. We were given a pack of Jollof rice, a bottle of water, and popcorn. Google map will tell you that Lagos to Accra is 9 hours by road. The transport company told us we would spend maximum 12 hours on the road. Both of them were wrong. Due to irrelevant delays by law enforcement agents and bad roads, the journey took over 15 hours. It is a shame to say that the worst part of the road is within Nigeria, just before the border with Republic of Benin. This is also where we had the longest delay as different law enforcement agencies stopped us on the way to check us. There were several checkpoints manned by different agencies; customs, immigration, police, NDLEA, etc. The longest stop was at the border crossing in Owode. I witnessed corruption perpetrated by Nigerian law enforcement agents first hand. I saw vehicles with contrabands such as rice cross the border and all the driver has to do is just squeeze a note or two in the hand of the customs officer.
‘Nigeria is corrupt,’ says an official from the transport company, ‘but Ghana is more corrupt.’
Finally, the bus entered the republic of Benin, and had a stopover to sort out things with the country’s authorities. What I noticed, which other passengers also agreed to was the discrepancy between the Nigerian side and the benionoise side of the border. While the Nigerian side looked rugged and rural, with an untarred road, the Benin side was lively, with better houses and a very smooth road running through it. I thought things should be vice versa. As the bigger neighbour, we should have better infrastructure.
The bus finally moved on, through several towns and villages. Two hours later, we entered Cotonou, the largest city in Benin. I must say, it’s a beautiful city on the coast, although much smaller and less imposing than Lagos, or even Abuja. From Cotonou we headed to the Togolese border. The beach stretched on endlessly to our left. The Togo-Benin border was the most beautiful and the least stressful to cross. We didn’t waste time at all. The immigration officials on both sides recognized the transport company and waived us quickly. However, we had to alight and cross into Togo on foot. I found it weird but other passengers said it was normal. A few hours later, the bus entered Lome, the capital of Togo, which I can describe as been partially on water. It’s a small city with a long stretch of beach.
At the Togo-Ghana border, I found the manner the Ghanaian immigration officer addressed us to be a little condescending, as if we were immigrants. He told us that Ghana was better than Nigeria and we should be happy to be going to a place where the electricity is stable and the road network is good unlike Nigeria. So Ghana has now turned to greener pastures for Nigerians. We have to change our time to Ghana time at the border because Ghana is 1 hour behind Nigeria. Finally, we arrived Accra at 12:30am. A journey that should take 9 hours took us 15 hours!