Below is a letter a Lagos airport customer sent to SaharaReporters detailing the blatant corruption he witnessed at the troubled airport:

My request is to investigate Nigeria's low-level corruption at Lagos international airport. 

You will be amazed at the rampant extortion and bribery that goes on out in the open. 

Documented is my experience at Lagos airport. 

Corruption begins before one even enters the airport. On the road leading up to the airport, the so-called road safety officials block the road and stop all cars with luggage asking for car registrations and money; I almost ran over an official, as he jumped out in front of my vehicle in an attempt to collect a bribe from me.  

The staff at the inspection desk before checking in at Lagos airport is a corrupt syndicate. This is where the NDLEA, Customs, and even the airline staff - specifically, Arik Air staff, but in some cases Virgin Airlines staff - extort money from passengers.

On the 27th of December 2016, I witnessed firsthand such extortion and corruption. Two Chinese nationals had their bags screened via the scanner at the airport entrance. I saw an official in a navy blue shirt flagging the Chinese nationals for inspection. Some words were exchanged and money changed hands. The two were then allowed to pass through security. The same instance then happened to a Nigerian lady, but she refused to play ball with the official manning the scanner at the entrance, so her luggage was searched on the floor.  

There are signs all over the airport urging passengers to report corruption by calling 0908 530 0000. I am led to believe a man Engineer Saleh Dunoma, Head of the FAAN, approved the number.

The problem, however, is that the number does not connect when you call. When I tried calling the number, I received recorded message saying that the number is restricted from receiving calls. My guess is that the telephone number is a front to show unsuspecting passengers that they are doing something about corruption at the airport.

What is baffling is that they still search people's luggage by hand and then use the opportunity to extort money from people. Why are there no sniffer dogs doing the inspections? There are also no clear documented guidelines that state what you are allowed to carry out, such as food items, as personal allowance.

I feel the head of aviation and other officials are running a racketeering syndicate. It sounds like a strong accusation but it is very evident. They have no shame in collecting bribes. My guess is the heads of these agencies know the right thing to do, but like everything in Nigeria, they choose to pocket the money rather than take action against corruption. 

What is the government doing?  



Departure Hall of Murtala Mohammed International Airport


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