Knowing that some 700km lay ahead of team Lipstick today the team was ready to take off by 6.30 in the morning and was again surprised by Nigerian friendliness when they found out that the security guards must have given Lipstick a solid wash overnight as the car was spotless and clean not showing any of the dust and dirt collected on the rough road in Benin the previous day.
The way out of town was on a perfect double lane high way with hardly and traffic and half an hour later the main highway joining Lagos in the South and Illorin in the north was reached and from this point onwards traffic increased dramatically.]In many parts this highway is currently being reconstructed and this caused many deviations with chaotic traffic and jams.
There were virtually hundreds of oil tanker trucks on the road and parked on the sides bearing witness to the oil producing area in which team Lipstick currently found itself. Whilst some stretches of this road were obviously recently reconstructed others showed the wear and tear of this heavy traffic with potholes and overturned oil tankers becoming the theme of the day.
From about 10am onwards the traffic jams occurred more frequently especially close to the town of Ibadan and only about 170km were done in the last 3 hours…
Ilorin the next biggest metro was passed by 1.30pm with still 450km to go to Abuja and the highway coming to an end . Single lane tar roads with ever increasing potholes in number and size finally led to a non tarred road of sheer madness in both traffic and potholes whilst approaching the crossing of the massive Niger river..
The driver of this oil tanker lost his job shortly after this accident………….
Just before 4pm Lipstick crossed over the bridge of the Niger which up here in the north of Nigeria already must have a width of about 300meters. Endless army stops and police stops were encountered with ever so friendly officials welcoming team Lipstick to Nigeria , wishing them a safe journey and advising them to drive very cautiously in this heavy traffic on a road which might as well not exist at all..
Crossing the Niger River..
Increasing number of abandoned truck and oil tankers bear witness to these extremely harsh driving conditions and whilst the team thought that the approach road to Cotonou was the worst ever experienced that road now has to take second place as the worst road on this planet. Lipstick had to drive through potholes in half a meter deep and 1 meter wide , driving around heavy trucks standing in the middle of the road due to a breakdown and trucks wrecks and burnt out oil tankers on every side of the road.
At 5.30 and some 90 minutes before sunset Lipstick passed its most northern point in Nigeria just after the town of Mokwa with still some 300km to go in order to reach Abuja.
Being now on a tar road did not make it that much easier because of continuous potholes limiting the forward speed to an average of below 50km….
Just after Bida at 7.15pm with still 200km to go and the sun disappearing the team now experienced its first night drive – something which was wanted to be avoided but the decision was made to carry through and the team proceeded to activate the 2 spotlights mounted on the roof carrier as well as the 25 LED light band between the 2 spotlights. Whilst Willy was driving Andre had to switch on and off the lightswitches mounted on the side of the roof rack but reachable from the passenger seat.
With full lights on the street was visible enough to avoid the potholes but the floodlights of Lipstick was not that much enjoined by oncoming traffic who now paid respect by slowing down or parking on the side to led the floodlights of Lipstick go passed…
On approaching the highway some 30km outside Abuja team Lipstick took a wrong turn and found
itself in the middle of a small village full of Saturday evening folks partying on the street. On enquiring about the correct direction toward Abuja immediate help was offered by a young Nigerian with a motor bike who now drove some 3km in front of Lipstick guiding the team onto the 3lane highway leading into Abuja. Again a show of how friendly and helpful the people of Nigeria are to foreigners.
Some 45 minutes later and at 11.30 Lipstick was finally parked in Abuja after a harsh day of terrible roads , potholes but with great respect of the friendly approach by police and army officials their good wishes for the journey and the ever so helpful population assisting the team in finding the right directions.