Togo is a dictatorship and most of the population want the President removed and replaced with a new selected President. But they fear him. Heavy armed soldiers follow the President wherever he goes (See pictures).
You should avoid situation with police or soldiers as they might ask for a bribe. I did not go beside the President palace and I avoided them in the streets. Roadblocks are said to act as an unofficial revenue collection exercise. Corruption and misuse of power by the police and soldiers are common.
The poverty in Togo is extreme. There are pickpockets in crowded places like Grand Marché (the big market). The locals say you should carry your money in a smart way and be careful with your camera. Try to look determined. It can be dangerous to walk alone where there are few people. Dark streets should be avoided. Unlighted areas of the beach is a no-go-zone, but ask the locals for updated information. The beach below the intersection of Blvd du 13 Janvier and Blvd de la Marina is the safer than other parts of the beach.
I was sitting in the outdoor restaurant at Hotel le Galion one evening in October 2010, when a middle age french expat came in and told he was robbed at knife-point in one of the back streets. He stood there with his big handbag, apparently unharmed. Since I don't understand too much french I could only guess how it was when he gesticulated and talked to the others in the restaurant. But a man like him walking alone in the dark streets with a big handbag must be a magnificent victim for any thief.
This is a very serious tip. There are some serious chances to break a leg or even serious injury walking around in Lomé. Many of the roads are really sand and/or dust. Even the paved roads have quite a bit of sand on top of them. So they are a bit of a trip hazard if you are walking around. The real dangers are around the storm drains. To be able to quickly channel large amounts of rain in a flat town, they are quite deep. There are many places were the opening are not covered or the cement covers have fallen in. You can definitely pick up an injury falling into these gaping holes.
The biggest danger is the storm covers themselves. They are made from concrete and are very heavy. Unfortunately the quality of their manufacture varies from solid to very thin. Many of them are so thin in the middle that their own weight has made them crack. You can actually step on some of these and they will promptly break in half and send you into the deep drain.
Please watch where you step – and what you step on – in Lomé.