Published: March 22nd 2012March 22nd 2012
Nigerians to me are friendly, incredibly happy, they make me laugh constantly, they are very smart and then there are those that the media catch hold of, those that we in the UK have heard of but maybe dont understand and they let Nigeria down. one of those is Boko Haram (BH), they are a Nigerian Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram means “Western Education is Sin” and they cause much if not all of the grief that you see on the television about Nigeria. Bombings in Jos and Abuja, and kidnappings and killings. They attack Police, government, teachers and anyone who may get in their way.
There are over 160 Million people living in Nigeria, 50% are Muslim and they live mainly in the North and 40% are Christian with the other 10% being other or no religion, there has been an ongoing fight between the Muslim and the Christians for many years and there is no end in sight.
So understandably I was nervous about coming to Port Harcourt especially with the FCO stating
We advise against ALL travel to:
Borno State.Yobe State.Bayelsa State.Delta State.Rivers State (including Port Harcourt).Riverine areas of Akwa Ibom State.The Bakassi Peninsula.
However as the FCO really only looks on the side of the tourist and not the business traveller we hooked up with International SOS, and they said that travel was possible with stringent security measures
so after much deliberation Mike offered me the opportunity to withdraw from the trip, I did consider it – I would be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind however I knew I would have to go at some point. Port Harcourt is notoriously unstable, I realized that there may never be a ‘good time’ to go; for that reason I agreed to make the trip and the fact that a colleague in Nigeria confirmed that God was my Security Guard – how could I refuse! J
Victor and I went to the domestic flights airport – a very old building, in Africa the governments do not give benefits to their people so you see many people doing pointless jobs but for good purpose such as sweeping a dusty road that will always be dusty, a lady that sits on a stool to point which direction the loo is or having three people check your tickets and frisk you, we waited until our flight was called and we had our ticket checked two more times and then we were body searched again just before stepping on the plane!
On arrival in Port Harcourt we stepped off the plane and no one security checked us – we were straight into the taxi where I met the armed guard, I had been told by many people oh yes you will have at least Three armed guards but no there was just one which was fine – I can live with that J although he did fall asleep on the way to the hotel so I am not sure if he would be any use in an ambush…
Port Harcourt is green and beautiful, reminds me very much of Ghana with many multicoloured houses again seeming to be sponsored by local telephone companies as their logos adorn the buildings, mothers are sitting outside preparing food with children playing around their feet.
On entering the hotel we came through two security gates and had several security checks to ensure the vehicle did not have a bomb within it. Once happy we could proceed. I am in a clean and decent hotel and Mike will join me shortly so we can discuss the first aid exams for tomorrow.
before I go please be aware that it is World Water Day, many people in all of the African countries do not have access to clean water and cholera and typhoid is on the rise so their projects are amazingly important
Take care all