Corrupt Border Officers and Kamikaze Trucks; Veyt Cycles Through Nigeria
Having rushed from Senegal to Nigeria due to visa issues, Veyt could afford to slow down a bit. He took a rest day in Lagos and planned his onward route. His government Foreign Office advice for the country was quite negative, so he decided to avoid wild camping or cycling at night. Instead, he made a strict plan on where to sleep and how many miles to cycle each day.
Despite having more time to cross Nigeria, the ride was not relaxing. Up to 20 times per day he would pass police or army checkpoints. Most of these just involved a quick chat, but a few times per day he would be intimidated and asked for money or gifts.
The roads were also exhausting. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, meaning there are lots of cars and heavy vehicles on the roads. Veyt describes the driving as crazy, “I’m very often scared for my life,” he explained in a blog. Lorries were his biggest worry; often, he would be forced off the road to avoid being hit.
After a break from the highways to visit a Christian monastery he headed towards Cameroon. Along the way, he had a chance encounter with royalty! A car stopped and the man inside introduced himself as His Royal Highness Dauda Haruna Umaru Tiisintai of the Suntai Chiefdom. Veyt was invited to join him for food and advised to visit some other chieftains along his route. The very next day Veyt visited His Royal Highness Alk Zubairu Hamman Gabda Muhammadu Sambo of the Gashake Kingdom.
After this brush with Nigerian royalty, it was a long climb up to the Mambilla plateau on his way to the border town of Dorofi. Here, he did not receive such a warm welcome. Having found a place to sleep he was woken by the arrival of police and an immigration official. They attempted to confuse him, telling him there were problems with his visa and with where he was staying. They insisted he was not safe, eventually forcing him to cycle in the middle of the night to the immigration office to sleep. Veyt threatened to call his embassy and managed to remain calm. Eventually, he was free to go on to the border where he crossed into Cameroon without issue.