Thursday, 30 March 2017


Life became kaleidoscopic immediately as they had to pass through the needle to reach Wang-liao- the scourging sun, the hunger trip and stings from Androctonus australis- a sahara flat-tailed scorpions. 

The trip from Maradi to Wang-Liao is like a coin of two sides- good and bad, the good thing is that he made it through Wang-Liao and finally to Libya, the bad news being that they lost a fellow, Isah from Mali who decided to take a walk from their makeshift camp in the middle of the desert and couldn’t trace his way back.
“Don’t bother looking for him, Ikoh” said the desert master,
“But why?”, Ikoh blurted,
“Because we can never find him, you see, in this journey, when you lose the track you can’t retrace it", the desert master retorted.

Libya, located in the northern part of Africa, predominantly Muslim and densely Arab speaking.  The city was buzzing with activities, given the fact that the country is just waking up from months old political turmoil that ravaged the country, though the environment still smells of smoke and the citizens wearing stern faces, Ikoh boarded a private transport so as to make it to Tripoli unseen and unseeing and that he achieved.  Tripoli was the most wrecked city with soot in most of the buildings and some stores looks like it has never been opened for God-knows-how-long.
For the. past three days, Ikoh has been impecunious and afraid of going out there in the dreaded streets of Tripoli to find a part time job. On the fifth day, he left the boarding house and went wandering hither tither looking for a job that would put meal on his table and save some money to link up with uncle Josh in Erfurt, finally he got a job that will pay him 15 Dinar per night in a restaurant, Ikoh accepted the Job without any objection simply because most expatriate in Tripoli patronizes the restaurant which means he could find someone that could help him out, and again, he could also live on tips from the customers and save the wages for his travels, so he thought.  Ikoh was amazed by the influx of expats on his first day of work and he seize the opportunity, his tip for the night was triple of his wage for the night, the third day was slow as tensions was high in Tripoli, though it is not unusual given the fact that the country was swept by the Arab spring, it didn’t bug him but diverted his interest- a Maître d’ name Fatia, he made advances to Fatia and promised to come for her when he gets to Germany- a big, fat lie- but she laughed it out and promised to pay him a visit in his boarding house when the birds have gone to their roost because it is haram to have premarital sex in Islam, so she claimed. That night was like a Christmas for him, he went to his friend, Jeff an apothecary to buy a nitrous oxide known popularly as laughing gas so as he can shag Fatia in ecstasy without a flinch of his super ego interfering.

Ikoh woke up the next morning with his door widely open, the bottle of nitrous oxide sealed and his bed still freshly made, Fatia didn’t make it.  The boarding house was quiet and shots from rifles could be heard from earshot, Ikoh leaped from the ground and saw the owner of the boarding house gazing down at him from the door, a tidal wave of emotions ran through his vein, "I think you should leave, Libya is at war again."

To be cont'd...
Written by Ejioffor Ikechukwu alias Lionet

Thursday, 16 March 2017


At the dawn of the twenty-sixth day of December, Ikoh summoned his mum and siblings into his late father’s hut to break the current development that has been bothering him.  Ikoh is the first son in a family of five, 23 years old but can be passed for 17 due to his miniature physique and a trace of childish exuberance in his behavior.
“mama, I called yáll here to tell you that I will be traveling out of the country by the first week of next month,” his sibling let out a loud guffaw when he mentioned traveling but Ikoh’s mum was perturbed as to what has gotten into her son’s head, “my son, you said you are traveling, but what about your father’s farm, how about the money or are you going to travel by foot, who do you know there?”
“Ah ah mama! Which one should I answer first? Well I have some money that will take me there, I met Chief Osai and he helped me with some soft loans, I want to link up with Uncle Joshua in Erfurt, Germany, he agreed that I should come stay with him.”

January 6th, 2013, Ikoh, accompanied by his mother and siblings off to the train station in Enugu where he would board a train that will leave for Kaduna in the next hour.  The train arrived in less than the stipulated time and he climbed onto the train, his mother’s whimper can be heard from the waiting room, the train glided and he bade them goodbye with his eyes doused with water.

As a mysophobia, nausea was setting in, the stench from the train was thick, the smell of roasted fish and fufu blanketed the coach.  A man who is believed to be hausa from the robe he was wearing was seating just before him, from the rear was a woman with her two daughters who might be 5 and 8 years old, flanked by a florid man who is around 40-year-old, he smells of sweat in his tattered fabric with a Business magazine clenched in his hand, they chattered over a can of maltina all the way through. Ikoh was marveled by the man’s ubiquitousness in knowing a thing about all parts of Nigeria. 

After spending about seventeen hours in the train they alighted at the Kaduna train station, Ikoh unfolded his atlas and located the next point of destination, Jibiya, Katsina State, a state populated by mostly hausa-fulani tribe with different culture from his.  He went to a local motor park and paid for a ticket to Jibiya.  Jibiya- with a high temperature and low humidity- he gulped almost two sachets of water under five minutes, the environment was welcoming with tarred road and other infrastructures.  He met his first challenge, a trans-national challenge, crossing the border to an unknown country, Niger Republic. 
With no passport he managed to hide himself inside a truck loaded with cattles heading for Tarna, Maradi- a thirty miles journey from Jibiya.  In Tarna, Ikoh met other explorers and travelers who wanted to travel to other countries through the sahara desert. They were ushered into a mud house where they met a desert master who knew all the routes in the desert, the house has only three occupants- the desert master and his two wives, the children as the desert master later explained with gusto, took the step of their father as desert masters too, “it is an old profession”, the desert masters told Ikoh when he became askance.

He haggled over the fare and finally settled on CFA 50,000, they spent two nights in the desert master’s house before they began the laborious journey to Wang-liao on camel’s back with little foods and much water that will sustain them through the journey to Wang-liao, 769 miles away from Maradi.
….To be continued

Written by: Ejioffor Ikechukwu alias Lionet