The Abuja Airport Strikes Again…


This blog will sound like a repeat of my last vacation…a stressful situation in the Abuja International Airport and a close call catching my flight. After my trip in September, I thought I was ready for the airport’s inefficiencies and absolute chaos. But lighting struck twice and this time, the situation was much different. I arrived at the airport at 11:30am for my 1:40pm flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There was a long line outside the airport to enter, then another line to enter the ticket counter area and a line to weigh your luggage. By 11:45am, I had breezed my way through all three lines and was now queuing at the ticket counter. It was at this point, that the entire process went downhill. People were not in lines but instead a huge cluster. Each time someone processed through the attendant checking passports, the crowd surged forward…sometimes you moved closer to the attendant, at other times, you moved back. After clearing the processing attendant, I was now in the check-in for my flight to Ethiopia.

Nigeria suffers from a “big man” complex. The country goes out of its way to accommodate men and women who are supposedly “very important people.” So, as you wait patiently for your time to come up in the line, some “big person” comes along to circumvent the queue. When I finally got to the ticket counter, I had to wait for the agent to process another passport someone had “bribed” an airport official to have his documents processed. I was finally given my ticket and passport and told to go to Emigration. The queue situation was the same as at the ticket counter…four clusters but no official line. What made the situation worst was that Ethiopian Airlines announced a final boarding call for flight 910 to Addis Ababa. The people panic and everyone surged forward causing quite the scene. My position in the queue was in jeopardy because the little order that existed was no longer and it was every man for himself. It was now 1:30pm.

If airport officials would have communicated to the passengers that the airplane would not leave until all checked in passengers had made it to the plane, it would have changed the situation. Instead, there were no announcements and the people panic. As a frequent flyer, I know that if a person does not board the plane, than the airline has to remove your bag from the plane, causing even more delays. I figured that the airline would wait to we had cleared Emigration. But confirmation would have been nice…

I finally boarded the plane at 2:05pm…These airport experiences, and my Nigerian experiences all together has helped me put Nigeria into perspective. If I had to compare the country to the life-cycle of human beings, Nigeria is a teenager that wants to be seen as an adult but has no self control or rarely takes responsibilities for its actions. Each day presents new challenges and the country stumbles along, sometimes getting it right, other times completely failing to meet the demands of its people and the international world. It then becomes frustrated with how others are viewing its actions and throws a temper tantrum. And so the circle continues…the country inches along but never fully understanding its role and resources it possess.

One Comment on “The Abuja Airport Strikes Again…

  1. Pingback: Leaving NIGERIA… | A FREDAY in AFRICA!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: