It is impossible not to notice the improvement of the departure terminals at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos. For a second, one is filled with joy and reassurance that we’ve got what it takes to make this country a great one we can all be proud of.
And of course, with this spirit one has to put aside the fact that all passengers, passing through this airport in their thousands have always had to pay their airport taxes – we show appreciation anyways, hoping the trend will continue.
At MMIA, it is a different story every time one passes through even with everything done right, there is no guarantee one would not be harassed.
Over the years I have noticed how people tend to put themselves at the mercies of the airport staff that will eventually lead to bribery.
No doubts Nigerians loved to carry more than their baggage allowance, normally this would not be allowed in most airports, but in Nigeria, you would be allowed, just need to pay up so in this instance I think it is the citizens encouraging bad behaviour.
Also, about carrying food items. All countries have their rules about what can be allowed in terms of food product. The officers at the airport know this, however anyone can carry just about anything through MMIA, you only need to pay up – your trouble on the other end.
Why do we find it so hard to comply with simple rules? This is not excusing the shameless officers at the airport but we the citizens must try not to encourage this bribery culture, in the first place.
What has yellow fever vaccination got to do with it?
Last month Richard was excited to be invited to Lagos for a day, to do some infographic work for a consulting firm. His client is a global firm with long-term existence in Nigeria.
‘You’ll love it’ I assured Richard. He’s only in Lagos for one day so mostly from airport to hotel visit. He knew quite a bit about Lagos but as a visitor for the first time, sometimes no one can really tell everything that might go right or wrong but it is incredible that you can safely jump into an Avis taxi from MMIA now to Lagos mainland knowing you are safe.
Richard went and had amazing time with his client and thought everyone he met were incredible. Him and a couple of other Oyinbos were the foreigners, other guys in their tens were all Nigerians, he was impressed. Had a successful meeting and was invited back to help with more projects.
One thing though, he had to pay a bribe at the MMIA. “Why?” I asked him, “Because I didn’t have my Yellow Fever vaccination”
Richards shrugged his shoulders, thought the bribery for not being vaccinated was weird but nothing more to it.
Well, the bribery just confirmed a lot that he has read about Nigeria.
I wonder, how is the airport officers being bribed going to magically take away the fact that Richard wasn’t vaccinated? YF vaccination is expected when visiting a place like Nigeria to prevent visitors from getting sick.
Given Richard will be visiting again, I pleaded that he gets his YF vaccination done given the shameless officials no opportunity to ask for bribes. Very likely they would but we would see what for.