The Inyang Effiong Show

The PodCast About People and Events around Nigeria and West Africa

How Safe is Road Travel in Nigeria?

Or should I rather stay in one town and ignore the rest of the country except for quick dashes around by air?

I get asked this question a lot. At school visit days when I go to see son#1, or when I post about spending a couple of hours with our friends in uniform at some horrible road in Kogi.

I met an acquittance I have not seen for years when I visited Abuja recently and he told me that he had not done any road trip longer than 50 kilometers from where he lives and work in the past ten years.

So, should you travel around Nigeria by road?

With all the stories of horrible roads, possible meeting with criminals, road blockages and some parts of the country appearing in the local and international news for all the wrong reasons. Should you really?
Short answer… Yes.
Just be realistic and take some basic steps.
Find out as much information about the route as you can. And I mean relevant information from actual drivers not some stories from people who heard it from their cousin’s wife’s brother in-law’s friend.
Route knowledge and actual conditions allow you to plan your journey properly including timing and stops. And more importantly, avoid traveling where is it clearly not safe to do so.
If driving, check your car is ok, sounds trite but I see lots of people by the roadside with one mechanical problem or another who start off by saying… and my car was perfectly all right last week. Yes, it was alright doing 10km to and fro the office but not 300km between fuel fill-ups. Check the common issues of drive belts, lights, battery seated properly and related checks.
If going with a transport company, do select one that has a reasonably large fleet and good customer care. How can you tell? Ask around. The reason being if you have a roadside issue, the company can vector another vehicle to your spot in very little time. If your transporter has two buses and you are going from Lagos to Abuja, mobilizing to help a stranded vehicle may take a much longer time than a transporter with 20 buses on that single route.
Do not travel at night. Yes, stop your journey when night falls. And you will have little to complain about. If you know the route, you should plan for alternative stop points.  Lots of reasons not to stop abound but it is so much better to stop and continue the next day.
Enjoy the journey, you can let the police, customs, FRSC and similar checkpoints spoil your mood, but why give them that power? Look around you and rediscover the country again.
Do you agree that it is safe to travel by road in Nigeria or disagree? Let me know in comments below
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2 Comments

  1. Godwin Omini

    I do not agree that it is safe to travel by road in Nigeria, but most of us have no option. I have traveled long distances in Nigeria by private and public vehicles. The biggest disincentives are the bad roads and armed robbery. However, for the sake of adventure, it is worth the while, travelling on Nigerian roads.

    • Inyang Effiong

      Godwin,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Have you had any personal experience with any of the listed problems while on the road?
      I agree all your points are valid but traveling by road is still not near as bad as it is painted.
      I continue to put in 3,000 km most months all across Nigeria
      See you on the road!

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