Monday, October 20, 2008

How is the crime rate in Nigeria now?

Question: What about the crime rate, do you think its increasing or decreasing?

I try not think about the crime rate in Nigeria because I don’t want to live in fear. Crime is the bane of city life anywhere, but Nigerian cities take it to a different level. I hear the stories of armed robbery in people’s homes, on the streets, in cars and even in the workplace and at restaurants—the tales all make me very afraid!

One particular day we were coming back from a function and driving along airport road around midnight and escaped robbers just by a hair—at least that’s what we believe. A car that was driving in front of us pulled over and the driver abruptly steps out as we approach. My mom tells my dad to step on it! As we get closer, the guy seems to be holding what looks like a pistol. Instinctively my mom yells “gun” and puts her head down. I follow suit. After we were at a safe distance, I look behind and notice that the few cars that were driving hehind us on the highway are no longer there. Too close for comfort. My folks get into a hilarious argument over whether my dad accelerated fast enough or not.

For at least 2 months after that, any time I was on a road at night, my heart would be in my mouth. I couldn't hold conversations in the car because my eyes would be busy scanning other cars or pedestrians for crooks-in-disguise.

One particular night, I was driving home, with my mom in the passenger seat. I saw a car blocking the highway and some wood in the middle of the road. I immediately stepped on my accelerator and veered to my right to avoid the obstructing car and flee what I believed was an armed robbery trap. The cars in front of me were slowing down, but I just thought them foolish drivers who I needed to bypass. It was until my mother cautioned me to slow down and avoid the accident did I come back to my senses. A car had run into one of the trees and spun back onto the highway.

Believe me, the real thief is fear. It will torment you if you don’t kill it. I think you have to decide that if you want to live in Nigeria, you will not be robbed of your peace. I also realize that in terms of personal security, there isn’t much one can do beyond what we’re already doing here. Homes are barricaded in estates, cars have alarms and trackers and we’re down right rude to strangers who are “asking for help.” Most private and public buildings have security personnel watching over the property but these guards are not armed, so they are no match for the armed robber. Sometimes it’s the gateman that even tips off the robbers! The truth is that “except the Lord watches over a house, the watchman watches in vain.”

So in answer to your question, because they say perception is reality, I’d say yes the crime rate is decreasing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Postings for foreign graduates

Question: I have heard as foreign graduates you get a chance of serving in Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt. I don’t know if that’s true or false, please confirm!

When you arrive at NYSC Headquarters in Abuja, you’ll be asked to fill out an NYSC application form for foreign graduates. On that form there’s a slot where you’re asked to fill in your 1st and 2nd choices of the states you would like to serve in. This option is not available on the forms for graduates from Nigerian universities. Foreign graduates receive consideration.

However, when you ask NYSC officials about the postings it seems like they’ve been instructed to say that concession is not given to anyone.All the foreign graduates I know got posted to the states they asked for.

For details on the documents you need to enlist for youth service check out the NYSC Website and this post.

I saw an ad in one of the dailies:
Pre-Registration for the 2008 November Batch C has begun. Obtain an eNYSC Scratch Card from NYSC state secretariats and Afribank Branches Nationwide. Cost: N250.

Visit or
Click on eRegistration then check for Pre-Registration.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When in Abuja...Rooftop Cafe @ the British Council

Hey people! What’s up? I was down south for two weeks but I’m back to my Abuja! People say there isn’t much entertainment in the capital city but I beg to differ. What better way to entertain myself than to eat? Yes, I love me some food. And I especially love eating out. Tell me you’re taking me out to eat and you’ve just gotten a friend for life or did I hear someone say an FFF (friend for food?) Heh heh.

Regardless of the food loving, my weight has refused to get the memo and trust my Naija peeps to comment freely on how I don’t eat and how I’ve lost weight. The former is false, the latter is true. But it’s all good—I expect that child bearing and/or hitting my 30s will take care of that.

So I want to post on some of the nicer places to eat out if you are in Abuja. That's a picture of the jumbo prawn dish that my friend tackled at the Rooftop CafĂ© at the British Council in Maitama. At that size, eating the prawn was like work but well worth it. Both our meals and drinks came up to about N6,000—Pricey in my opinion, but most of the continental restaurants in Abuja run at that price range. I recommend the British Council for its laid-back atmosphere and rooftop view of Abuja. You might take caution when ordering the T-bone steak. Mine was tough and chewy and I had to give up on it (normally, I CLEAR my plate). My partner-in-crime insisted I send it back to the kitchen, but it only came back hard and dry. Oh well.