Letter from Lagos - Ian (Cape Town)
No, you haven't won 25 billion dollars .... I'm here on business...
I arrived on Saturday nite, and went into downtown Lagos .
On sunday flew to Port Harcourt, and from there on by road to Aba ? about an hpur?s trip. And what an hour it was! The road is a two-lane-a-direction dual carriageway, but in places where the surface is too potholed, the cars on one side simply drive across the resevation, and start a new road in YOUR carriageway!!!!
Alos, due to a complete lack of road markings, there are normally three cars traveling abreast. Overtaking on the inside is a standard procedure. We almost collected a stationwagon at one stage, and only frantic braking and swerving avoided the collision. Lovely.
We are being driven about in a Nissan 4x4, whiuch is quite a useful vehcle for the roads here. Airco is essential, as the outside temp is pushing about 35-40, with humidity to match.
The roadside is littered with wrecks, and the last 10 miles or so into Aba are a mechanic?s dream ? hundreds of cars/trucks/graders/tractors etc parked up being fixed, cannibalized, etc. Apparently Aba is the place where all the old vehicles get sent to die/be fixed?
I went out for a walk this morning, and saw various great cars ? a LHD BMW 635, yours for peanuts. Shame about it having been concertinaed front and back!
I went to watch a soccer match at the Aba Sadium, 25 000 suporters to watch Enyimba play Kano Pillars. Even the State Governor and his entourage pitched up, in a convoy of brand new Peugeot 504s and Toyota Landcruisers.
I was standing pitchside with camera, and he made a point of walking up and saying hello, and having a chat.
(I was the only white bloke in the stadium!)
The game was pretty good, with Enyimba leading 3-0, due to a succession of goalkeeping errors, when disaster struck? the opposition took of their keeper, and the substitute?s first move was to bring down an opposition striker. PENALTY! But the opposition walked off at that stage, knowing that they would thus be losers by a ?walkover? and only suffer a 3-0 loss. Apparently this is standard procedure here ?
Camne back to Harcourt the next morning, saw 3 accidents on the way ? a truck off the road and wedged axle deep in the swamp; a car which had gone off the road and the driver through the windscreen, and a truck full of wood which had overturned.
Great stuff!
More later in the week.
Letter from Lagos - CM
For a moment there I thought you were General Obacha's wife's cousins daughters aunt and that you had a share of the loot.

Anyway, have fun and stay safe.
Letter from Lagos - robZilla
Not motoring related, but on the subject of the Nigerian "I have $10,000,000 that I need to get out of the country, please help me" email scam, have a read of this:


Tickled me..
Letter from Lagos - Marcos{P}
I get one of these scams sent to me at work about once a month and they get funnier.
The last one I got I could have walked away with 3 million pounds. Yeah right!
Letter from Lagos - J Bonington Jagworth
The amazing thing is that some people still get taken in. Believe it or not, a West Country accountant managed to lose several thousand pounds this way - it was his firm's money, too!

The Register story was very heartening, though. If only a similar fate could be arranged for all the other spammers...
Letter from Lagos - Mark (RLBS)
And now for Motoring..................
Letter from Lagos - Colin M
I did read somewhere reputable that there were several investigations going on and it would be useful to forward the African spam messages, including full headers to 419@spring39.demon.co.uk

Never heard anything back from that address, but hoped I was doing some good. Now get 2-3 of them a week.

Letter from Lagos - Hugo {P}
And now for Motoring..................

OK guys, now think about this one - if you need to get $10,000,000 in used notes out of Nigeria, quickly what car/truck/SUV would you use?

Bearing in mind, you need:

Security - for all that money involved - so all VWs are out of the question!
Reliability - Ooops, sorry Landrover (Disco)!
Ruggedness for all those roads - Lada anyone!
Understated so you don't get noticed - BMWs I don't notice those cutting me up anymore - ideal!

Any more suggestions??

Letter from Lagos - THe Growler
No contest: The US Army's "Humvee" multipurpose truck is probably the best known military vehicle world-wide due in part to its civil availability in the Hummer line of trucks. Its massive size and off-road characteristics are simply unmatched amongst military and non-military four wheeled vehicles. It's multipurpose, because the basic truck is available in numerous various configurations; everything from basic personal carrier to missile launcher. I would go for the latter, along with some well-armed company.

(I would have said Abrams M-1 tank but your spec said car/truck/SUV)

Ian: I though you had gone to the Philippines by mistake and not Nigeria, until you mentioned soccer, a frightful activity which, we are thankful for small mercies, is not pursued here. Mind you if I just edited in some references to the local basketball teams
I could use your post myself!
Letter from Lagos - Ian (Cape Town)
No contest: The US Army's "Humvee" multipurpose truck

Yep, I've seen a couple of them driving about. Also some
FreakLanders, Discos, but strangely no Defenders.
Toyota is big here, as is Skoda (not availbale in SA, so new to me). Merc is big, but I haven't seen anything like the amount of BMWs there are in SA - in fcat, I think all the BM's I've seen are E30 shape...
But I suppose a car with a 5 yr motorplan wouldn't really be viable for the dealers here!

Despite the decrepit state of the roads, I've seen a few "sports" cars as well - MB's, Jags, Porsches. Maybe it's just the neighbourhood I'm in, but I've probably seen more flash cars here in 5 days than in 10 years in Cape Town!
The fact is that I have yet to see a road roaund here on which you could drive at anything approaching 70mph, without the risk of hitting a great big pothole!
Obviously, if you have that much money, and you do hit a pothole, you can just buy another one ...
Motoring, football, and scam nonsense - Ian (Cape Town)
Just heard about a horrible incident. the local 'pro' football clubs are poor, so many of them travel by road as opposed to air* when they play away matches. Given the size of the place, this can take up to 2 days! (Kano, the side which I watched at the weekend, had travelled 16 hrs in a toyota bus to get to the venue). Unfortunately, there is also a lack of banks/credit card facilities about, so the teams have to carry all their expense money, hotel cash, player's pocket money etc in cash, which can be quite a lot...
Armed bandits roam the countryside, and know this, so there have been several armed robberies of football teams. Last week, a young talented player was shot dead by one of these gangs, in a robbery.
Because of these bandits, it is not uncommon to be stopped while driving by an inpromptu roadblock (a tree, and a pile of old tyres) manned by the local police/army/militia.
The excuse is they are their to keep an eye on travellers' safety, but it is effectively a money-making racket.
These poor guys stand about in the sun all day, wearing a variety of ragtag uniforms (i've never seen two dressed the same! It can be anything from full-dress uniform to cam with helmet at the same roadblock) and beat-up weapons and collect a bit of beer money from overloaded vehicles, foreigners, etc etc.
Not complying, or attempting to drive on, is not wise, as you are likely to receive a grenade=launcher round ...
The other thing is that vehicles are all 'engraved' with the registration number. This is on everything - windscreen wipers, door locks, bumpers, dashboards, mirrors - the full monty. Suppose it puts an end to chop-shops!

Oh, and back to the 419 scam..."Over the years, Brad Christensen has been deluged with every type of "URGENT" offer imaginable from Nigerian scam artists. Finally, he decided to fight back by conning the con men. With humor and imagination as his weapons, Christensen preyed on the scammers' abundant supply of greed and ignorance, taking our 419 friends for quite a ride, and always at their own expense. What follows are some of Christensen's more creative exchanges?" www.quatloos.com/brad_christensen.htm

*I've flown with Chanchangi Airlines in a deadbeat 727, maybe the clubs believe they are safer on the ground!!!

Value my car