Thursday, August 10, 2006

The 2nd good thing about Lagos: High security (at least I feel better when I believe I'm secure)!

We were picked up at the airport by ConocoPhillips (COP) security personnel and transported to our apartment in a Land Rover with bullet proof windows and escorted by another vehicle with men in armor and machine guns. It's company policy that all travel to the mainland be in armoured vehicles with a security escort. I guess the mainland has more incidents of robbery on the road and roadblocks by robbers, robbers posing as police, and police who want to rob you, along with your everyday riot. The offices and expatriate residents are on two islands off the mainland -- Victoria Island and Ikoyi. On the islands we are provided with a driver who is very security conscious and able to deal with many situations. The traffic is really terrible and cars are constantly approached by people selling many things and asking for handouts. Along with the constant pleas to buy phone cards, candy and soft drinks, yesterday we were surprised to be approached by someone selling toilet seats! You can buy just about anything from your car window, but our driver insisted that we just ignore them all -- although that toilet seat could come in handy someday! But it is very nice to be driven around on these crowded roads where the drivers don't care about rules.

This is our apartment building: Atlantic Royal Gardens (ARG). It has great security: there's a gate that screens people and cars coming in, there's someone at the desk in the lobby and each apartment (2 on each floor) has a heavy locking gate in front of the entry, as well as a deadbolt on the door.
There are usually 4 security personnel at the gate. When I asked if I could take their picture, one guy stepped out of the picture, one is in the room, and these two turned their heads. But they are usually friendly guys who always wave when I come in or out. Right outside the gate are lots of okadas -- motorcycle taxis -- waiting for customers from the office building next door. This building also houses many of the American consulate personnel -- so I think the security must be pretty good if they are living here!

So, mom and kids, hopefully you feel a little better about my safety and security!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm very late coming to this post, but I decided to start at the beginning of your blog. I'm glad to see your apartment - I had pictured you living in a hut!