Finally I got the full Nigeria experience ...

... and unfortunately armed robbery is part of it.

Two nights ago chaps armed with cutlasses and rifles entered by hotel, (the advantages of bein short-sighted: I thought it was 'just' sticks until somebody told me otherwise afterwards! I'd probably freaked had I known the truth earlier!), broke into all the rooms and badly beat up some of the guests - I think I'm the only one they didn't physically touch.

So, in this sense I'm alright, so I'm still walking on thin ice, nerve-wise, despite hiding out at some Lebanese friends' place for the last two days. Its just been a bit too much for one week after my translator got beaten up for (as a Muslim) allowing me (a Christian) to snap pictures of the posters of local sufi sheikhs. - The problem didn't originate with the owners of the respective houses but some by-standers who followed him after we parted and beat him alledging I would commit sacrileg with these images once I'm back home - which is of course not the case.

So, I'm currently trying to take it slow for a few days ... and will let this particular strand of my research rest for the moment being. Too scared and what's the point without the camera anyway? I don't think there is a connection between the two incidents, as a colleague at the uni here suggested but better safe than sorry ... again.

Yeah, did I mention that, they took the camera and only after a long argument (almost got into a fight between each other in my room) drop (or rather threw in full flight) the laptop back into the room - too easily traceable by the police! I haven't got it working again since ... so that's the end of pics for you and my research until I work something out ... but my original funding doesn't stretch for a new quality camera and ... well, I don't expect any handouts from Kano Local Government who owns the place where I stayed, not really.

But apropro: a lot of other people have been extremely helpful with little hand-outs of money until I got my dad's new transfer, offer of accomodation and ... yeah, their ear to listen. Yesterday a Lebanese who hardly knows me picked me up crying at the roadside - the ice I walk on is thin enough for an argument with an achaba driver to break through it! - took me to his shop, made coffee for me, ordered breakfast, distracted and calmed me down and in the end send his driver to where I originally had intended to go (which was not where the achaba driver dropped me, not at all, which's what the argument was about) ... all very amazing, isn't it?

So, I'm kind of looking forward to leaving Kano, though not to getting back into a hotel or other rather public lodging. But I will have to see, a research colleague here in Kano suggested he might be able to organise me on-campus accomodation in Zaria.

So, yeah, still slightly shaking but ... yeah, lot's of wishes to everybody as I will be silent for a while I think, need to find a cheap and good-enough cafe in Zaria first ...


  1. Damn must have been scary, do not know what I would have done, glad to see you are still here to post about it.

  2. Please sir,are you a Niegerian?

  3. @ Mark:

    I'm damn glad too. As they say in Hausa: Mun gode Allah!

    @ Matthew:

    I'm struggling to see how that's relevant with regard to this particular blog post. But, no, I'm not(see my About Me section, I'm not at all pretending to be).

    It happened. At the time its been a shock to the system. Its part of my experience of Nigeria. I still don't think I'm overtly cynical here, though given the state of mind I was in I think I could be forgiven.

    And, yeah, the hospitality and friendship I experienced the following days and when I had to go back and forth between Zaria and Kano two weeks later was just amazing. Fatima sitting me down, getting me kosai, fried eggs and chips, Hassuni's family offering me shelter for a few nights, ... All those people, their kindness, they're the reason I miss the place, despite that incident (and despite being admittedly ungifted in staying in touch across distances if people aren't on skype or facebook)

  4. I am really scared of these people who take culture and religion to a whole new level

  5. @ Emy, those robbers are "professionals" and as elsewhere they care about money (and sometimes, not the ones, that came to our hotel, power and control). This was not about culture or religion (at least not any more than the poor chap who got stabbed outside our estate in London the other month). Nigerians, as I met them, have been by far amongst the most hospitable people I have met. Which is one more reason why it makes me incredibly sad to read that violence has so much become part of the live of many ... but there I am getting more political than I want to be in this space ...

  6. Thank God it happenend so long ago because Nigeria is even getting worster then ever

  7. I totally agree with Collins. The northern states are becoming something else as they are constantly being rocked by bomb blasts planted by people who want to destabilize the nation.


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