Are you surprised? Please don’t be. Our international airport in Lagos is an international falling of hand.
I’m surprised any serious person (business investor) chooses to remain in Nigeria after passing through that airport. It is not the best welcome handshake any state wants to extend to anybody; let alone visitors that are willing to spend money in Lagos.
The departure area was designed by a sadist who likes to see unhappy families. All the area does is force non-travellers to abandon their loved ones in a hurry. Any emotional farewell must be concluded in your house because it might not happen at the airport.
There is a huge sign plastered across the single entrance that reads “Passengers Only”. And officers are waiting to harass non-passengers; asking for bribes when they try to accompany their person into the departure hall.
Needless to say, if you can banter like a true Lagosian, you will cross those doors without spending a naira. But when you do enter, your troubles don’t end immediately. On getting into the main hall where your person has to check-in for boarding; there are two main groups of people.
There are those standing in line to check in and those standing to the side waiting to say a final goodbye. They stand in one corner and only shift positions when there is a large trolley coming at them. Nobody thought it wise to set up a small sitting area so that waiting is more organised.
We just like ‘sufferhead’ in this Lagos.
A glance at the hall will reveal anxious mothers, fathers, lovers, relatives and friends standing for long minutes; waiting and hoping that their person checks in without troubles. Maybe somebody has not fainted for them. That’s why there are no chairs.
After the long wait, you can rush to the confectionary area where buying meat pie and bottled water means you can sit there till it’s time to go. The other option is to keep standing in a corner because there is no place to sit. Did I mention that the air-conditioning system doesn’t work either?
It gets better at Arrivals. That’s where MMA truly shines. While you could wait with your person inside the airport before they travel; you can only stand outside to receive them when they arrive.
This waiting area is a good distance from the actual airport so everybody, the returnee and the ‘waitee’, must exercise. The returnee must trek to the waiting area while the ‘waitee’ must stand; either in the sun or under the rain to meet their person.
Of course, if you’re a VVIP, you can cruise past all these protocols.
So, I guess the moral of my story is to go and become a VVIP; so that Lagos International Airport will favour you.