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.

January 2 2017. Nelson Mandela International Airport, Santiago Island, Cape Verde. [1]

I’ve been chatting with this Swiss guy. We met at the airport in Lisbon, while boarding. He’s a cool guy.

We just landed in Cape Verde. We are at Santiago- the capital. For some strange reason a flight to Santiago (through Lisbon) from Berlin, was more expensive than a flight to Santiago, and then connecting to Sal. The budget was tight, and so the cheaper flight was chosen.

I am at the point of entry into Cape Verde. I am on the queue. Being a Nigerian citizen, I have an ECOWAS passport which grants me visa-free entry into a number of (mostly West African) countries. I learnt about this while embroiled in disorientation and confusion and anxiety, as I researched my post-Berlin plans in late December.

Rolph is on a different queue. I think he is on a visa-on-arrival queue. He is to pay like 50 euros or so.

About fifteen minutes have passed. Rolph has long been let through to the main hall for his connecting flight. He’s heading to a different island- Maio. He’s doing some volunteering on a boat there, something like that.

There seems to be an issue with my documents. The immigration officers have been passing my passport about. I’m not quite sure what is happening. I think it’s a Nigerian-citizen issue. They don’t trust my country of origin. They don’t trust my passport. They don’t trust me.

At the same time though, they’re not quite sure how to interprete the visas on my passport. I have a Germany visa which expired 2 days ago. I have a US visa which is still valid.

He has a valid US visa. He’s coming here fresh from Berlin. Surely he cannot be such a terrible human being?? Surely he cannot be a potential drug dealer?? Surely he cannot be a reprehensible criminal element who will make life even more difficult for our law enforcement?

Oh man, but he’s from Nigeria though. Should we let him in? Should we not?

I watch them deliberate. My passport is passed through the chain of command. It goes in and out of a number of offices. I keep waiting, wondering what’s going to happen.

At some point an immigration officer walks up to me and communicates that they would like to know how much I have in my bank account.

I hope I’m not hearing him correctly. I have just about a hundred dollars in my Bank of America account, and that’s my most fleshy account. I did some internship work in Berlin during the holidays, but I’m not getting paid until two weeks time. But even then, that is just a little over a hundred and fifty euros. I don’t imagine those are the sort of numbers that make immigration happy.

He’s telling me how much needs to be in the account for me to be let in.

“Mil euro”.

Mil what??

Mil freaking what??? Did he just say a million euros???

Wait wait, are Nigerian citizens so terrible that they need to have a million euros in the bank to be let in???

See, we’re going to have to figure something out. I have nowhere to go, you guys. I have absolutely nowhere to go- as a matter of fact, my flight ticket here was covered by the generous assistance of a number of people.

He clarifies. Mil euro is a thousand euros. “Mil” means a thousand in Portuguese.

Ohhhhhh. Ohhhhhh okay. Okay I get it now.

He takes my sigh of relief to mean that I have at least a thousand euros in my account. He begins to walk me to the ATM.

I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next. I feel heavy as we walk past the point of entry into the main hall.

The ATM is right up ahead.

One thousand euros.

I am in trouble. I am in so much trouble.

All of a sudden I see Rolph, seated in one of the chairs at arrivals.

Heyyyy Rolphhhh!!!! Wassuppppp!!!!

We exchange excited handshakes.

The immigration officer stares at me with surprise. I think he is trying to re-evaluate his assessment of me.

Hm, he has visas from the USA and Germany, and he is friends with a Swiss. I think this guy will have the required amount of money- maybe I shouldn’t have stressed him with this ATM trip.

We are at the ATM. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I have absolutely no plan. At this point there is zero sense in requesting my account balance, but I do it anyway.

The ATM is taking some time to respond. I think there is a network issue. I attempt the operation again.

At some point the immigration officer tells me not to worry.

Don’t worry, don’t worry- let’s head back to the other room- You’re good to go.

I am superlatively relieved. At the back of my mind I am thinking about the somewhat racist thinking that influenced his final decision (I’m a suspicious traveler until it seems to be the case that I’m friends with a white guy- really?), but right now I’ve just been granted entry into this country so I’m not really complaining.

We head back to the point of entry, and my passport gets stamped.

I head back in to keep chatting with Rolph. We talk about skiing and Swiss watches. “Switch watch” is a phrase I have heard an uncountable number of times in my life, but right now- talking with a Swiss about his first-hand experience with watchmaking factories in his country of origin, the phrase takes on a new noteworthiness- a much more personal and less distant significance.

We keep talking. He shows me skiing videos he recorded in the Alps. I am very excited to watch them. I went around in Berlin in December, making inquiries about snowboarding. Visited a number of shops, got information on snowboarding locations. Someone said good things about Oberwiesenthal.

Bucket list: Oberwiesenthal. Snowboarding.

[Part 1]

Image: Bedroom in the Berlin apartment.

This post is directly connected with a number of others. An index of these other posts can be accessed here.

Traveling across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests in Nigeria. Addendum 2.

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

I am at Falomo roundabout.

I had to get myself out of Victoria Island as quickly as possible, after becoming aware of the dense military presence there.

I am descending the bridge.

A guy with a machete is walking towards me. I feel relatively calm. The guys with machetes are generally friendly. Their enemy is law enforcement. And I’m not law enforcement. In fact, my very rough-looking hair is pretty convincing evidence that we’re on the same team.

The #EndSars protests exist in the first place, because law enforcement officers have been extremely cruel to guys with unexplained wealth and deviant hairstyles. Guys like me. Although I definitely have work to do on the unexplained wealth part.

Their enemy is law enforcement, and so the guys with machetes causing a ruckus in the streets, are relatively friendly.

Okay there was one guy who was not particularly friendly. But that was just one, in like the five hundred I’ve come across in the past few days.

He walked up to me with an astoundingly ludicrous allegation:

Hey you. You are one of the people funding the SARS. You are one of the people giving them money for operations. Oya open your bag, let me see what is inside.

I was very stunned. I was still thinking about how to respond when a little chaos erupted a few meters down the road.

Ah ah ah!! Something don dey happen for there- make we go catch that guy!!!

He turned around and began to sprint in the direction of the commotion.

I think he was high.

I am at Falomo roundabout.

The machete guy asks me a number of questions. Where I’m going. What I’m going to do, etc.

I mouth the usual stuff: Motorbike, sprockets, etc.

He asks for some ID. I hand him my National Identity Number (NIN) slip. He stares dubiously at it.

This is not valid. I need something else.

He corresponds with an older man standing nearby, who nods in acknowledgement.

This is not valid.

I feel some anger beginning to boil inside me.

What do you mean it is not valid?

Do you have any idea how long it took me to get this thing? I had to lie down outside the registration office at like 1am in a sleeping bag! In the cold! The officials attended to just like 20 people that day- I was fortunate to be one of them!

What do you mean it is not valid?

Eventually they let me go.

Commot your cap, commot your cap. Oya waka normal, waka normal.

He’s telling me to take off my beanie and walk normally. I’m not quite sure what “walk normally” means. How was I walking before?

I keep moving.

I am close to Obalende.

There are gunshots.

Ah! Wait wait, what is this I’m hearing? Ah! Yeh! These gunshots are so intense!

The guns ahead are firing at a more ferocious frequency than anything I have encountered in my journey so far.

I’m fretting. I’m fretting seriously.

Ah! What is this? What do I do now?

There is a guy walking towards me. I ask him for information on what’s happening up ahead.

Ah! You better don’t go there!! They will shoot you instantly!! Look at your hair!! You look exactly like the sort of people they plan to kill!!

My trepidation is upgraded to a new level.

Ahhhhhh!!!! I’m finished!!!! I’m done for, Yehhhh!!! What do I do now???

My chest is in turmoil. I keep inching forward.

The gunshots are getting louder.

Another guy is walking by.

Ahhh you better don’t go there, they will shoot you!! Look at how you’re dressed!!!

At this point I think I’ve run out of additional trepidation. Annoyance is what I’m experiencing now.

Please excuse me, leave me alone!! Do you know how many roadblocks I’ve gone past successfully?? Please don’t give me any rubbish this afternoon you this guy!!! Don’t annoy me at all!! I’m going somewhere!!

I keep moving.

There are a number of people sitting under a tree nearby. I join them, and begin to ask some questions in a bid to procure some understanding of the situation.

Hm, there are no dead bodies here. And I do not see anyone in this group with gunshot wounds. That means so far, none of those bullets have gotten to this place. Hm okay, I think I feel relatively safe with these people right now.

The soldiers are visible up ahead, firing their guns riotously into the air. I keep watching.

A guy walks by. He walks with an interesting bounce, and is dripping with swag. I think his shoes look really cool.

Unlike me, he does not stop to talk with the people seated under the tree. He just dusts off his pants, shakes his head vigorously, and heads straight for the soldiers. 

I am completely astonished.

Ah! What kind of guy is this one?? Can he not hear these very demoralizing gunshots?? Ahhh!!!

He gets smaller and smaller as he bounces towards the soldiers on the horizon.

I don’t understand what is happening. I don’t understand at all.

The guy with the swag and cool shoes is no longer visible. It’s difficult to see what’s going on. Everyone at the roadblock up ahead looks so tiny.

I keep watching.

At some point, a much older man seated under the tree calls out to me. He has probably noticed the concentrated concern on my face.

There is no problem, you just go. They are not really shooting anybody. People have been going past the roadblock successfully, there is no issue.

I think I take a deep breath. His words infuse me with some calming confidence.

I begin to prepare myself.

Image: The bridge linking Victoria Island to Ikoyi via Falomo. On a day when there were actually civilian vehicles on the road.

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

Traveling Across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests. Addendum 1.

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

I am at Victoria Island.

I just walked past a number of soldiers. One of them gave me a thumbs up as I walked by, I’m not quite sure why.

I keep walking. There are more soldiers ahead.

Now, I am aware that the fact one of the soldiers gave me an unexplained thumbs up does not mean the other soldiers are going to be as nice. The fact they are all wearing the same uniform does not mean they think alike. They might not even like each other— much less a third-party.

I keep walking.

Hey! You! Where you dey go!!??

I think I wince a little at the suddenness of the bellow. I turn around to figure out where it’s coming from.

It’s a soldier. It’s a soldier standing in the grass.

I knew it. I knew that thumbs up was too good to be true. Now I’m being welcomed back into unwelcoming reality.

He wants to know where I’m going. I mouth something about my motorbike. Sprockets are worn, the bike is important for transportation, etc etc. I reach into my bag to show him the worn sprockets. At some point he nods and lets me go.

I keep walking.

I am walking down Akin Adesola street. I recently walked by a restaurant that reminded me of an aborted meeting with a business partner: From what I heard, he was a gambling prodigy- exceptional at making bets on soccer games. I provided some capital to fund his gambling. I employed some of my data science skills to analyze his gambling history and proffer suggestions aimed to improve his betting strategy. Ah, I had such exciting visions for what we could accomplish together.

It’s been a year since then. I have not received any profits. There is no tangible news on the whereabouts of the capital. In fact he even still obtained some more money from me with a web of flagrant shameless lies.

Ah, this life. I shouldn’t be stressing myself right now. I shouldn’t be walking about during these violent protests. Right now I’m supposed to be chilling and swimming in a resplendent pool of gambling profits, worrying about what to do with all of the excess funds available to me.

Nonsense guy.

I had to delete his contact details from my mobile phone. Just coming across his name while scrolling through my contacts, always spoilt my mood.

I keep walking.

There is this very imposing, impressively white building by the right side of the road. I think it’s the headquarters of some oil company. “Nestoil“, or something like that.

I feel like the building grew out of nowhere. A while ago, I spent about a month living in a nearby hotel here on Victoria Island. I was on vacation- I needed some time to recover after some immensely traumatic experiences I suffered a number of months prior. I walked along this road a number of times. I never saw this building.


The building is so white though- wow. Hm, I think I need to walk by the front gate to get some inspiration this afternoon.


It’s considerably hilarious really, how an arbitrary sequence of Latin characters can all of a sudden, come to be imbued with meaning and prestigious significance.

“Nestoil” to me, is usually just supposed to be a random concatenation of alphabets. Maybe it would make me think about “Nest” and “Oil”, and think about “A nest of oil”, as a metaphor and possibly wonder if it’s a very good one.

Right now however, looking at this awe-inspiring, dazzlingly white building with “Nestoil” written on it, immediately makes me give the word substantial regard.

There is a pickup truck approaching. There are arms waving wildly outside the window, and pointing. The arms are clothed in military uniforms.

Wait, wait wait. I think these arms are pointing at me.

The truck gets closer. Some heads and faces are now visible.


One of the soldiers is asking me what my business is, in the area. It is a rhetorical question. He is telling me to get the fuck out, or else.

All of a sudden I realize I am the only non-military human being on this road, as far as the eye can see.

Jesus Christ I’m in trouble. I am in trouble, Jesus. I need to get out of here. I need to get out of here, like right now. Nestoil and their interesting building and their inspiration can wait till another day. I need to get the hell out of this place, Jesus Christ.

I turn around and begin to walk briskly towards Falomo.

I am walking by a roadblock. It is being manned by a soldier. He is doing something on his phone. He doesn’t seem to be aware of me as I pass by.

Hm, will this one be friendly? Or will he be hostile? Should I greet him Good Afternoon? Should I —-


I keep moving.

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

Traveling across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests in Nigeria. Part 5.

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

I am at the Circle Mall at Jakande bus stop.

(I will later wonder why it is called “Circle Mall”, after spending a number of minutes on Google trying to figure out the name. There is nothing circular about the mall.)

People are scampering about. They are scampering about with fresh loot from neighbouring shopping malls and supermarkets.

There are people with mountains of tissue paper on their heads. Bottles of wine. Foodstuff. All sorts of things.

Every once in a while I come across someone with a big transparent bag of the smooth paper that’s inserted into POS machines for the generation of receipts. I didn’t know the paper was all that valuable.

People are scampering about with loot.

There are a number of soldiers up ahead. They are standing by a pickup truck, trying to infuse the corporeal chaos with some sort of order. There has been an immense public outcry about forceful military intervention in the recent protests, and so these soldiers are attempting to get things under control, verbally.

It is not working.

There are crowds on both sides of the road. They are watching furtively, like mice hankering for some delectable cheese that’s being guarded by cats in military uniform.

Looting looting everywhere. I need to get somewhere please.

I find my way through the crowd.

I just hope some weird soldier guy doesn’t mistake me for a looter and decide to send a stray bullet my way.

I am at the Lekki toll gate.

I was here a few days ago.

I needed to get to the bank to make some modifications to my account details. All of branches in the state that I came across that day, had a canopy with about sixty people waiting to get into the bank and be attended to. Nigerian banks generally require you to visit the bank physically, relatively frequently. And the queues, God. The queues.

The branch with the fewest number of people waiting outside was right next to the national headquarters. I had to get there that day.

I was here a few days ago.

The toll gate was locked down. The entire expressway was empty. I was astonished at the coordination of the protesters. I wondered who spearheaded their activities. I was very impressed. I felt like locking down the toll gate would coerce the government into taking them seriously and paying attention to their complaints.

I recorded a few videos. Shared on social media.

And then I kept hurrying towards the bank. I had been on the road all day. It was almost 3pm. The bank would close soon. No way I was going to travel all the way here, and still not have stuff get done, no freaking way.

After I was done at the bank, I felt more relaxed. I sat down in the grass to partake in the protest experience.

I opened up my phone to chat up the very interesting looking Lithuanian woman I recently met on Facebook. She was studying to be a nurse. I sent her a video of the protest, asked how she was doing, what she was doing, and when she would be available for a video call. I need a girlfriend in my life.

That evening I perceived two distinct brands of marijuana. The first made me think of hipsters and music festivals in San Francisco. It smelt like relatively high quality weed. The ones in San Francisco still smelt somewhat more convincing, but at least this was close.

The second brand made me think of muddy, chaotic Nigerian bus parks and potentially violent thugs. Whenever I perceive that smell, I ask myself what in the name of God the concerned people are smoking.

They call it weed.

This thing does not smell like weed.

I honestly do not know what this one is, please keep your second-hand smoke to yourself and don’t cause any nonsensical problems for me abeg.

I looked at the people smoking the more offensive weed. They fit the profile.

Yesterday I was hiding from stray bullets behind a shipping container. I was in front of a gas depot, engaging in some interesting conversation with the security guards of the depot.

I learnt there had been a shooting at the Lekki toll gate.

Wait what? Shooting at Lekki? It’s a lie.

I was there a few days ago. Sitting in the grass. Feeling very safe. Feeling like the only protesters who were in danger were the ones at Ikorodu, or Oshodi. What do you mean there was a shooting at the Lekki toll gate?

I looked it up online.

There had indeed been shootings. And killings. I saw a before and after picture.

Before: Two people- one male, one female. Late teens or early twenties. Dancing. Smiling. Generally feeling cool about participating in the protest.

After: This one is taken at night. There are three people. On the floor. Evidently dead. Two of them are wearing similar clothes to the two people in the “Before” picture.

Wait no, not similar clothes. The same clothes. These are the same two people in the “Before” picture- Wait, what?


They look different, in the way the indignity of death generally makes bodies look different. Their limbs are positioned unnaturally relative to the rest of their bodies. They have the immobility of inanimate objects. Even their clothes look paler.

I am at the Lekki toll gate.

I think I just walked past the spot on the road where those bodies lay two days ago.

The area is deserted.

The expressway is quiet and hollow and empty in the wake of the recent tragedy.

I keep walking.

I am walking by the Oriental Hotel at Victoria Island.

I thought someone said the protesters burnt down the place. It looks relatively untouched to me. I also wonder how possible it is to burn down a group of such large and imposing buildings.

Some soldiers are seated in front of the hotel. Guns in hand. Probably to prevent the rumours about the hotel being burnt down, from becoming reality.

I walk by briskly.

These are the people who are killing everyone.

I keep walking.

We go still come burn down the hotel!! All you corrupt people!! Na money all of una dey collect!! We go come burn down Oriental!!

Two guys are at the other side of the road, farther from the hotel than I am. I wonder why they are provoking soldiers with guns, who as very recent history has evidenced, are capable of indiscriminate killing with bewildering impunity.

We go come burn everything down!!!

They keep yelling at the soldiers.

What is the problem with these guys? Do these ones want to be alive at all? Don’t these ones know about the people who were killed like almost right here, two days ago? Ah ah??!! Are these guys okay at all?

I keep walking briskly. I have somewhere I need to get to. These ones should not put me in trouble with their brimming indignation.

There are gunshots. Apparently the soldiers have decided to respond.



The gunshots ring.

I have spent the past day and half on the road. I have successfully traversed uncountable roadblocks. I have heard numerous gunshots. I have encountered one very legit dead body in extremely close proximity. I have heard someone else being killed live.

I am still alive. My limbs are complete. I am without injuries, save for a blister on my right foot from all the walking. Well that and just general pain all over my body.

I know of one strategy that has kept me safe so far: If you hear gunshots, duck and run for cover. Duck, and run for fucking cover until the gunshots stop.



My body begins to move automatically. I am a crouching position and my legs are moving quickly. My eyes are scanning for a barrier. I need cover. I need fucking cover.

The gunshots stop.

The tension begins to calm down.

Why this one dey run??!! Why you dey run??!!

The idiotic beings who provoked the soldiers, for some reason, are deriding me for breaking into a run.

My fury at them overflows.





Idiots. Fools. Repugnant brick-brains. Idiotic beings.

I shouldn’t run. I should stand there and count the gunshots. Because I’m Luke Cage. Because I’m bulletproof.

Abhorrent human beings.

One of them begins to smile. I think he is smiling at the Luke Cage reference. I don’t care. I am yelling at the very top of my voice. I keep hurling insults at him from my side of the road.

I am at Adetokunbo Ademola street.

I need to withdraw some money.

I need to get to the bank.

There should be one just around the corner.

I keep walking.

Image: Obalende. A different day.

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

Traveling across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests in Nigeria. Part 4.

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

Who want SARS leg?

There is a group of people walking along the abandoned expressway.

About twenty minutes ago I heard an unfortunate SARS official was killed a few kilometres down the road.

I am pretty tired. I’ve been walking all day. I’ve walked about 24 kilometers (15 miles) so far. The cuffs of my ankle socks are beginning to rub hard against my insteps. I think I have a blister on my right foot.

I need to charge my phone.

I am at a fuel station, seated under a patio umbrella right next to the low metal gate at the entrance. The fluorescent bulbs under the umbrella are on.

I’m surprised there’s electricity here, especially given the general anarchy engendered by the protests. I think there are some solar panels somewhere. And a battery. I wonder why whoever manages this place would leave their electricity on, even while they weren’t operational.

I don’t know. Right now though, this means there is an opportunity to charge my phone. I’ve got a cable. I just need an adaptor.

Who want SARS leg?

There is a group of people walking along the abandoned expressway.

I turn in their direction. The guy with the “Who want SARS leg” chant has something in his right hand. I’m not quite sure what it is.

I think it’s a leg. I think it is a charred, severed human leg.

Oh now I think I see some toes.

Who want SARS leg?

It’s the leg of the SARS official who was killed. That’s true, I heard he was also dismembered.

Who want SARS leg?

I’m tired. I need to charge my phone. I’m too tired to contemplate the ethical connotation of these killings.

I am at Abraham Adesanya Roundabout.

It has taken me about a day and half to cover a distance that would usually take a vehicle about an hour on a good day.

I am sick of walking. I need a bus. This place looks busier than where I’m coming from. At least some buses should be operational here.

I am in a bus.

I finally got one.

We are moving.

Oya oya oya!!!!! Owo e da??!! Ani owo e da??!!

We are at a roadblock. One of the numerous arbitrary roadblocks which have been set up by rambunctious guys in the wake of the general chaos.

Each roadblock is really just a group of random people who have set up some obstructions across the road, and demand financial homage from motorists on the authority of their ad-hoc obstructions.

It’s considerably annoying because these people aren’t doing any actual work. They just throw some tyres and sticks with nails across the road, and demand money from the hapless motorists.

But then even the relatively legitimate roadblocks by verified law enforcement agents are equally arbitrary- both in their placement and in their financial implications, so it is difficult to be respectably annoyed at these guys.

Owo e da??!! Ani owo e da??!!

The rambunctious guys are banging against the body of the bus with their hands and with sticks, demanding money from the driver.

Ah ahn!! Emi ti fun yin ni owo now??!!!!

He says he had already paid them at a previous meeting.

The roadblock guy’s face relaxes. His hostile, confrontational countenance is assuaged as he appears to experience some recognition.

Ah, Omo igboro. Mo da oju e mo. Te ina lo.

Ah, Son of the streets. I recognise you. Fire on.

The driver accelerates, feeling victorious.

E wo, ko n se agbara!

You see, it’s not by might!

He is revelling in his triumph.

I myself am experiencing a little borrowed sip of his victory.

We are moving. We are moving closer to my destination.

Ah, this life is full of issues.

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

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

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

A guy just zoomed by on a motorbike. He was sitting on a new television. The TV bounced up and down on the seat of the bike as he navigated his way from the Lekki-Epe expressway, into a nearby street.

I think it was a a fifty-five inch flat screen television. It looked so wide.

Another guy walks by, topless, with a trolley full of baby clothes and a pile of other baby things.

“Iyawo mi loyun o!! Iyawo mi loyun o!!”

His wife is pregnant.

I see her nearby. She is indeed pregnant. She looks very happy. There is a boy walking alongside her. I think he is her son. He is practically bouncing with excitement about the baby things.

I am not quite sure how to feel about what is going on.

These people are looting a shopping mall up the road. The ongoing #EndSars protests have set the stage for general, all-encompassing anarchy in Lagos. People are being gunned down indiscriminately, police stations are being burnt, transportation has been shut down, and now innocent shopping malls are being looted by protesters.

I mean, I understand how shutting down transportation can coerce the government to pay effectual attention to pleas for societal reform, but I honestly fail to see how vandalizing, breaking into, and looting a beautiful shopping mall which was built by hardworking people is a part of any well-meaning protest.

The road is crowded with people on their way back from the currently-being-vandalized mall. With food and electronics and all sorts of stuff. It’s like Santa Claus’ plane crashed nearby and everyone is getting in on the mountain of Christmas presents in the rubble.

People line the side of the streets, watching. Some with fear, not sure how safe it is to join in the looting. There were gunshots at the mall about two hours ago.

Others watch with envy, wishing they had a motorbike with which they could quickly cart away a 55″ TV for themselves.

I am not quite sure how to feel about what is going on.

I really like that mall. The black Skechers boots I’m currently wearing, I bought from the branch at Ikeja. The pink skinny jeans I have on too. And a good number of my other general clothing items.

It is saddening and scary watching these people thoughtlessly and rapaciously eviscerate the evidence of people’s sweat and hardwork, without even a smidge of nagging compunction.

It is very scary.

Life is difficult. In spite of these difficulties, people strive to build stuff. If, in spite of the plethora of diverse difficulties that abound in this plane of existence, I strive to build something physical in this place, is it not possible that some day, in the course of some arbitrary protest, some random beings will vandalize and completely ruin the physical indication of all of my sweat and suffering?

This is scary. This is very scary.

One general trend, is that these people are vandalizing and looting buildings which appear to represent a level of wellbeing and prestige that they feel is inaccessible to them.

It’s actually pretty hilarious because social standing is very relative. I wonder what’ll happen if the guy with the pregnant wife, or the guy with the stolen 55″ TV, gets home to realize his living space has been burgled by the elements in the community who see him as a rich man.

Because you know, there are protests and everywhere is fucked up and everybody is stealing from everybody else.

I wonder what’ll happen. I think it’ll be freaking hilarious. Get back to the house with a stolen 55″ TV to realize your entire living room has been scraped clean. No sofa. No mobile phones. No sound system. Even the food in the kitchen and in the store has been carted away. Hahahaha.

All for the want of a stolen 55″ TV. It would be so difficult to restrain my laughter at such a person hahaha. As long as it was safe to do so, I would laugh very very loudly at them and feel good about it.

And then there are the usual excuses. Nigeria is bad. There is no money. There are problems everywhere. If I’m to be honest, I’m pretty sick of that pretextual refrain. That is the trivializing excuse for like every fucking soieital malaise in this place.

Someone steals, the economy is bad.

Someone is an inveterate fraudster tainting the international impression of a country and making life difficult for legitimate individuals who happen to share said country of origin– Things are difficult, there is no money.

Someone kills- We all know how Nigeria is.

I’m pretty sick of it. Of course there is some credence to the position that hardship generally compels people to engage in activities they otherwise would never seriously consider, but it’s definitely being overplayed. Like deeffinitely.

In fact, a festering deleterious thought attractor state like “Everything is bad and everyone does bad stuff therefore doing bad stuff is not that bad because its prevalent, even normal and you’d actually be missing out if you don’t”, could even inspire engagement in people who normally would not have involved themselves. Like some reverse causality stuff: People are more likely to do these things because society has normalized it.


Everything is bad.

I need to get to Ikeja.

Transportation costs are ridiculous today, because the roads are shut down.

I have run out of cash in hand.

I need to get to Ikeja.

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

Traveling across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests in Nigeria. Part 2.

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

I am at a cooking gas depot.

The name of the outlet is “Second Coming Cooking Gas”.

Second coming, as in the second coming of Jesus Christ the son of the one true God according to the Christian bible.

Second coming, as in the prophesied event where said son of God slowly descends with his physical body into the earth’s atmosphere from outer space (where there is no oxygen required for the respiration of said physical body)- descending very gracefully, against the usual expectations consequent of gravitational acceleration- either according to Newtonian mechanics or General Relativity.

Like, who the fuck is Newton. Who the hell is Einstein. We’re talking about Jesus Christ here. Einstein and Newton combined and accelerated towards the speed of light so their total mass exponentially proliferates without bound, are nothing next to the almighty son of the Christian God, what are you talking about.

The first time I saw the “Second Coming Cooking Gas” depot as I was journeying along the expressway in a public transport bus, I promised myself I was never going to buy cooking gas from there.

Second Coming. Of all the problems on ground, it’s some weird strange clairvoyant anticipation these ones are trying to foster. Please go sit down somewhere. These ones don’t even know what is going on.

There are gunshots up ahead. People are shooting at the Shoprite Mall at Sangotedo.


So, I know I said I never wanted to have anything to do with these Second Coming guys. Right now however, I think we all need to put aside our religious differences and emphasize our mutual humanity and shared susceptibility to gunshot wounds.

The walls of the compound are about eight feet tall. The gate is highly formidable.

Ah, if I am inside this compound there is no bullet that can kill me. Forget second coming, forget the severely unrealistic defiance of physical laws as we know them. Let’s agree to disagree on Jesus Christ and his second coming. Forget all of those ones. Me, I have confidence in these walls and this gate to protect me from the cold-hearted bullets tearing through the air. Just let me in please.

Ah! Hand dey scratch me. Ah, e be like say make me sef I go carry my gun from village, make me sef I show these people, ah!

It is the “Second Coming” security guard. I honestly do not know what kind of human being this guy is. He keeps talking about some hypothetical gun that he has in his village. He keeps wishing aloud that he had the gun here, so he could respond in kind to the people shooting ahead.

Yet in spite of all of his chatter, whenever the gunshots get very thunderous, he immediately disappears into the building and locks the gate. Whenever the gunshots subside he reemerges and keeps wishing for his fictitious gun. I honestly do not know what kind of a human being this one is. I honestly do not know.

I am seated behind a very sturdy shipping container, and so I feel safe enough to spare a few hearty laughs at the guy. There is a second guy around- I think he is also a security guard. We both share laughs at Mister I-Wish-My-Gun-In-The-Village-Was-Here.

The guns keep firing.

Part 2.

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

Traveling across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests in Nigeria. Part 1.


This guy is dead.

There is a dead body lying in the middle of the expressway. I was on my phone, making some displeased tweets about the frustratingly unreliable state of telecommunications network signals in the general country.

The expressway is deserted, so it was alright letting my phone have most of my attention. I did not expect to run into anything or anyone.

I almost kicked the body.

He is barefoot, wearing dull grey trousers and a faded dark green shirt. His upper body is buried under a heap of vehicle tyres. His head is either bowed down or his shirt has been pulled over the back of his head. Either way, his face is not visible.

His body parts have begun to swell grotesquely. I wonder how a body could have begun to swell after just a few hours of being out in the sun.

A guy is walking by. We begin talking about the body. I thought the dead guy was shot earlier in the morning. I learn the body has been in the middle of the expressway for the past two days.

Oh. Oh, now the swelling makes sense. Now it makes sense.

We keep talking. I attempt to ask some proactive questions. How do you think this unrest can be resolved, etc. I don’t really get anything definitive from him.

In the current situation, it’s not very difficult to become aware that a problem exists. Figuring out ways to expel the problem, is where the real issue is at.

I mean, I myself do not have anything very tangible to offer. If only there was a way to amicable resolve every possible kind of human disagreement. Then wars and any other sorts of violent conflict would just not exist.

Deserted Expressway. Burning Tyres.

I keep walking. There are a number of issues I need to handle. Things need to be put in place with regard to the fledgling technology company I’ve been building. Corporate email subscriptions are about to run out. Squarespace plan needs to be upgraded. Everything is generally just annoying. My motorbike has been languishing at the mechanic’s place for a while. I need to replace some parts.

Mechanic was avoiding my gaze a few days ago when I walked by his shop. I had to turn back, walk up to him and engage him in some conversation, to reaffirm my existence.

The owner of this bike still exists. It is not to be sold to anybody.

He had probably already begun receiving financial offers for my bike.

Ah, I need to get some stuff done. I ordered that bike all the way from the capital- there’s probably nothing like it in this half of the country- nothing must happen to that bike. Nothing must happen to that freaking bike.

I am at one of the many towns along the Lekki-Epe expressway. There are gunshots. We all climb a nearby fence and scamper to safety.

We are in a roadside marketplace. It is entirely abandoned. Stalls full of tomatoes and pepper and onions and other foodstuff. Completely abandoned.

Abandoned Marketplace.

There are a number of women here in this ad-hoc hideout.

Oga, where you dey go?

Ikeja, I dey go Ikeja.

They begin to laugh and generally express immense amusement. My mentioned destination is generally perceived to be an impossible-to-reach location given the current unrest.

I’m not very bothered. I am already on the way. Some things have to get done. We’ll see how things turn out.

We keep hiding. Guns keep firing at the expressway.

There are some loud voices closer to the road. One of the women ventures out to see what is going on.

She suddenly begins to wail.

John!! John ehhh! Dem don kill John!!! Wetin him dey find for there??? Wetin John dey find for there??!!

Apparently a John was killed in the shooting. I think he was trying to disarm the unconscionable policeman who was shooting at the protesters.

The apprehension in the air is now joined by a tang of bitter grief. And fear. And a stark awareness of mortality.

Part 1.

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

A Figmental Passport, and an Expense Paid Microsoft Conference.

Microsoft has just notified me.

I have been approved to attend their AI For Earth conference at the headquarters in Redmond, Washington USA.

Apparently theyre interested in some of the work Im doing with Artificial Intelligence and Endangered Languages.

They have offered to cover the costs of my flight ticket and hotel accommodation.

Great. This is great news. I have been entertaining thoughts involving a motorbike road trip across the USA. I think this opportunity will prove highly amenable to the effectuation of that intention.

I dont even know how to ride a motorbike. Not yet. All of those variables will fall into place dont worry. Let things come together first.


Ah, I need a new passport. This one is expired.


National Immigration Service Website.

32 page passport? 64 page passport?

64. Lets get the 64 this time.

Its time to pay the processing fee.

There are a number of different financial service providers to make use of:

First one.

Hm, theres a strange error.

Lets try again.

The same error.


Second provider.

No wonder there are so many ways of paying the processing fee. Because their failure rates are so high.


Error again.

Oh my God.

But I believe this people like money a lot. If that is the case, then why is making a payment so difficult on their website?


Third provider.

I keep bumbling about until the money is paid.


Hm. This interview date is too far away. I havent even booked a date for the US visa interview. This is just the passport. And the wait time for US visa interviews have been so long recently. I was invited for another all expense paid conference in Virginia a number of months ago. The wait time for the US visa interview was too long to make an attendance possible.

The discomfiting wait times are a consequence of some modifications the Trump administration recently made to the visa renewal process. Trump to me, is usually just this person who is in the news every once in a while. I dont really watch the news, so I dont see his face too frequently. Maybe when Im in a restaurant or at a cafe. This is the first time any of his actions are having an actual effect on my life.

The amount of people who seem to viscerally detest him, makes me wonder how he became president in the first place. But what do I know about US politics.

I think Ill need to visit the Immigration Service office in a few days. To see if the passport procurement process can be expedited.


Nigerian Immigration Service Office, Alausa Ikeja.

I just walked in through the gate. I am already feeling somewhat ecstatic. I can taste my passport already. That Microsoft money has to be spent. I wonder what the hotel room is going to look like.

I am talking with someone at the Helpdesk. She directs me to an office upstairs.

I head up the stairs, to the mentioned office.


I have been in this office for about three minutes. I think I am invisible. I have to be. These people cannot see me. That has to be why they are still engrossed in conversation, entirely oblivious my presence. It is like Im not even here.

I am going to have to interrupt their conversation. If I keep waiting for these guys to acknowledge my existence Ill be here till next tomorrow.

Excuse me Sir.

No response.

Oh God. I am going to be here for a very long time.

Eventually an officer pays attention.

Theres a woman beside me. I was here before her, but she snuck around me to get closer to the officials in the room. Maybe she was here before. I dont know. Or maybe shes just jumping the queue.

I dont understand these Nigerian people. Queues and general chronological order mean absolutely nothing to them. If the world used a Nigerian number system, 99 would be the first number. Followed by 32. Number 1 would be in like position 1004.

I do not understand these people.


The officers face is alight with excitement. I did not know this initially very stern looking officer was capable being this excited.

Dubai! Germany! USA! Kenya! This woman! You have travelled to all these countries!! Ahhh! You are enjoying o!! What work do you do?

I am a housewife. My husband is the one who makes the travel happen.

Ahhhhh!!! Your husband is the one doing all this???

Ahhhhhh!!!! That your husband deserves be worshipped!! Yehh!!!

His face is aglow, as he rubs his palms against each other, like a person in supplication.

I am only mildly excited by his theatrics.

Where is my passport please. Microsoft is waiting for me.


He is looking through my application form.

Where is your NIMC?

My what?

Your NIMC Your NIMC!! There is no NIMC!

Ah. Oh you mean the NIN! The National Identification Number? Well on the website there was no red asterisk on the NIN field. And so I took that to mean the field was optional.

Apparently whether or not there is a red asterisk on some obscure webpage is absolutely none of his business.

You need your NIMC!! Without the NIMC you cannot submit the form!!

The last time I tried getting the NIN was like last year. I got to the NIMC office in the afternoon. The queue there was severely dispiriting. I was told that even if you get to the office at 5am, youll meet about a hundred and ten people already on the queue.

That is the number this officer  says I need to obtain, for my passport to be processed.

Oh God.

Oh Jeremiah.

Oh Jabez.

I am in trouble. I am in serious trouble.


NIS Office. Second Visit.

I have obtained the NIN.

I got the office at 12am. I still met some people already on the queue.  It was an annoying morning. I lay outside the office in a sleeping bag my mother gave me. I initially did not feel like I needed the sleeping bag- I didnt even want to take it from her. But lying out there in the cold, I was thankful I had it.

I assuaged my discomfort by making displeased tweets and watching Youtube videos of Goth music and Jeff Bezos.

I am back at the office of Mister Your-Husband-Needs-To-Be-Worshipped.

I am directed to another office.

And another.

And another.

And another.

I feel like a six foot plus tennis ball with arms and legs.

What sort of existence is this.


I am in yet another office.

A young lady is trying to sort out an issue.

Ahhhhh this one is not possible o! You will have to go back to Abuja to rectify this issue o!!  Ahhhh!!

Apparently she is faced with a very formidable problem. She has to travel to the countrys capital to get it resolved. I feel bad for her.

Another official walks by. She quickly runs up to him. They head outside, and I think she whispers some things in his ear.

All of a sudden, this new official re-enters the room with a newfound sense of purpose and clarity.

Officer, put her documents in the corner. We will handle it, dont worry.

I am entirely stupefied. Are we not talking about the severely formidable obstacle of a few minutes ago??

I dont understand. How did the incontrovertibly impossible suddenly become a light breeze???

What in the name of God did this lady whisper in this guys ear????

Jesus Christ!!

I have been here since morning. Bouncing about like a bouncing baby boy. Look at how quickly this lady got her problem solved! Ahh!!!

What in the name of Obadiah is going on???

Can someone please let me in on this secret???


Apparently there is a Nigerian Open Sesameyou can whisper in the ear of an Immigration Officer, which will automatically render the impossible possible.

Technical difficulties. Organisational bureaucracy. The invariance of the speed of light relative to the reference frame of an arbitrary observer. All of these phenomena completely disappear once you utter these magic words.

Ah!! There is a lot I do not know in  life. There is a lot I do not know.

I have a lot to learn, Jesus. I have a lot to learn.


Microsoft has just notified me.

The conference has been converted to an online conference due to the pandemic.

Oh God.

There goes my motorbike road trip across the USA. East coast to West coast.

There goes the expense-paid flight tickets.

There goes the hotel room.

Oh Solomon.

I have still not been able to extricate my new passport from the NIS. Even getting a US visa a few years ago, was not this difficult. How can getting a new Nigerian passport be more frustrating  than getting a US visa? I dont understand.

I do not understand at all.