Security is a very big deal in this part of the world. Depending on the time of day and what is happening, roadblocks can hamper traffic movement dramatically. Taxi drivers and traders are forced to “buy cokes” for the military who man these posts. Political and military vehicles are exempt from stopping…an irony in this country which is struggling from the effects of rampant corruption that starts at the top.
The most recent twist in addressing insecurity issues tackled tinted windows in cars! The law against tinted glass came into effect two years ago, but finally, a couple of weeks ago the Inspector General reminded “…Nigerians from all walks of life, including politicians, military and security personnel that the ban on unlawful and indiscriminate use of tinted glasses is still in force.” And police were sent out onto the streets throughout the country to make sure that the law would be taken seriously!
Both MCC Nigeria vehicles were imported used, and sport factory installed tinted glass! So a week ago, after our driver dropped Mary Lou off at the seminary, he was stopped at a tinted glass checkpoint on the way home and informed that he was breaking the law.
We spent parts of the next few days figuring out what options we had including: a) scraping the tint off the glass (impossible with factory installed tint!); b) changing the glass in each vehicle (an expensive option); or c) getting a permit to allow us to drive our shaded vehicles…legally. Because most cars brought in to Nigeria are second hand, many have tinted glass, so when we went to the police station to inquire about a permit, we discovered that the police system had not anticipated the overwhelming response and they could not handle the demand for permits.
The story for us has not ended yet, but we did eventually talk to someone who knew someone on the inside and we now have a two-week temporary permit for each of our tinted vehicles. We’re hoping that when our two weeks is up, we will have permanent permission to sport shades in our vehicles…and security in Nigeria will be that much better!