31-Jan-2003 -- In the course of a marathon 4000-kilometre trip through northern Nigeria I had already garnered the first successful land-based Confluence in that country a couple of days previously (see 10N 9E).
We left Jos on a Friday morning in our little Suzuki headed to the northwest, hoping to reach Sokoto by nightfall, where we would spend the night and continue the next day to our home in Niamey, Niger. I had already checked my mapping software for possible Confluences and had found none, but as luck would have it, as we reached the crossroads town of Pambeguwa we left the basemap's track and headed to the north, passing the towns of Dutsan Wai and Soba. I checked the coordinates and found we were approaching the confluence of 11N 8E, and quickly put in a new waypoint for it. We were following what appeared to be an old track on the map and the Confluence looked to be right off the road on the 5 km scale.
Approaching the town of Maigama I zoomed in and found the point to be just a couple of hundred metres off the road to the north. When we came abreast of the Confluence we were just in the centre of the town and I began to think of the possible complications of searching for Confluences in inhabited areas, but decided to try it anyhow. We turned around and took the first dirt road north into the town. Before too long and after weaving slightly to avoid granaries and buildings we came to the outskirts of the town and pulled up before a deep ditch. The Suzuki would have had no trouble negotiating it but by this time we were drawing a very large crowd of young people. The GPS indicated just 23 metres to the Confluence, straight ahead, so I got out with my camera, leaving the GPS attached in the car, and hurriedly crossed the ditch and snapped the approximate point before it became covered with people.
When I turned around, the car was surrounded by a crowd, all shaking hands with my wife! They had thrown their bicycles on the ground behind us as well, so we were trapped! Not knowing much Hausa and not wanting to explain what we were doing, I motioned for them to pick up the bicycles and we backed out, turning around in a tight space and negotiating the buildings before turning right on the pavement and picking up speed, waving to the bewildered crowd behind us! Not the way I prefer to do Confluences, but at least we bagged it!
As a footnote to our Nigerian confluence experiences I shot a picture of a license plate from Nigeria's Kogi State, which should become a favourite of confluencers, as the motto on their state's plate reads, "The Confluence State." Of course they are referring to the confluence of the Niger River with the Benue coming from the east, but I certainly wouldn't mind having such a plate on my car, would you? Unfortunately we were not able to visit Kogi State on this trip. Maybe in the future we will be able to bag a Confluence in the Confluence State.