Sunday, April 18, 2021

Scenes in Lagos

 Several years ago I had a short assignment in Lagos, Nigeria. I was part of a larger staff that were all housed in a hotel and commuted to the office on a bus with an armed security escort. One day as we were returning to the hotel we saw a guy that appeared to be asleep on the side of the road. We thought nothing of it. The next day, he was still there but he had been stripped of his clothes. He was obviously dead. On the third day, he was gone. We were told that when someone dies, they are quickly relieved of their clothing. Such is the condition of people living in third world countries where the leaders hoard all the oil revenues. 

The route of our bus took us under an overpass for the main highway. Hanging from the railing was a human skull and a sign proclaiming death to Muslims. 

People living in Lagos will do anything to earn a little money. Some build a small fire and roast bush meat on a flat steel plate. Some convert automobile air conditioning compressors to use to inflate flat tires. And, of course, crime is rampant which is why we had armed escorts. My concern about the escorts were: Would they be willing to shoot their countrymen to protect me, and would they be accurate enough not to hit me?

Nigeria is not a place I can recommend.


Old NFO said...

Nope, not a fun place... Truly 3rd world!

JayNola said...

I heard some serious horror stories from a commissioning engineer with a dredge builder I used to work for. It was a Conrad-esque trip upriver to the site with bodies floating in the river and AK carrying guards getting into altercations with pirates.

Peripatetic Engineer said...

All true. We had our office at Nigerdock on the island. We commuted by boat as it was safer. (no road blocks) Bodies in the river were common as well as people swimming near over water outhouses at the shanty town. We were told not to wear any jewelry that you didn't want to lose and NEVER use a credit card. A popular expat bar was robbed one night and that was big news in the community. I visited Port Harcourt and had lunch at the compound there. The residents talked about gunfire every night and the streets were filled with military aged young men hanging around.