By being bored to death, that’s how.
We are now into our third day of being confined to the residences, or in “lockdown” if we want to dramatise things to folk overseas who may have an influence over next year’s hardship uplift factor. This has involved us mooching about our apartments, occasionally logging on to the work laptop to see if anyone else is “working from home” (which is about as clever a business idea as the daily report), watching umpteen episodes of whatever TV show we have
downloaded purchased at full price recently, and surfing the ‘net. For an hour or two in the afternoon a handful of us slink down to the pool (it is a nice pool) and hope none of the big bosses who live in the overlooking towers are on their balconies with binoculars and a notepad.
We are completely cut off out here, plonked out of harms way at the end of an access-controlled artificial island (kind of) far from any part of the Nigerian way of life. The only people who live out here are the expatriate employees of multinationals and, allegedly, hideously corrupt policemen and officials, and multi-millionaire pastors. And the family of between 12 and 20 who occupy the shack under my window.
We receive an SMS instruction at 7:30pm each evening not to come to work the next day, and aside from that we are pretty much in the dark as to what is going on. We heard there were large-scale protests on Monday during which one person was killed in Lagos (grisly pictures of the victim’s semi-naked body were circulated), and yesterday there were rumours that there were protests along our normal route to work where several senior politicians live, but that’s about it. We can get local news on the TV which shows various protests around the country and interviews with various figures who are not short on bluster, but we have no idea as to the extent of the protests or their nature (i.e. violent or not). There have been rumours that some unions are talking of upping the ante including shutting down upstream crude production (so far we have kept producing), and unless they are all talking shite the protestors appear to be in for the long haul.
Whatever the case, I don’t think this will end this week. Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan is in South Africa joining in the ANC’s anniversary celebrations, so he’s not even around to reverse the policy or even engage in dialogue. Personally I have enough food and drink to last another week, two at a push, but there are families with kids who probably cannot last as long without going to the supermarket. But other than that, it’s all very unexciting for us. Which I suppose is a good thing.