Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos.

It’s always such an experience using this airport. Not necessarily pleasant, but an experience none the less. It has in fact become like a game to me to see how many people I encounter would let me escape without trying to in one way or another to extort money from me or as my friend and travel agent termed it ‘begging with confidence’. Even the airline staff are not left out. I mean every single person from the entrance till you get on the plane, wants you to part with money.

Sometimes it’s funny, but most of the time it’s just down right irritating. So today as part of the security screening process, I put my case on the table to be searched by three different government agencies one after the other. Each of the officials try their luck at begging me for money as usual and I in turn, try to ‘dodge’. Then I come to the last one who happens to be female. As soon as she sees me, she says I look familiar. She didn’t look familiar to me so I really couldn’t help shed light on that. She then asks me where I am from i.e. what Nigerian tribe. As soon as I say to her that I am from Benin, she shows an immediate lack of interest which amused me but I really wouldn’t bother much about it. And then we come to the most important point where she asks for ‘breakfast money’. I immediately say to her ‘nothing today o’ and she goes ‘oooh no wonder your face looks familiar, that’s what you always say to us!' If it wasn’t so sad a situation, I may have fallen down laughing. These people have apparently long lost any iota of shame, self-respect, dignity or integrity. This is obviously the same treatment metted out to practically every user of that airport. Just the thought of it right now, makes me shudder with embarrassment! If they do not care about the image of our beloved country, how about their own images? I can’t help thinking that these are people's fathers, mothers, sisters, uncles, friends, spouses etc. A little self-respect surely would be in order here jeez!!


I wish more parents would take more responsibility in the discipline and upbringing of their children. These days, people seem so eager to have children like its some sort of contest but once the child is born, they seem even more eager to pass on the responsibility to someone else; anyone else!

My most recent experience of this sort happened on a flight from Lagos to London. I was seated in the row immediately behind the first row in the aisle seat and there were two young children (no more than 3 & 5 yrs old) sitting in the two seats next to mine. There was a nursing mother sitting directly in front of me, so I naturally assumed her to be the mother of the two youngsters beside me. I was however later to discover that to be far from the truth.