I'd heard mixed reports about Nigeria. Some said don't go because of security concerns. Others said the people are fantastic. I didn't know what to expect! Despite the minor moto madness incident, which can occur in any city, my experience of Nigeria was overwhelmingly positive!
The officials working on the road varied. I didn't get any hassle from police bribery between Seme and Lagos, probably because of the new border facility and I had an immigration officer riding pillion. Cars sped through multiple police checkpoints between Lagos and Benin City. It seems that the long thick stick the police are holding is also used to whack cars that don't stop when instructed to. I even saw a policemen pretend to cock his AK47 at a car that didn't stop. Further East, I was pulled over at a checkpoint and they offered me rum! Near to the Cameroon border, it turned out the army officer we were chatting to knew my mates Alfonso and Jonny who rode through Nigeria a few months earlier. The officials at the Kan Iyaka were super cool and friendly, they even wanted a photo!
Nigeria has lots of oil, and fuel stations are abundant. Funnily enough, they don't have reliable electricity. No hotel had power in the afternoon when I arrived. A diesel generator runs at night to enable lights to work. At the hotel in Lagos, the generator ran all day, but the room was more expensive than other places I stayed.
The road between Katsina Ala and Takum is known for kidnappings of both locals and tourists where the latter have higher ransoms. A police escort is an option for a fee, but I chose to avoid the route entirely. Instead, I headed North from Katsina Ala to Wukari and then South to Mararaba. Added a few hours to my journey, but evaded possibility of kidnap and avoided paying for a police escort.
In Mararaba, a refuel was needed before the border crossing into Cameroon. Fuel couldn't be found at any station. People were saying this is unusual. Two guys on a motorcycle said to follow them and sure enough, they found a station on a side track with fuel! We were chatting and I explained about the journey, and they explained one of them had studied in Birmingham, UK, and we had a nice chat. Then, the unexpected happened: they paid for my full tank of fuel! I explained I had money and it wasn't necessary, but they insisted!
© 2018-2020 Stephen Matthews, Biking Over Yonder