Being Nigerian in this world is no mean feat.
I ruminated over this silently as I watched the extremely slim Turkish girl with the super atrocious grammar, bend my passport into all sorts of incriminating positions, all in a bid to discover a fault line somewhere that would (perhaps?) justify her conviction that I was Nigerian ergo, travelling on a fake passport.
I breathed a silent word of prayer to the non existent Nigerian god of patience as the girl, having molested my passport in every way possible, began to query me about my final destination in the US.
Hello? What does that have to do with you Missy? I am only in transit through your country, it is not your business where I am headed as my final destination.
She mumbled something about tighter security checks for people headed towards the US.
Yes, but why were these “tightened regulations” only pointing towards me? The only Nigerian on the queue? How come everyone else got away with a cursory glance at their passports and a nod?
She mentioned something about terrorism, and I asked her how Daesh was dealing with them these days?
She handed back my passport and I went on my merry way.
As if we all don’t know you have your own pet terrorists dealing with y’all. Quit projecting. I am a Nigerian, not a scourge on the face of the earth.
Being a Nigerian in the world is no mean feat. You are either considered a criminal by association, or too daft to notice when a scam is being pulled around you.
At the duty free shop, I stop and pick up three large packs of chocolates. The prices are clearly marked at $11 a pack.
I take them to the counter, present my boarding pass and pay and as I pick up my receipt, I realise that I was charged $2 extra.
Is this not the duty free shop?
So why am I paying duty?
Because madam, your plane blablabla and then something something hoohoohoo and then another thing another thing yadayadayada.
But I just gave you my boarding pass?
Yes madam, but I thought…
You thought what?
I’ll redo it madam.
Please do, I am waiting.
And all this while, while I, Nigerian, was busy speaking grammar in a bid to make the sales clerk understand I wasn’t ready for whatever game he was playing, other non-black, non-green passport carriers were being ushered in an out of the duty free shop without fuss.
They pointed at the items they needed, made payments less the tax, and the items were sent ahead to their respective boarding gates.
But not I, Nigerian.
Because I am supposed to be fraudulent by nature, an attempt to checkmate me by pre emptively scamming me off a few dollars was in order.
Being Nigerian in the world is a monumental embarrassment. And not just because standing at various international airports, you cast your mind back to the various inter-local ones your country boasts and prides itself in and wonder whom you offended, but also because you stand for thirty minutes in front of the boards waiting for your boarding gate to be updated.
And just when it is and you hurry off in its general direction, your village people have mercy on you and prompt you to look up at the gate boards one more time and you watch aghast as the gate lazily changes and as you stand transfixed wondering what the dambazzau is going on, it lazily changes again and points you off to gate 700.
You wait for a few minutes to make sure their village gods are not working overtime.
Sure now, you race off in search of gate 700 and finally locate it deep down in the belly of the proverbial beast.
Gate 700 is a brisk 20 minute walk away from the direction of the other gates where real life humans can wait for their flights with the relative luxury of restroom and recreation areas.
Gate 700 is the last gate in the basement of the basement of the airport.
It is dingy and cold, and the only sign of life is when other Nigerian bound passengers begin to arrive.
There are no toilets in sight and the nearest shop is at least, one floor above you.
You huddle there, joyless and forgotten and just when you want to start working up a righteous anger, you remember the following key facts:
1. Your President is allegedly a body double from Sudan sometimes known as Jibril.
2. This manky dungeon, is equipped like the best part of your so called international airports. You are just hating because the Turkish want you to feel at home right from the departure lounge. I mean what is the point exposing you to so much luxury when in six hours time, you will land in Nigeria where a Nigerian immigration worker will look at your black face, wielding your green passport and still ask you, “Nigerian or foreigner”?
3. When your compatriot Nigerians eventually file into the departure lounge with you, they are very loud. Very braggy. In your face. And they are all fighting to be the first to board the aircraft. I am still wondering what gives with that. You have a boarding pass, you have been allocated a seat. You are right at the doormot of the plane… What the dambazzau are you fighting and scratching eyes out for? Hian o!
4. One of your compatriots walks up to the check in counter dragging behind her, a man sized Ghana must go bag. You can swear the bag would comfortably fit in King Kong. She then proceeds to spend a few hours arguing with the airline staff that that monstrosity behind her, is her “hand luggage”. The exasperated staff finally agree to board her on the understanding that she should be able to lift and stow the bag in the over head carriage herself. She agrees. She boards the flight. She holds up everyone behind her on the aisle trying to fit in the bag into the clearly too small space. Then she suddenly sights the same exasperated cabin crew and begins hissing at them, “kssssssss, kssssssss, abeg come and help me carry this bag and put it into this space. It is refusing to enter.”
5. Not only do your compatriots steadfastly ignore all seat and overhead cabin numbering arrangements, they proceed to eat everything they are offered in flight, even those that contain cheese and other dairy products.
So you spend the next six hours plus, inhaling the nuclear diffusion from their flatus ridden behinds. The mad man of Korea and his madder American counterpart don’t need their nuclear codes, they should just point a plane full of Nigerians with in flight refreshments full of dairy products at each other.
So on a final note, while being set loose in the world as a Nigerian is sometimes exasperating, I dare say that I stand with the BA girl.
Plus or minus the “BBC”, we need separate airports in all the countries of the world, to cater to flying Nigerians and our idiosyncrasies.
PS: Please don’t ask me what a BBC is…