I feel like every time I travel via Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) there’s always one issue or the other. If the roof isn’t leaking, then the conveyor belt isn’t working. Or the custom officers are looking for egunje forming activity. There’s always something, and I’m sure I’m not alone! In light of that, I’d like to start a column: MMA Shenanigans (MMAS)! With MMAS, we’d be able to exchange ridiculous stories of our experiences at MMA! How fun!! Now, let me get us started!
I flew out of MMA with my younger sister a few weeks back. We’d made it through all the other procedures, and were finally ready to get past security. We found our way through the business class queue (after the officers there tried to collect egunje) and were waiting for the border security officer to review our docs. Considering we were in the “priority” queue we expected things would go a little faster, but that was not the case! For some reason this line was going pretty slow. My sister and I even joked about how we’d probably end up missing our flights due to the extremely slow pace!
Anyway, it was finally our turn! We presented our docs and waited patiently for officer A.G Dashe (I believe was his name) to complete his review. He went through my docs and put them aside. Then, he started going through my sisters documents. My sis and I were chatting away so we didn’t even realize what was going on at first. But on closer observation, we realized that there were like two other officers who’d approached Mr. Dashe and given him some other lady’s documents to review. So he’d dropped my sister’s and started reviewing the other lady’s documents. Mind you, this lady was never in line! UNACCEPTABLE!
Me: Oga what is going on here?
Me: Madam (turning to other officer) – please what is happening here? Did you just hand him that woman’s docs to review?
Officer 2: Sorry please she’s a diplomat. We don’t keep diplomats waiting.
Me: Why didn’t he just finish reviewing ours since he was almost done anyway? And why not have a special section where diplomats don’t have to wait in line and you can attend to them once one of your officers becomes available..and not in between a review?
My sister: Oga, you’re now even filling out her immigration form, ahn ahn? Madam diplomat can’t fill out her immigration form?
My sister and I continue raking and complaining while Mr. Dashe continues to fill out madam diplomat’s immigration form.
Officer 2: (whispering to another officer) You know these ones are children, they don’t know who this woman is..that’s why they are behaving like this.
My sister and I: Raking louder and making a little bit of a scene
Mr. Dashe completes madam diplomat’s immigration form and then hurriedly hands my sister her docs so we may get out of his sight leave.
First of all, you’re probably thinking why we were raking and all. I hate to make generalizations, but in my experience, Nigerians just don’t listen unless you’re yelling (for the most part). Having said that, I understand not wanting to keep diplomats waiting. I mean, they are diplomats after all right? And are clearly way too busy..AND the rest of us have loads of time on our hands. I get it! However, please have a separate section/line where diplomats and “other vips”- since everyone in Naij is a VIP – can go through. And then, the polite thing to do is complete reviewing the docs of the individual you’re dealing with before attending to diplomats and vips. Again, the point here is to be respectful! If you’re working on my docs, finish with mine! Then madam diplomat may cut the line…shikena! Plus, what’s the deal with filling out her immigration form? Madam Diplomat can’t fill a form? Isn’t there some kind of conflict of interest there?!? SMH!
That, my friends, was my most recent shenanigans experience in MMA. I’d encourage you all to share your “MMA Shenanigans” stories with constructive criticism and we’d publish as many as we can! Click here to get started!
PS – For our international brethren, egunje means bribe..and the closest thing to raking I can think of is making a fuss. 🙂