What would have been another death at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos was on Sunday afternoon averted following the sudden collapse of a 68-year-old woman at the desk of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) attached to the airport.
The timely intervention of medical personnel from the Ports Health Services (PHS) at the Lagos Airport, averted the loss of life of the passenger who had just arrived from Cote’d’Ivoire.
SaharaReporters found out that passenger had a United States of America (USA) international passport at the time of the incident.
SaharaReporters further gathered that the victim (names withheld) was queried and screened extensively for about 20 minutes by NSC officials at the arrival D Wing of the airport, ostensibly, because of the route she entered the country from.
While she was ordered to offload and re-arrange her luggages, she collapsed sending panic through airport staff at the scene of the incident.
According to eyewitness accounts, the daughter of the woman who had come to welcome her at the airport told other users of the facility that her mother had returned to Nigeria to finally settle down after several years in the US, but expressed sadness in the way the almost septuagenarian was treated by the NCS officials.
She alleged that the official of Nigeria Custom Service actually wanted her mother dead by subjecting the old woman who had travelled a long distance over almost 18 hours in the air, to off-load five heavy bags without allowing anyone, even her daughter to assist her.
“I suspected that that custom officer wanted my mother dead for no reason. My mother had pleaded with him to allow me come in and assist her so that she could rest, while the screening was going on, but the custom official rejected her plea.
“He insisted that since my mother is the passenger, she must offload and bring out everything in the five bags for him to assess. My mother pleaded with him that apart from not sleeping throughout the duration of the flight, she was hypertensive. But, this custom officer didn’t accept; until my mother fell down, while carrying the second bag from the trolley.
“At that time I had no option than to forced myself in, and joined at reviving her, I started calling her as we poured water on her before medical people rushed in and took over.
“I am happy that the medical people were responsive and arrived promptly at the scene with the right medical equipment and expertise. They were able to revive her after about three minutes of serious battle.”
However, immediately the woman collapsed, the customs officials who had insisted on checking the luggage of the traveler abandoned their so called check and didn’t ransack the other luggage.
Nigerian Custom officials are notorious for intimidating international travellers in order collect bribes from them.
Attempt to contact Mrs. Shoboiki, the Deputy Comptroller of Customs at Lagos Airport proved abortive as she didn’t respond to the call and text message of our correspondent.