Nigeria - East (Red car)
Abuja to the border of Cameroon
We make it to Makurdi for the night and figure if we start early we can make it through the border into Cameroon the next day. We are up at 4:45, eager to make it through the border. The roadblocks don’t get started until 7:30 or 8 so we are almost to the border when we start getting stopped. One guy is reviewing Stanley’s passport and trying to pronounce his last name. “Luchters” as it is meant to be pronounced does not roll easily off the Nigerian tongue. After several tries he settles on “Dr. Look-Touch” which he declares a very fitting name for a doctor!
Summary of Nigeria
- Nigeria was exhausting and exhilarating. The people are fantastic and we were pleasantly surprised by all the regular Nigerians we met. The people in authority are generally exhausting. So much shameless corruption it is depressing and at times frightening. We had a constant anxiety wondering when the next stop would be and how bad the shakedown. This is really stifling as we didn’t venture out to see more of Nigeria because of it. With less shameless corruption by those in positions of power Nigeria surely has a lot of great things to experience.
- Stops occur by:
- Security: they wear a smart black uniform and must get paid by the state because they mostly waved us through.
- Police: Detailed above – shameless.
- Customs: Never gave us much trouble but it was always a stop.
- Tan and Maroon: New uniforms complete with matching hat. Not sure which branch these guys represent but they were most excited by the right hand drive.
- Immigration and or Public Health: if your papers are in order we didn’t have any problem.
- Thugs: we didn’t encounter any, thankfully, but there are plenty of travelers who have. Check your route carefully before going through
- Driving early in the mornings and on Sunday is the least amount of hassle.
- There is carnage on the road. So much and so captivating in its level of devastation that Stanley started a rather macabre photo montage. An ‘ode to the roads’ of Nigeria. He became spoiled for choice and then refused to photograph any truck unless it had a cabin displacement of more than one meter and/or evidence of extensive fire/explosion. He was still spoiled for choice….
- Nigeria is apparently the happiest country in the world! We had been having discussions on the wealthiest countries, etc, etc and Stanley checked the Happiest and was very, very, very surprised to find Nigeria at the top!!
- “Yes, GAS”. We see these signs everywhere. In order to be able to transport fuel from the delta (apparently a lucrative trade) you must own a petrol station so many people open stations but don’t run them so they just sit empty. If you are looking for fuel look for the stations that say “Yes, gas”!