My Ordeal At The Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport, By Konyinsola Olukoya

I disembarked from the BA 083 flight on Friday, 16th of September, 2022 at 04.45am and headed straight to the Port Health Services desk. An official requested for my permit to fly( QR code), so I presented it to her. Not satisfied she requested for my COVID 19 vaccination card, I presented her the soft copy but she said it was incomplete hence inadequate. She then requested for the hard copy, so I told her I didn’t have it and if the soft copy I presented to her was inadequate it wouldn’t have generated the QR code. She insisted I presented it and I told her it was at home. I was asked to either ask someone at home to bring it to me at the airport or send someone to pick it up for me at home. I told her nobody had access to where the card was kept except me. She was very polite while all that ensued.

She then referred me to a lady, called Fatima, another Port Health Services staff. So I was led by Fatima to an inner room where some other passengers were sat and was asked by a man called Fortune to sit. Mr Fortune and Ms Fatima were both very rude and hostile not just to me but other passengers. After a long wait pandemonium erupted in the room because the passengers didn’t understand why they were being treated rudely in their own country. We sat without being told the next line of action. So I sought to know the next line of action from Mr Fortune the personnel in the room. He handed me a form to fill. I looked through the form and realized it was the same form I had filled in London which generated the QR code I had presented to them. So I asked him what the next line of action would be if I filled the form again. He rudely told me I would be unvaccinated!!

I was confounded and then asked him how that works. He told me that was all he could do. I then reiterated that I had been fully vaccinated and went on to tell him the centers I got vaccinated. He wouldn’t bulge. So I asked him if he was going to drain the vaccine in my system to unvaccinate me.

Exhausted and enraged, I left to meet Ms Fatima to ask if I could hand in my passport to her so that I could be released to go home to pick up my passport. She acceded to my request. I brought out my passport and my family friend who works at the airport collected it from me and handed it to Ms Fatima in my presence. He had come in to look for me because he was curious when he saw my luggage unclaimed. Whilst Ms Fatima held on to my passport some British Airways senior staff well known to me, saw me there and asked what was going on. They pleaded with Ms Fatima to release me to go home to pick my vaccination card and that they would act as my sureties. She refused and asked that Mr Kenneth called her boss, Dr Izu. He spoke with Dr Izu and passed the phone to me. My conversation with Dr Izu further enraged me because I got to know from him that if I had paid for a COVID 19 test I would have been let off the hook immediately. So I told him in my several hours of waiting and subjection to his colleagues; being spoken to with belligerence no one mentioned the option of paying for a COVID 19 test!!! Which for me would have been an easy pass. I was upset and asked if they were employed to humiliate citizens. Because I did not understand why none of them mentioned the option of paying for a Covid test while all the drama ensued. I’m not a recalcitrant citizen, I would have paid for a Covid test immediately knowing I didn’t have the hard copy of my vaccination card on me but I wasn’t given the option. I was only told I would be unvaccinated. Dr Izu, apologized on their behalf and released me. At this time my passport was still with Ms Fatima. I requested for it to proceed to the immigration desk. Then she started searching for it. Ms Fatima had no explanation for where she placed my passport. No one amongst everyone at the desk stepped out except Ms Fatima. So we all wondered how the passport disappeared! At the time my passport was handed to her all the passengers but 3 had left. My passport was only with her for some minutes before I asked for it, so what did she do with my passport? At this point I was agitated and told Dr Izu I had to get off the phone because Fatima seemed to be up to no good with my passport. He insisted on explaining about the situation at the airport to me. So I told him I had to get my passport and he was trivializing a major issue. I then hung up on him and requested for my passport from Fatima. He called me back again and told me to go home, he will get my passport back to me that afternoon. Not satisfied I waited to see if she would bring it out. Her other colleagues also searched for it. I emptied my handbag to ascertain my passport wasn’t in it. This went on till about 8.30am.

I was exhausted, confused and frustrated. Dr Izu asked me to leave that he would ensure my passport was found. The crux of the matter was how I was going to be let off the airport without a passport. Fortunately, the immigration officers at the airport were very discretionary and compassionate. Apparently informed about my ordeal, once I approached them, they empathized with me and told me they will let me out because they had established that I’m a Nigerian.

Then I called Dr Izu in the afternoon of that same day. He pleaded with me not to report the case to anyone, that I should give them 48hrs grace to get my passport to me. The person who came to help me at the airport was blackmailed to beg me to stay action on my threat to report the incident to the relevant authorities. On Saturday I told Dr Izu I had informed some government officials and he was unequivocal about his displeasure. He told me he had advised not to report the incident to anyone, so I told him it was my passport and I had every right to do everything to get it back.

By Monday, Dr Izu stopped answering my calls, so I made further calls to get some high level intervention because I had assumed that all responsible and patriotic government officials will find this situation very embarrassing to the nation and at least be compassionate enough to understand that it could happen to anyone, even a foreigner. My aunty got the DSS involved. I was asked to write the Inspector General of Police, which I did. I informed all the Ministers who should be directly involved with this matter. Only one of them has repeatedly and kindly called to get an update!

On Thursday, 22nd September, I was told the CCTV footage was going to be viewed and I insisted on being part of it, the Director of Port Health Services at the airport, called me and agreed to wait for me to view the CCTV footage. It was watched by everyone involved, including security agents. It was seen and established that Fatima collected my passport and at no point did she return it to me or anyone. She was only seen going out of the hall after she had collected my passport and when she returned she claimed she couldn’t find it!

To my utter shock, her boss Dr OYOH has only been pre occupied with re writing the incident. He’s most interested in lying to cover up for the Lady who stole my passport. I was even accused of being in possession of my passport and claiming it was stolen. I was spoken to rudely in the presence of the DSS boss in his desperate bid to cover up. He even told me; his words ‘ Madam there are things you let go, let this go’! Then the DSS official told him it wasn’t in his place to say that to me. He even boasted about how the Minister of Aviation could not have gotten me to view the CCTV footage at the airport in front of the DSS director. He said he had several passports with him between 500 to 3000 passports. Where in the world will that happen, except Nigeria?! A health worker?!

It’s been a month and a day today. Fatima is still moving around freely, going to work despite stealing my passport. I trust that the DSS is carrying out a thorough investigation to get my passport out, the Nigerian Police Force has commenced investigation. I’ll sue Fatima and the Port Health Services. I MUST GET MY PASSPORT BACK! I’m so distraught! This is unbelievable!!! Incomprehensible!

PORT HEALTH SERVICES’ Staff are a Menace at the Abuja airport. Not all but majority are inept, inscrutable; they lack emotional intelligence and arrogantly ignorant….. They are Certified crooks. I have never in my life experienced anything like this.

My sin is that I’ve been civil with them. If I had shut down the airport that day. I wouldn’t be without my passport today.

So I’m advising the public to be careful with the Port Health Services staff at the airport, please ensure they have nothing to do with your passport as it’s clear to me that there’s a syndicate involved in passport trafficking amongst them.

My passport has several multiple entry visas on it. This situation has been so disturbing and distracting.

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