than N40, 000–N50, 000

How much profit do you make on each document?

It depends on the document. I mentioned earlier that we do not have a fixed price. I make N2, 000 – N2, 500 on each document, and sometimes I make more.

For how many hours do you work in a day?

We start by 8:00 am and close by 4:00 pm

Do you have savings?

Yes, I do. I save my money in the bank. Every business person ought to set something aside for the future. I make sure I do not save less than N5,000 in a week.

Also Read: Working Lives: The 35-Year-Old Affidavit Agent Who Wants to Japa To Canada

Have you ever taken a loan?

I hate loans. This is because I don’t want any insult and embarrassment. I don’t even borrow money from friends and family. My approach is that I always plan my life on the little that I have.

Have you ever had situations whereby a customer started complaining that you made a mistake in their document and how did you rectify it?

This happens often because we deal with many people every day. The mistake could be with the customer’s name, age, address, or phone number. When this happens, they call our attention to it and we quickly correct it. These mistakes are not deliberate. Sometimes customers make mistakes when they write their details. But whichever the case is, we do the corrections immediately. When the mistake is from the customers, they have to pay additional fees. If the mistake is from us, we bear the cost.

Apart from doing an affidavit, do you do other things to fetch yourself money?

Yes. I also sell engine oil for cars, generators, and bikes.  Where I live, we often don’t have light. One day, I went to get fuel for my small Tiger generator at the filling station. I also wanted to get oil for the generator. To my surprise, I found out find out that the station sold only the 5 -litre pack. I wanted to get oil that is decanted into small bottles.

Also, I  noticed no one in the environment was selling engine oil in small bottles. So, I invested N30, 000 the business. I got a sales boy to watch over it while I go to the court for my affidavit business. I pay my sales boy N15, 000 every month.

So, if I wanted to start the affidavit business today, what do I have to do?

The first thing is to study the court premises. Pay close attention to the events going on and be able to answer the following questions. Why do people come here? What documents do people prepare here? Where can these documents be prepared? How much do they charge to prepare these documents? Once you can confidently answer these questions, then you can start this trade.

For how long have you been doing this and for how much longer do you see yourself doing it?

I have been in this business for the past 5 years. I do not see myself retiring soon.

Tell me about your dreams or plans to venture into something else.

I am hoping to own a boutique where I can sell male wear like shoes, shirts, trousers, belts, etc., in the next 5-6 years.

Obande Friday

Friday is a Mass Communication graduate of The Polytechnic of Ibadan. He has four years of content development experience. He loves lifting weights in his spare time.

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