Traveling across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests in Nigeria. Addendum 3.

This post is one in a Series. A list of all of the posts in this Series can be accessed here.

You paid for your passport renewal on the Immigration Service website?

Yes, yes I did.

Why?? Why did you pay on the website?

In other words:

Don’t you know the website is just for show? It is not supposed to be used as an actual website. A domain was purchased and some webpages were uploaded. Money exchanged hands, as payment for the “technical expertise” involved. All so it could be said that the National Immigration Service of the nation of Nigeria, has a website.



Alright, alright. My bad. I’m very sorry. I didn’t know that. This is definitely a Nigerian thing I’m freshly becoming aware of. Government websites are just for show. Do not use them for anything. Most importantly do not make any payments on them. If you want to get anything done, go to the physical office. Okay thank you. Thank you very much.

I am walking by the Ikoyi branch of the Nigerian Passport Office. I hiss as some annoyance at a recent experience with the Passport Office resurges. I paid for a passport renewal on the website. That was earlier in the year, before the pandemic. It has been a considerable number of months since then. No new passport. No refund. Just a profuse slathering with thick layers of frustration whenever I visit the offices. Guess who is never again apportioning any significant regard to the technical expertise of a certain country’s government agencies, other things being equal.

We were just let through another roadblock. Soldiers decided to be lenient. There’s yet another one ahead. Soldier said we would not be allowed entry back in our initial direction if the roadblock ahead proved impervious to our progress-oriented intentions. And so right now we exist in the gap between two roadblocks.

The next roadblock is right next to a prison. I heard some prisoners were set free by #EndSars protesters. Police is trying to recapture them, something like that. I do not know if the story is true, but there’s a lot of commotion up ahead. Loud voices and oscillating bodies and belligerent gunshots up in the air. It actually does look like a scene involving escaped prisoners.

Walking beside me, is this guy. We began talking after the most recent roadblock. He works as a gardener somewhere on Banana Island. He’s headed back to his home in Obalende after a day’s work. We think about what to do, and how to approach the situation ahead.

The soldier back there said there’s no coming back. These soldiers up ahead look disconcertingly bellicose. What do we do?

We keep thinking. As we think and talk, we drift closer to the soldiers up ahead.

We are getting closer. We have a very unnerving scene up ahead. I can see about twenty bodies undergoing frog jumps.

What is happening? Why are they frog jumping?

More gunshots.

Oh God.

At some point we are close enough to be within the field of vision of one of the soldiers.


Alas. We have just trespassed the event horizon of this military black hole. Now our physical bodies are being choicelessly drawn towards the menacing beings that constitute this pernicious collapsed star.

Spacetime is now curved, and our physical bodies have no choice but to slide down this curvature and into the gaping chasm of military defilement that awaits us.

Ah! We are done for.

A soldier bellows:


Up and down. Up and down. We join the frog-jumping bodies which were alarming me from a distance a while back.

Now we are right in front of the soldiers. Gunshots keep ringing.


We try to explain. There are two people behind us- male and female. I think they are siblings. One of the soldiers has a bright green rubber pipe in his hand. I think its one of the types used to lay underground cables. He hits the male sibling across the torso with the pipe. I think his frog-jump was unsatisfactory.

We are asked some more questions. And some more.

At some point the soldiers decide to let us through.


We keep frog-jumping. We keep frog-jumping till they’re out of sight.

Obalende bus stop.

Image: Obalende.

This post is one in a Series. A list of all of the posts in this Series can be accessed here.

Government Policies vs Pregnant Women.

“Abdulmalik! Jo ba mi gbe iyawo mi si inu Marwa e! Ki o ma gbe lo si hospital!

Abdulmalik, please take my wife to the hospital in your commercial tricycle!”

The driver is expressing his overflowing agitation into his mobile phone.

He repeatedly slams his palms against the steering wheel in frustration.

“Oh my God! What sort of situation is this?”

He very visibly panics as he inches the car forward through the unyielding traffic. Our view through the windshield is illuminated with an agonisingly dense population of brake lights. The night is full of troubling red and the exasperated blaring of horns.

We are at Victoria Island. I am on the way to Ikoyi. I learnt about an Art Exhibition taking place somewhere on Norman Williams street about fifteen minutes earlier while scrolling through Eventbrite. Something about a commemoration of Women’s Day with a group of all female artists. It sounded interesting. Plus, I was free.

I’ve been experiencing issues with the Uber app since I changed my phone, so I hailed a Taxify driver.

We have been in the traffic for about thirty minutes now, but we have not made any respectable progress. My dissatisfaction with the situation keeps threatening to spill over, but whenever the car moves forward a few feet the annoyance diminishes a little. With every of these dishearteningly widely-spaced lunges, I experience a relieving influx of hope in vehicular transportation as a workable means of getting me to Ikoyi this night.

The driver is evidently annoyed at something other than the traffic. There seems to be an emergency of some sort.

“Please, what’s the problem? I can see you’re concerned about something.”

“It’s my wife!”

Now I’m wondering what’s happening to his wife.

“She is about to go into labour! And she is at home! We do not know how to get her to the hospital!”

“Ahhhh!” I was not expecting that at all.

A few weeks ago, the Lagos state government banned the operations of commercial motorcycles and tricycles (known as Keke Marwa). This has led to considerable transportation problems in the state, because those vehicles are a pivotal means of transportation for the vast majority of people. And there is currently no real replacement for them.

“I’m talking with my neighbour who owns a tricycle to take my wife to the hospital, but he is worried the police will disturb him on the way.”

“Hm, and the hospital doesn’t have like an option where they can arrange for one of their vehicles to transport a woman in labour to the hospital?” I ask.

I can tell he finds it somewhat absurd that I would think a hospital in Surulere (a town on the Lagos mainland) would have such services. However he is too disturbed by the situation with his wife and unborn child to express his bemusement.

He quickly shakes his head. “No they do not. Plus there is also a traffic jam at Surulere!” He bangs on the steering wheel some more.

“Ahhh!!” I cannot even begin to imagine the intensity of his anguish.

The infuriated horns keep blaring. The unsettling brake lights keep glaring at us in red. Our vehicle has still not gone anywhere.

I find myself beginning to do some arithmetic.

“If it took thirty minutes to get here (which is nowhere), how long is it going to take to get to my destination? And how much is Taxify going to bill me for the journey?”

I open up Google Maps on my phone. It says Norman Williams is about two miles away- an hour and thirty two minutes by foot.

“Alright”, I think to myself. “If I run for some of those two miles, the entire trip shouldn’t take me all that long.”

Vehicular transportation is not that workable after-all.

I turn to the driver. “Sir, it seems we’ll have to end the trip here.”

“Noo!! Ma lo si ita!! Don’t go out! It’s not safe! Don’t go anywhere please!”

He is not talking to me.

“Bi si ile! Jo, bi si ile! Give birth to the child at home please! Give birth to the baby at home!”


I don’t really know what to say. I have no experience with women in labour, so I do not really know what to think of the safety of delivering a baby at home. From our earlier conversation I know the driver has like two or three kids so he probably has some sort of emboldening experience with childbirth that is guiding his decision.

He ends the trip, and I hand him his money.

I head out of the passenger’s door.

“Thank you very much Sir! All the best with the baby situation! And congratulations in advance!”

“Haha thank you very much!” He very briefly turns his head towards me and smiles.

I head out into the traffic. It is drizzling. The air is a mixture of water vapour and the bitter exhaust of frustrated vehicles.

I slowly transition into a jogging pace. Time to get to Ikoyi.


Government Policies vs Pregnant Women.


Image Credits: Me! 🙂

View from Falomo Bridge, between Ikoyi and Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria. (The next morning)