The Inyang Effiong Show

The PodCast About People and Events around Nigeria and West Africa

Category: BlogPost (Page 1 of 2)

7 Common Problems in 3rd World Countries

Living in the third world comes with a set of problems you do not encounter in the developed world. Some are so baked into the psyche of the residents that they are not even thought of as problems again but as regular day to day minor inconveniences to be managed!

A visitor to a third world country will have a system shock right from when the plane lands, when crossing into the country by land – only for the brave -, and all through their stay. For both visitors and residents, we have gone ahead to list the top 7 problems in  third world countries here

Note: This was compiled from my Facebook page via a series of live videos with audience feedback used to update the list.

No. 1 Checkpoints

One thing not lacking in third world countries are checkpoints. There so many of them everywhere you go. Lining the roads are all the security agencies the country can muster, from the police to the army, customs, and some that are unique creations. I counted 12 police checks in a 100km stretch once on a road in Nigeria!

If only these checkpoints had any useful value, then we would be ok with them. The ones I know and have come across serve mainly two purposes;

a. Delay your travel

b. Extort money

custom checkpoint along Lagos Benin Road

Custom Checkpoint

This is common in all the 3rd World places I have been to, from Nigeria all the way to Senegal in West Africa, the roads are littered with checkpoints with various level of menacing gun toting uniform and non-uniform people manning them. The main difference between the English speaking and French speaking countries is the mode of collection payment, or rather the way the payment amount is arrived at.

In the English-speaking countries, there is more bargaining, to and forth and attempt to justify the shakedown. The officials even have the nerve to try and strike up a conversation after shaking you down.
The French-speaking countries are more business like, a fixed amount depending on the type of checkpoint. The money is collected openly and this is the neat part, you can get change!

Both delay equally though, you would expect the French model to be more efficient and faster, but the love of fondling documents, painstaking checks of the most minutiae, recording useless data in failing notebooks adds a whole layer of delay to the process.

The only exception I have seen is Ghana, where checkpoints are few and far between. I did meet a police checkpoint along the Aflao-Tema highway, where the policemen on duty tried collecting money from me in 2015 though.

During the easter weekend this 2017, I was kept for more than four hours at a checkpoint/police station/police cell along the Benin bypass for failing to pay up promptly. The unit commander had the nerve to blame me for not negotiating the payoff and said I was responsible for being delayed and should learn. Inspector Afolabi, I remember what you did.

What crime do you need to commit to be delayed at checkpoints and asked to pay up? If you think this question is rational, you are in the wrong place. Being on the road is a crime! or at least something you have to pay to do.

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Nigeria Railway Corporation Lagos Terminus Iddo Foundation Plaque

7 Things I learnt on my Train Trip from Lagos to Kaduna

What did I learn and what are my thoughts about train travel in Nigeria from my recent trip on the Lagos – Kano line? Here is my list of the seven things I learnt and picked up. Some are old but the journey re-confirmed them.

  1. Systems do not improve on their own. The railway system was still run down, payment was made deliberately hard, coaches were smelly and in bad condition, engines needed checks. If there is no pressure on the Nigeria Railway Corporation to change, there will be no positive change
  2. When you do not understand why chaos reigns, follow the money! Everything was made ‘last minute’, disorganised and all rush. Looking back, it was just a way to make more money for the staff and touts.  There were people joining along the route with no tickets and a whole series of coaches not good enough for passengers that were filled!
  3. The government has no business in business. Sell the NRC for 1 $ and let private industry run it!
  4. The railway system has massive upside potential, both for goods and passenger traffic. All the coaches were filled from Lagos till I dropped off at Minna. Unlock the potential and we can take things up
  5. Nigerians are adventurous and open to new ideas. In the first class section, 8 out of 10 people were travelling by train for the first time and most wanted to experience how train travel was!
  6. The Abuja – Kaduna rail line is a classic example of how not to run a business. It is heavily subsidised, overstaffed and the people enjoying the subsidies are not the lower class but people that could pay market rates for the service. The cost of the tickets cannot maintain even the waiting rooms! Charge a fair price and make it economically feasible to run. Running it like we are in a 70s era statist economy is not going to cut it.
  7. In spite of all the issues, travelling by train was great fun. I’ll gladly do it again!

 

What are your thoughts? Have you travelled by rail in Nigeria recently or plan to? Drop your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section.

Traveling by Train from Lagos to Kaduna pt4

The business of the weekend done in Abuja, it was time to head off to Kaduna. I had heard good things about the Abuja-Kaduna line, time to experience it myself.

The first challenge was getting information on the location of the train station, for some reason, I only made calls and never really checked it on the map. Was I groggy from 27 hours spent on the train from Lagos to Minna

I had a vague idea of the location from talking to a couple of people and I set out by 0430 to catch the train, the departure was billed for 6 am. On the road and the first taxi told me 3,000 naira, what?

I jumped and pass, then spent another 20 mins before I even got a taxi willing to head that way. Fast forward to a few minutes past 5am and we finally left from Asokoro Area for the station. Arguing fares to places you really do not know seems not to be a good idea.

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Traveling by Train from Lagos to Kaduna pt3

Step back, apart from checking out if the railway still works, I planned to be in Abuja Sunday AM! So time to review my options.

Earlier stories here Part 1 Here  Part 2 Here

Our ETA Kaduna was looking like the predicted 8pm, and the connecting train from Kaduna to Abuja  has the last departure at 6pm, that means an overnight stay in Kaduna. Time to look at options.

Postpone decision to Minna arrival, then we will have a better time of arrival at Kaduna. Meanwhile, kick back or rather, roam around and enjoy the scenery and other stuff on offer.

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Traveling by Train from Lagos to Kaduna pt2

After the military ops to board, took a look around the coach interior and it was rather nice, above expectations.

Part 1 Here  Part 3 Here

Chairs were comfy, could recline real low without disturbing the person behind you and the drop down tables in front work. Good lighting you can read by, a couple of AC 220V outlets near the middle, most in working order, overhead space to store your luggage. Hmmm, not bad at all.

 

First class couch Lagos Kano Express Train

A post shared by inyang effiong (@fendristhefeared) on

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Traveling by Train from Lagos to Kaduna pt1

Nigeria Railway Corporation Iddo Terminal

A post shared by inyang effiong (@fendristhefeared) on

Is the Nigeria Railway system still working? One way to find out, take a train from Iddo terminal in Lagos to Kaduna 905 km as the train travels up north. The last time I was on the train in Nigeria was in 1988, an epic 18hrs of suffering – standing between rail cars from Zaria to Ilorin under the heat, dust, cold, then rain. Things should have improved. Time to find out.

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EP 17 Oliver’s Cafe is Starting the Cafe Culture in Ibadan

Mr. ‘Wale Lawal of Oliver’s cafe talks about the Cafe origins, their focus on giving customers a place to have coffee, eat and meet and why they target the business crowd.

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RoadX Nigeria Car Racing Track Open for Racing

The RoadXNigeria Car racing track is open now at Evbuobanosa, KM32 Benin-Asaba Highway. The 2.5km long track follows the best tradition of car racing tracks worldwide and has something for every racing enthusiast. Currently setup for dirt racing, there is an active E30 (BMW 3 Series) racing event going on with weekend qualifiers and monthly shootouts.

The current leaderboard is available at http://roadxnigeria.com/roadx/lap-times/

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EP16 How to be a Critical Thinker – The Basics

We are doing a series on Critical Thinking and its application, Logic and related topics.

The first topic is Critical Thinking, which I would treat in 2 parts
Part 1: What is Critical Thinking and How to Apply it – This post and Podcast

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas

Critical Thinking Basics – pt 1

New Short seriesFirst one is on Critical Thinking BasicsComments!?

Posted by The Inyang Effiong Show on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

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Behaviour Change for Health Sector Reforms in Africa

Requires moving from where we are (eg Nigeria is 181/190 in the ranking of countries health care system) to where we want to be

WHO has identified 5 control knobs for health care reform

  1. Organisational Knob
  2. Regulatory Knob
  3. Payment Knob – who pays
  4. Finance Knob
  5. Consumer behaviour/Behaviour change Knob

In the interview, Dr. Fakunle focuses on the Behaviour Change Knob.

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