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Kaduna to Abuja

Filed under: ghana,travel,VSO — kevin @ 20:24

Got up well before the crack of and took an okada to Kawo motor park. I’d expected other people to be leaving early but I was the first person in the car (at six) and we didn’t leave until 6:30.

They insisted on squeezing four people into the middle row, normal on most routes but not on the Abuja-Kaduna run. I argued but the other passengers all meekly accepted that they “always” have four passengers in the middle, a blatant lie.

A couple of hours later I arrived at Jabi motor park. The road into Abuja was being dug up so I had to walk up the road a bit to get any transport. The bus touts insisted that there are no buses going to area 10 but then they tend to lie a lot too. No buses appeared, so maybe the routes have changed. Instead I entered a shared taxi.

As we reached the ring road the passenger in the back with me said he wanted to drop but the driver refused. The driver then started asking what was inside the back passengers bag (in the boot), the reply was “dollars”. A weird story followed, about an employer he’d worked for for three (later eight) years who’d sent him with the money.

After a bit more questioning from the driver and the front passenger it was revealed that the bag contained one million dollars and that the back passenger had stolen it from his employer. It seems the employer was involved in oil bunkering (illegal smuggling and theft of oil). The back passenger then begged not to be taken to the police.

At this point the driver and front passenger started negotiating over how much the back passenger should “settle” us to not take him to the police. His first offer was $10,000 but they preferred that he keep half the money and we split the rest between us.

This all seemed highly dubious. Even if the story was true I wanted nothing to do with the stolen money and I suspected it was a trick to get me in a position where they could extort money from me. I told them to drop me where we were and then had to get another taxi to Radio House.

Later in the day I took my passport and paperwork to the Ghanaian High Commission. It seemed to me that all the staff there are recruited on the basis of sullenness. I didn’t get so much as a grunt in response to my greetings.

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