Since the 1980’s till recent times, airports in Nigeria enjoy notoriety for dangerous activities especially prior to 2001, specifically between 1992 and 2000. Nigerian airports were and are still poorly managed with its terminals known for its many flaws and corruption, and these consequently led to the airports being blacklisted by major airlines. Some of the many flaws are discussed in this piece.
To begin, robberies still take place in and around most airport terminals in Nigeria due to lack of adequate security. Though the Nigerian government is checking the situation presently, the scourge still thrives. Only recently, just last year to be precise, in broad day, the Bureau de Change located within the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos was raided by a gang of armed robbers shooting sporadically in the air and carting away huge sums of foreign currencies, and at the same time putting the lives of air travelers scampering for safety at risk. Some security men at the airport were not spared as well as unconfirmed report gathered a few of them lost their lives during the confrontation.
Also, the uncivilized act of harassment still takes place in almost all the airports in Nigeria especially the major ones located in big cities. Right from your arrival to the airport, to the departure lounge, you find touts both within and outside the airport terminals looking for ways to extort unsuspecting air travelers. They demand tips for the slightest service rendered, even if not required. Some of these miscreants even go as far as impersonating genuine airport officials to deceive passengers at the same time justify their nefarious activities.
Genuine airport officials as customs and immigrations are not excepted in these airport dilemmas that take place across airports in Nigeria as they are also known for issuing illegal or non-existent fees. These prompted organizations like the US Federal Aviation Administration to post a travel warning to its citizens abroad alerting them about the unscrupulous activities going on in the Nigerian airports. It actually dented the airports’ image, but really did not put an end totally to these acts.
Passengers traveling by air in Nigeria always shudder at the acrid smell that waft from the toilets at their airports. Many foreigners, including airline crew do not use the toilet facilities at the airports, and this is because many of the toilets are bad; besides, water is scarce in these airports which also informs why people do not flush the toilets after use. The toilets basins are always dirty because cleaners rarely use them.
Airport Terminal Building.
None of the Nigerian airports have resting place for transiting passengers. None has airport lodges where air travelers can quickly check-in for a night or a few hours. Except they decide to check-in hotels outside the airport premises and risk missing their flights, get harassed, or possibly robbed.
Airport Control Tower.
So it was not surprising when a recent report by Skytrax and The Guide To Sleeping In Airports; a website that documents information on airports and people who sleep in them, rated Nigerian airports as some of the worst in Africa. With these, you can only anticipate the best in the near future.