Day 88: Nigeria

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Mon 31 Jan 2011 18:03
Day 88: Monday 31 January 2011.  Rockbeach Golf Resort, Abeokuta, Nigeria. N07 06.663 E003 22.127  Distance driven 241 km
Nigeria, the country I spent most of my professional life trying to avoid visiting! Four countries in a week - only another 7 to go!
The border crossing was the easiest so far, no hassle, no touts, no requests for cadeaux, bribes, presents etc.  The biggest problem was finding the various Customs and Immigration offices. We sailed through Ketou and up to the border and then found that we had to back-track 15 km to Ketou to visit Benin Customs. Then back to a very sleepy Benin Immigration at the border and we crossed into a very scruffy Nigeria.  Nigerian Customs and Immigration were 5 km down a very rough and dusty track but were very friendly and helpful when we did find them.
Our biggest problem arose from Jenny switching passports. She exited Benin on her SA passport but her Nigerian visa was in the UK passport.  The Immigration official would not put her entry stamp in her UK passport (with her Nigerian visa) as it did not contain a Benin exit stamp.  he insisted in putting it in the SA passport.  This produced endless problems further down the road - having the visa and entry stamps in different passports!
Within 5 miles of leaving the border we had been stopped 7 times: once by police, once by "Control of Foreigners", once by Port Health and four times by separate branches of Immigration.  All were very friendly and helpful but each had to record all our details (the same details) and each time we had to explain the visa in one passport and the entry stamp in the other!  It became rather tedious.  We seemed no sooner to get up to speed and into 5th gear than we were stopped again.  There were no official signs, in fact no signs at all; no uniforms, no flags, just a few logs by the side of the road and each post had a vicious looking piece of wood (3 x 2) about 3 metres long and with 100 4" nails protruding from it. They would push this weapon out into the road to ensure that you stopped!
Once clear of all these controls the road deteriorated badly all the way into Abeokuta, which we hit at rush hour. Fortunately, we had the GPS co-ordinates of this camp site and we rolled up here about 1800, ready for a large cold beer.