By ‘Dotun Akintomide
“Huh! This is embarrassing, it’s difficult to charge here!” a disappointed Davidson Akano who was booked to travel to Doha with the Emirates Airline last week’s Monday afternoon exclaimed inside the departure hall of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport’s terminal.
With the frustration and anger all written on his distressed face, one of our correspondents moved close to him to hear him out, like a good Samaritan, as if he can provide ‘on the spot solution’ to his immediate perplexity.
Akano had checked round the wall inside the departure hall of the terminal to see if he can see a socket to charge his cell phone’s battery which had gone flat, but was bemused to discover that there were only few sockets fixed to the wall and at that, they have all gone bad with no power in them.
“I had arranged my luggage last night, but I just remembered there’s an important document I forgot which is crucial to my mission in Doha,” A perturbed Akano said, cursing himself.
He said it would have amounted to a futile effort for him to have jumped on the plane without getting the said important document. He wanted to call a brother to quickly rush down to the airport before the Expected Time of Departure of his flight, just before his cell phone went dead.
Nonetheless, Akano was able to charge his cell phone through the correspondent’s portable battery charger, otherwise known as mobile power bank, but it was obvious, he has been let down by the poor state of facilities, even for as little as socket fittings at the MMIA.
He wondered that, it continues to beat imagination that a national monument like a nation’s international airport where the rest of the world converge to access and leave the nation’s shore has continued to be in a sordid state, despite decades of government’s budgetary allocation in billions of US dollars.
More like it, an inspection visit to the terminal’s restrooms shows the MMIA like many other airports in the nation is gradually becoming monument of shame, as the lavatory accessories are also in bad shape, smelly with no toiletries in some of them.
When The New Diplomat brought the findings to the attention of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Acting General Manager, Public Affairs, FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu who attempted to shove off the findings said a lot of renovation works are ongoing on the terminal’s fittings generally, to include the toilets’ fittings, “the toilets’ fittings are being replaced.
“Like the ongoing works at the Abuja airport, since the Acting President visited the MMIA earlier in the year, we have been working on them and we have always supplied the toilets with toiletries,” she said.
She, however, noted that the observations are well appreciated and that the FAAN’s management will look into it.
In a poll conducted by airline tech website, sleepingairports.net, the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport both missed out on the list of top airports on the continent as voted by travellers.
Out of the five parameters considered – cleanliness, comfort, service, security and customer relations – upon which the ranking was based, it was gathered Nigerian airports narrowly attain pass mark for security test, while failing terribly in others.
Many passengers have lamented that while the physical state of the airports is yet deteriorating, except for the recent renovation, the quality of services is extremely poor. More so, Nigerian airport staffers are guilty of many things, among them is poor customer relations.
Experts have said, this explains why the five international airports in Nigeria only have an average of about 15 million travellers yearly.
The New Diplomat recalls, on February 23rd, 2017, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had paid a surprise visit to the departure and arrival halls of the MMIA, inspecting the toilets and other facilities.
The impromptu inspection visit led to the Acting President demanding for an upgrade of the airport’s facilities after admitting that “their are many things that need to be corrected,” considering the airport is first point of call to foreign investors interested in investing in Nigeria.