So the other weekend, I had to take a short trip home to see my mama and dada. I get to the ticket counter and I'm informed that I have to pay an extra thousand naira without explaining to me why. And the very rude "counter man" rudely told me it wasn't compulsory but he'd advise me to pay the fee. I asked him why I should pay when I do not know what I'm paying for.
I sha carried my bag and proceeded to enter the departure lounge. There comes this woman who says I can't get in till I pay for ***scrambled English I couldn't figure out**
And I asked aloud what **the thing** is and she says I should go back to my airline to get it without trying to explain what it is.
I go back to the airline I'm flying with and the counter man gave me a I-told-you-so look, very annoying! I just sha gave him the 1k because I was too tired and I obviously wasn't gonna get in without it.
It was a little ticket with "Passenger Service Charge" written on it. As was indicated, it was a FAAN (Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria) "initiative"! How the word "initiative" is grossly misused in Nigeria beats me.
I was sooooooooo angry! Surely, my anger was justified. With this silent anger, the screening lady tells me to take off my shoes before I pass through. I ordinarily wouldn't mind this except ermmm a thousand people before me just passed without even dropping their bags, having "settled" the screening lady!
Which kain country be this? That was all I kept asking myself. I grudgingly took off my shoes and the detector still beeped anyway. She wasn't even bothered. Some months ago, we took off belts, wristwatches, you name it and now, they really can't be bothered. Inconsistency really is our watchword in Nigeria.
And now, to the thing that REALLY made me ANGRY. So angry that, 2 weeks later, I'm still very irked about the issue. It was a Friday and the departure lounge was jammed with people waiting for their flights. At the point I was there, there were no less than 500 people in there. And this is me trying to be conservative with figures.
The accountant in me quickly did the Math - N1,000 X 500 people = N500,000
Obviously, over a thousand people had travelled from that airport on that day alone. But what I was concerned with was the people are I could currently see. At that point, FAAN was N500k richer and yet we were dying inside heat. I was afraid to yawn because I was scared cobwebs would fall inside my mouth. More than half the very dirty ceiling fans were not working. Ventilation was almost zero. In this day and age, ABUJA AIRPORT still uses louvres! Not just louvres but very very very dirty half-broken ones.
Let's not talk about the horrible toilets! No, God, no!!
By the way, why do all those airport female voices that make the announcements sound so annoying - like nails on a chalkboard? Just wondering.......
There were a handful of air-conditioning units and none were working. If this were Benin Airport, maybe I wouldn't have been so angry. And by the way, Benin has the worst airport I have ever seen in my entire life. I flew through there once and I almost thought I was in a dream...
Anyways, back to the airport in Nigeria's CAPITAL City - I looked around the airport and everybody seemed normal. Was I the only mad person here??
The sad thing about Nigeria is that ABNORMAL things have become the NORM. Doesn't that make us mad people? We see kids hawking pure water by 11am on a Monday morning and it's normal...
Now, 1k isn't too much money. But if FAAN makes up to a million naira everyday just from Abuja Airport, surely we should be entitled to clean toilets, air conditioning, or atleast fans that work.
This airport thing sha has me going mad. Someone in my office was talking about it today and my feelings of anger have been resurrected. Somebody, somewhere will just sit down and his or her office and devise a way to chop free money and we have no say in the matter. As if the air fares (which they increase per second) isn't high enough!
May God save us! But we can also make some small human effort(s) to save ourselves. As powerful as God is, He isn't gonna come down and build clean airports for us!