Ok! So I’d been looking forward to my trip to Nigeria from the day I landed in London in January (wondering how this settlement business is going to work if I don’t stop feeling this way). Anyway, so I’d been looking forward to it, my little treasure chest of goodies was filling up slowly, I bought the ticket, and then the countdown began. Plus, there’s a trip to Asaba embedded in this one so I get to see my folks and eat of my mom’s magical cooking! Whoop!
I must say I was scared when half the tweets from my friends in Abuja were about the heat and dismal power supply; seven days after touching down and my fears were not unfounded. I can almost say I wasn’t even as afraid as I should have been!
True to form, I packed on the day of the trip; no surprises there at all. For some funny reason I had a major Burger King craving the entire day (haven’t been since September and I’m super proud of myself) but I didn’t go. Ended up with Nando’s chicken, sanu all-protein diet!
Got to the airport, checked in, bought chocolates, settled in and waited to board. Boarded, and started watching ‘The Sapphires’ almost immediately – got through with all the ‘good bye’ and ‘see you soon’ calls first though.
Dinner was chicken tikka masala. I ate o, including the rice. I was hungry, who runs on only two chicken breasts and malt for an entire day? Especially the crazy day I had.
First movie over, and I must say I wasn’t really really impressed with it. I enjoyed all the singing but from seeing the trailer, I just expected more. Anyway, I started on ‘Hotel Transylvania’ but I slept half way through it. Woke up just as we were prepping to land so I filled out my immigration form, and started putting my stuff together.
Touched down (thank you Jesus), and because I traveled with family and together we had nine pieces of luggage, of course we had the Nigeria Customs Service to deal with. They wanted to look through all nine pieces, and then said four of the boxes had items we had to pay duty on. I went into their office and the officer behind the desk asked a colleague what items were in the boxes. As they told him, he would look up, and then write down a figure.
After watching him for a few minutes I asked if there was an items list he was consulting in determining the figures he was writing down. He said no, that he was using his discretion. What!&%$?! By the time he finished, the bill came to N55, 650, and then he gave us a discount (he alone knows what percentage) and we ended up paying N25, 000. Two thoughts haven’t left my mind since then:
- How hard is it to create a formula and publicize it so both Customs officials and the general public know how import duty fees are derived? What’s to say we didn’t get ripped off that day?
- How much duty does the government lose each day because of these ‘discounts’ and what’s the criteria for qualifying for them?
It wasn’t this smooth mind you, I just saved time and space by leaving out the bits with the horrible attitude of one particular officer with an ‘Ekpensi’ name tag. He’s the type that’ll be forming boss but in an interview refer to his ‘Oga at the top’. #Fail
Got into town, caught a nap, ran to the bank, and then to the best part, I went to pick my nephew from school! My darling boy!! He has three teeth now, how time flies!!
So far I’m like two shades darker from the heat, I average about three baths a day just to stay sane, and my Blackberry (which I got in February), just decided it wants to trip off and reboot every seven minutes! I won’t even get started on MTN’s dropped calls, and PHCN that is only fit to be buried.
I’ll say instead that I’m excited to be home again, because I truly am!
- Cairo!!! Whoop!!! (fairygodsister.wordpress.com)