Posted by: returnoftheheroes | August 6, 2008

Nigeria

So nigeria, the bogey man of the trip, the big headache the big stress. how to go about it and quickly as possible. our orginal plan of enerting by Nikki halfway up was scuppered by the road which was a pian, it would have destroyed the car. so we were forced to head south and cross jsut north of Port Novo which is meant to be more relaxed.

and suprisingly it was very relaxed, the crossing itself took 3 hours lots of form filling but everyone was very pleasent and no bribes were offered or taken. the only hold up came with Quarrine, apparently our car had to be disinffected before we were allowed to procced, so the green machien got a very through going over by a couple of lads and we were on our way.

how naive we were. we hadn’t even left the compound before the circus and its friends arrived, admitally if you drive a car with astro turf on it you can expect a certain amount of attention, this was pretty much like india all over again, the copper tried to tell us our paper were out of order and he needed a present, i told himn lets take a walk and see the chief 30 m’s away, he waved uson our way and we forced our way through the crowd who were all asking for something. quickly filled up with petrol with the circus in tow.

we manged about 2 km before we hit our first roadblock, literally.  some dude tried to spike our car with a nail board, i manged to avoid him but then 10m later his buddy with the AK 47 stepped out and waved us over and we decided to stop. we were told the first lie that right hand cars are illegial in nigeria and we need to pay a fine, fortunatley the guy fromthe first road block turned up and hauled uas back. these guys were immigration, now you are probably a little confused and thinking, surely we jsut passed through immigration at the border. but no this crack squad of geniuses were looking for terrorists and th elike, this took about 15 mins to sort out and i am not joking this guy was pulling up profiles of random africans and seriosuly comparing us to them, like some how we jsut had a lot of white make up on.

to save you the details this process of roadblocks continued for the next 20 km, not even kidding we passed easily 30 blocks, they were all a  variety of immigration, customs, qurrantine, police, anti-terror you name it they were there, there was even one guy from the union, all our papers where in order but they were all in it for  the cash, all looking for a “present” well they got nothing from us, we got our routine down pretty well and after a while of banter they would get bored and evenutally waved us on our way, fortunatley this crap started to thin out and we found our way onto the express way to Ibhadan. we also saw how locals delt with these checkpoints, there was one on the motoer way and we followed all the locals off the highway across the central verge onto the otherside of the expressway forcing the incoming traffic to the hard shoulder until we were past the checkpoint where we crossed the central median onto our side again, Genius!

IBhadan was pretty cool we couldn’t get into our htoels of choice but ended up staying at a very nice guest hous ein the city centre and had some super homecooked food, only downside was our roomw as next the the generator, so i managed to grap 3 hours of sleep from 2am to 5am when it was turned off!

Today we had a massive day leaving from Ibhaden at 6 am and headed to Abduja, took us 13 hours partly because the roads are terrible, a miniumum of road blocks a few attempted shake downs but we left them feeling like the ametures with our routine.  we crusied into abduja this evening all in one piece.

A Nigeria round up.  The pople couldn’t be happier or friendlier, in all honestly they have been great, except when they are trying to shake you down or think they can get something out of you. then they’re , well we’ll leave it at that. so its a very funny feeling,you’re never quite sure which side of the coin you are going to get. but generally they guys with a uniform are all looking for a present, no different from the rest of africa but there are a lot more of them here and they have a lot more guns.

the roads here though are the biggest problem. they dirve even worse than anywhere else and there are thousands of trucks on the road. and they are all fuel bowzers. literally hundreads of them and what is more worrying is we have seen at least a dozen of them burnt out by the side of the road, happy days! the conditions of the roads are appallign as well, pothols, sinks, massive ridges, ripped up pavement they have it all. it took us 3 hours to do about 60 km on a main road this morning. just such slow going, but like heroes we perserve.

So one more night after this before we are in Cameroon.

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