Road Trip Crossing the Nigerian border is hell

Honestly, I haven't seen such terrible roads in my life, not even when I went to Agbado (trust me, the roads there are really bad).

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Oti River, Togo play

Oti River, Togo

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One of the best things about living in Lagos is its location. So many fascinating destinations lie within a few hours’ drive, making it easy to plan weekend trips and adventures.

Armed with my very good friend, Dammy, my life savings and my favourite shoes, I hit the road! This time my destination was Benin, Togo and Ghana.

play An over enthusiastic Dammy and me. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into.

 

Crossing the border: The Nigerian border is worse than hell because in fact there is no border!

Getting to Mile 2 we boarded a rickety cab heading to Seme border for N1,500. The closer to Badagry we got the harsher the roads became. Honestly, I haven't seen such terrible roads in my life, not even when I went to Agbado (trust me, the roads there are really bad).

Meanwhile, the worst was yet to come. Apparently, two young girls travelling unescorted across Nigeria are going to do 'runs' (Nigerian term for prostitution) according to the Nigerian Immigration officers who mounted illegal road blocks every 5 meters after the previous one.

It soon dawned on us that this wasn't going to be the sunny and adventurous road trip we had in mind. It became frustrating going through all the immigration officers who delayed us because they wanted settlement passport or not.

By the time I got to Seme, I was angry and spent. Angry with the Nigerian system and the greedy officers. I wanted to take photos so badly, but using phones aren't the most friendly things at checkpoints. Too angry to explore Benin, we took a cab straight to Togo.

 

The Journey to Togo

play Somewhere in Benin

 

Benin looked postcard perfect like the kind of place you would love to visit but not live in. Old little houses as far as the eye could see as we passed through the streets of Cotonou heading to Ouidah.

I somehow found that inner peace and managed to forgive the officers.

play A farmer working tilling his field

 

Leaning back I was beginning to enjoy my ride as I watched workers on the field. The smooth roads of Benin stretched on and on. "This is the life,'' I thought to myself".

We got to the border and except the usual chaos of hawkers and beggars, the Benin - Togo border was organised and well structured.

play The Benin-Togo border

No never ending road blocks but immigration officers who stamp your passport and if you have none pay your settlement of 1000 CFA.

Crossing the border, we continued our journey.  The moment we were getting close to Lome (the capital of Togo) I just knew it.

I could feel the ocean breeze tantalising my nostrils and hair. Then we saw it! Blue as far as the eyes could see. Sweet beach sand that stretched endlessly under the hot sun.

play The roaring of the ocean can be heard miles away

Lome, Togo was a blaze of colour compared to Benin. Instead of being a tiny backwater village, like I expected it was a city of over 1.6 million people picturesque and quaint.

The minute we parked the car, a motley collection of hustlers and beggars surrounded us, trying to attract our attention in the noisiest of ways possible.

play An historical relic in Togo

Most were selling the usual tat, others trying to offer their services as guides. Togo is really beautiful and a very small country, life there looked simple...

Oti River, Togo play Oti River, Togo

So many hotels to choose from. We took a walk to the beach chatting with the locals who were very friendly and decided it would be a lovely place to come to explore for a week.

play Meet Anthony our guide through all the chaos

 

Unfortunately, we couldn't do much as we were running short of cash and still had Ghana to explore.

We boarded another cab heading to Aflao. Our journey only just begun...

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