Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Holidays in Nigeria

Plentiful Fuel for the Holidays in Nigeria

I look forward to the holidays in Nigeria this year. We’ve booked our tickets, told our children, and arranged the security people to accompany us in the village.

These guys were our security detail last year for the holidays in Nigeria, at least the village part.

These guys were our security detail last year for the holidays in Nigeria, at least the village part.

Yes, for the past few years whenever we go to Nanka, Clem’s home town in southeastern Nigeria, we hire a security detail of four men. Clem likes them to have two vehicles, so one can lead and the other follow as we drive to the village. Our own driver dresses in a police uniform, though how he got it I’ve never asked.

The uniforms do make getting through roadblocks easy.

We usually think about the fuel situation before we go. Shortages are common since so many people travel during the holidays in Nigeria.

We often ask the people who make the preparations for us in the village to store petrol for the vehicles ahead of the holidays.

Someone also has to check the generator and buy the diesel fuel for it.

Do I believe the story from yesterday’s news? No fuel scarcity during the holidays!

That would be wonderful, but I will surprised if there really is sufficient fuel for the holidays in Nigeria.  Will the two billion litres be enough?

Nigerians won’t experience fuel scarcity during Christmas – NNPC

Travel Documents for Holidays in Nigeria

Last night my husband suddenly thought to check his Nigerian passport. Good thing he did! He was surprised to find it had expired a month ago!

Clem's expired passport.

Need to replace Clem’s expired passport for holidays in Nigeria

On Monday morning I’ll be contacting the company I’ve used for several years to get our travel documents. I hope they can arrange the renewal of his Nigerian passport.

His US passport is valid for another few years. Mine is also valid until 2022, but I wasn’t sure about the Nigerian visa!

I just looked. I’m in luck. My Nigerian visa is valid until November 2018!

How Do You Name a War? Does it Matter?

Ambassador John Campbell writes about the name for Nigeria’s Civil War. Like the U.S. civil war, Nigeria’s war from 1967-to 1970 was a defining part of the country’s history.

He writes about wars of secession and how they are named. Do the victors always get to choose the name?

In the case of the U.S., he says, “The more neutral ‘Civil War’ came into use after the end of Reconstruction.” He continues, [this was when] reconciliation between north and south proceeded, a process at the expense of African-Americans.”

We still suffer in this country from that supposed “reconciliation.” The racism persists. For one of my book groups we’re reading The New Jim Crow, which details some of the racist practices.

In Nigeria’s case, I was on the side of the secessionists, so I almost always refer to it as the Biafran War. But of course the secessionist Biafra lost! Most of the Igbo people, the principle group behind the move for secession, are reconciled to the loss.

However there are a few people among the Igbo who wish to reignite the conflict and try again for independence.

Maybe I should change what I call it, since I do not support them!

Legacy Society for Unitarian Church 

This evening we held a dinner in our home for our newly formed Legacy Society of The Unitarian Church in Westport. We have twenty-seven members!

It’s taken decades to finally reach this  point! I remember when I chaired the Endowment Committee in 1996-2001 that we tried to put together a Legacy effort.

Several years later Gail and John, long-time members with Gail an experienced fund-raiser, tried. They did put together a brochure with basic information. Then they moved to Pittsburgh!

About two years ago our committee of four actually got serious and begin to cultivate donors. And now we’ve held our first of what we expect will be annual Legacy Society Dinners.

We have twenty-seven members. I think that’s amazing, and certainly exciting!

African Writing Online

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ve seen references to Brittle Paper.

African writing is thriving. In recognition of the depth of the field, Brittle Paper has created its own awards. It is fitting these are for writing that is published online!

The most recent post announced the nominees for the category of Creative Nonfiction/Memoir. I loved reading through the excerpts. You can read them too.

The Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction/Memoir: Meet the Nominees


Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. I wish you and your family the best of holidays.

  2. My cousin’s half brother was snatched off the street a few weeks back in Benin City; his kidnappers executed the three policemen who were guarding him.

    Sometimes I wonder at our ability to “normalize” virtually any situation, personal security, driven by our ability to hire the police as personal guards; I guess it is what it is