Emily, the VSO who is also from Bournemouth, has summarised the political situation in Nigeria for the past year. You can read her blog post here http://emily-in-nigeria.blogspot.com/2011/10/happy-birthday-nigeria-51-today.html
This encourages me too to also write about this situation. And the truth is that VSOs (and possibly everyone in the whole country) lives with this constant reminder and threats of Boko Haram.
VSO regularly sends us information on which states and towns we can or cannot visit due to safety reasons. But many VSOs are living and working in these towns where bombs have been set off. Some VSOs even live in places where there is a curfew in place for safety reasons.
An education conference was held in our town last week in which people travelled from the whole country to attend. There was heavy police presence around and as I walked to the office I asked some policemen who were guarding a dusty road that leads to farms, why they were here. “To protect the people and the houses of the town,” was the reply.
Of course, the thought crossed my mind that we could be bombed that week.
We are often advised by VSO or the British High Commission Travel Advice, not to visit drinking places, or stay out late, or attend any celebrations or public gatherings. What kind of a life for a western VSO is that!?
The day after the police headquarters were bombed in Abuja we had guests so went to visit our police headquarters in Dutse (the place to get beer and fish), not because we are looking to get bombed but because there is no point in living in fear.
Although, of course, we need to be cautious of the situation, in my opinion I am far more likely to die on the roads than by a bomb or any other attack.
VSO said they are struggling to recruit volunteers in Nigeria at the moment and it is not surprising due to the above issues.
But to conclude: Despite the above, I feel safe in Nigeria. I really enjoy my work and the town I live in. My parents came to visit and they too enjoyed Nigeria. I have met many wonderful people, had so many amazing experiences and learnt so much from Nigeria. Thus, I am happy to be in Nigeria and continue my work as a VSO volunteer, promoting and improving the quality of Primary Education.