Welcome to Lagos
by Chibundu Onuzo
Faber & Faber

Welcome to Lagos, the second novel by exciting newish talent Chibundu Onuzo, begins with a defection. Young soldier Chike Ameobi has rejected orders to kill purported militant sympathisers in Bayelsa, in southern Nigeria. Deserting alongside his friend Yemi and one of the rebels, Fineboy, he heads towards Lagos. Their uneasy truce wobbles when they are assailed by Isoken, a strange girl who accuses the militant of trying to rape her. Their journey to Lagos begins on a wing and a prayer: “In the name of Jesus, we commit this bus journey into your hands. We commend that no accident shall befall us.” Fat chance, you think, not least when Lagos’ reputation is summarised thus: “Armed robbers. Ritual killers. Drug dealers. It’s like that and not like that.” Igniting the plot proper is a coincidence involving a deposed government minister who swaps Abuja for Lagos and finds our heroes squatting in the basement. Cue a whirl of stolen money, kid­napping and mixed motives.