John & Jenny
Thu 17 Feb 2011 15:52
Days spent in Nigeria 13
Nights in a room/house 5
Nights camping 8
Distance driven 1787 km
Average cost of diesel 60 pence/litre
In many respects Nigeria was far nicer and safer than we had expected. We found the people exceptionally friendly and the police the most friendly of the trip so far. We didn't meet any problems and people went out of their way to help us. We had gone there with a very negative expectations and a determination to get in, get our visas, and get out as quickly as possible. Once there, our attitudes changed completely and we relaxed. The only downside was the appalling state of the roads west of Abuja and the completely derelict state of the country. For a country with such an enormous oil wealth, one wonders how it can be in such a dire state. The word maintenance just doesn't exist in Nigerian dictionaries and the country is falling apart as a result.
Scenically, the west and central parts of the country have nothing of interest, being flat, dried up, derelict and dusty. However, Cross River State on the Cameroon border is delightful, being beautifully hilly, with lush green rain forest and well-kept properties.
An interesting feature of the country was the open smuggling of gasoline across the borders with both Benin and Cameroon, mostly taking place in broken-down private cars laden with plastic jerry-cans. Gasoline in Nigeria sells at about 30 pence and re sells in both Benin and Cameroon at about 65 pence, so the attraction of driving mobile bombs is obvious! Strangely, we saw no evidence of burnt-out cars or other gasoline fuelled disasters.