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Old September 8th, 2006, 08:55 AM   #1
zexyworm
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LAGOS (Nigeria) | Murtala Muhammed International Airport | Terminal 2 | Under Construction

Hello fellows, I thought it might be a good idea to have an official thread about the new Lagos Airport domestic terminal currently under construction but for which very little details are available.

[info updated April 24, 2007]

Project Title: Lagos Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2
Year Construction started: 2003
Commissioning Date (symbolic only) April 7, 2007
Inauguration Date (estimate) July 15, 2007
Contractor: Stabilini Visinoni
Promoter: Bi-Courtney Consortium
Designers/Architects: Stauch Vorster pvt.ltd of South Africa (concept)
Cost (phase 1): 20 BN Naira (Approx. $150,000,000+)
Ownership Scheme: BOT (Built Operate Transfer)
BOT period: 30 years+
Exact built area: unkown
# of levels: 4 (Seperate arrival/departure halls)
Features: Arrival/departure halls, restaurants, lounges, shopping mall, post offices, banks, entertainment areas, lounges, elevators, conveyor belts, travelators, escalators, 6 aviobridges (3 dual), 8 remote parking stands, possibility for expansion towards south and north sides.
Capacity: 5 million passengers per annum (as revealed by Bi-Courtney CEO)

Other Buildings:
6-floor hotel with swimming pool, 8 royal suites, 148 rooms, 1000-capacity multipurpose room, shopping area, restaurants/bar, casino, bank, airline lounges, direct bridge connection to terminal building.
Parking structure with 500-car capacity (4 levels)
Conference Centre (More info needed).


Further info+details posted here will be much appreciated...

Last edited by zexyworm; April 24th, 2007 at 08:36 AM.
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Old September 8th, 2006, 09:43 AM   #2
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Posted here are all the available photos so far:

Construction (2004):



A relativelt recent photo (April 2006) with VNA A320 in the foreground:


Since the above photo was taken the construction cranes were removed the the roof of the building generally completed.

Any other photos that we should know about ?
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Old September 8th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #3
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ZEXYWORM, I know your problem with finding photos on MMDA!
It is very hard.....

As far as the new terminal is concerned: Even , if this aiport is completed, Lagos is still not prepared for the future traffic which will rapidly expand in the coming years....it will all be horribly congested, thatīs for sure, if nothing is done!!!! Nigerian air traffic is no longer in the 80īs or 90īs.
Virgin Nigeria needs its own terminal or AT LEAST 12 to 15 new aerobridges at the old M.Muhammed International airport in Lagos where only Virgin Nigeriaīs planes can park and 10 aerobridges for the other international incoming aircrafts. Just 8 aerobridges at the local terminal made me laugh the first time I heard about it, that is nothing for Nigeriaīs domestic air transport, there are tons of private airlines in Nigeria....it is simply toooo small! Why didnīt they build an airport with 20 aerobridges for local traffic, why always so small things for a country the size of Nigeria????
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Old September 8th, 2006, 06:47 PM   #4
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--read below!--

Last edited by zexyworm; September 8th, 2006 at 07:01 PM.
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Old September 8th, 2006, 06:59 PM   #5
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Mathias,
I also understand your frustrations about the proposed size of the buildling and its capacity constraints given Nigeria's growth projections. If we take a most conservative growth (10% per year) in 5 years at the latest the air terminal would become so congested and new "Nigerian" problems would arrise yet again! A turn off for tourism and the foreign investment drive the government has embarked upon.

I think that to best understand the "why" of all of this one need to consider the following:

1- MR. Babalakin's (Bi-Courtney Consortium CEO) recent comments stating that "it will be possible to expand the terminal in a later phase".

2- The project is ENTIRELY private-financed, meaning the owners have clearly struggled to get loans from the local banks, at decent interest rates.

3- Any intelligent risk-analysis would surely have factored in the possibility of an economic slow-down or collapse in Nigeria FOR WHATEVER reason. If it was Joe Blo's money he would have done the same. The fragile condition of Nigeria's democracy (especially with the upcoming 2007 presidential elections) cannot be ignored. Therefore any sane investor, when taking on such a challenge in the Nigerian environment, is likely to consider the worst scenario and propose a terminal design accordingly. One reality in the Nigerian investment climate is uncertainty, both regulatory and political. This situation has improved drastically especially given Nigeria"s recent economic reforms which are starting to yield some results. To illustrate this, refer to Zenith Bank's "$200m Aviation Fund" launched today.

4- While it is true that the idea of a well-designed, international standard airport terminal might be appealing to most local carriers, we should remember that the new terminal owners will most likely charge considerable fees for parking, docking, check-in counter use, etc. Therefore it is my hunch that not all local carriers will switch to the new terminal (at least initially).



It was interesting to hear Mr. Babalakin's comments regarding wether or not his firm would invest in an expansion project at the international terminal. His response was that it was up to the government of Nigeria and FAAN to take a strategic decision to concession or privatise that facility. If you ask me, the current international terminal is reminisent of 1970s architecture and is out-dated, ill-equipped, and seriously under-sized given the increasing traffic especially at night. The only solution is to either expand it or build an brand-new terminal, towards the cargo shed. There's enough room to accomodate at least 30 wide-body aircraft. Of course, the government will not invest a kobo in all of this, and will call on the private sector to intervene....

The question is when? I doubt it will happen during Obanasjo's tenure. More likely an announcement will be made mid-2007 at the earliest.
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Old September 9th, 2006, 07:29 PM   #6
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The terminal (in the background) in July 2006... Better bad photo then no photo!

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Old September 9th, 2006, 09:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
it was up to the government of Nigeria and FAAN to take a strategic decision to concession or privatise that facility. If you ask me, the current international terminal is reminisent of 1970s architecture and is out-dated, ill-equipped, and seriously under-sized given the increasing traffic especially at night. The only solution is to either expand it or build an brand-new terminal, towards the cargo shed. There's enough room to accomodate at least 30 wide-body aircraft.
Zexyworm, first of all thaks for the latest pic. how did you manage to find it? You seem to know things pretty well regarding Nigeria.
As far as MMIA is concerned: the current aiport was completed in 1979 which was a 100% copy of the international airport of Shiphol Amsterdam at that time, built by the same architect. At that time it was woooww, nowadays it is still big - but somehow old-fashioned (although there were some new refurbishment) - if compared to the vast majority of other airport within Africa but as you stated, too, it is simply too small for the future traffic Nigeria will be faced with...but I do not think that building a complete new airport will happen any time soo in Lagos, to be honest with you...with regard to expansion, it is currently done. And I think it is the most feasible, take Frankfurt airport terminal 1 was built in the mid 70īs but it has constatntly been upgraded and a lot of the aprons are exclusively for Lufthansa planes. So to my mind, Lagos airport needs to add more gates (at least ten) as I said above and reserve them for Virgin Nigeria...otherwise flying out of Lagos airport will be utter hell in the future.
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Old October 8th, 2006, 12:35 AM   #8
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Mathias, sorry for late reply re this topic. I got this photo from a nigerian newspaper's website (I recall it was The Times of Nigeria).
By the way the new domestic terminal looks really small from the photos. Still no word on official floor areas and detail specifications...However i managed to dig up the below article. Enjoy.

------------------------------

Business Section : A Leap Into The Air
Posted by admin on 2006/9/2 13:10:07 (379 reads)
By Tayo Odunlami


In Lagos, the Nigerian aviation story is being redefined. On the ruins of the burnt local airport at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Wale Babalakin is elevating the country’s aviation profile to truly match the exquisite pride that Miami, Tokyo, Johannesburg airports and the likes flaunt. When Babalakin’s N300 billion airport project is unveiled in November, all other airports in Africa will not but take a bow. It is quite a chunk of a project, being undertaken by quite a chunk of an entrepreneur. Standing over six feet in his socks and weighing not less than 120 pounds, Babalakin, a doctorate degree holder in Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria in his 40s, is treading a path that more established firms and individuals shied away from.

It is understandable why such a project was not such an alluring bride everybody wanted to embrace, although most entrepreneurs would now be wishing they had the courage and acumen of Babalakin to be breaking such a monumental ground. When government decided to rebuild the burnt airport, it decided it would no longer put its money in such a project that private entrepreneurs can effectively handle. The government chose the build, operate and transfer, BOT, strategy for the airport project. By the strategy, a private contractor will build the airport, operate it for an agreed number of years, before handing it over to the federal government which assumes full ownership.

It is obvious that under this construction arrangement, there would be no government funds to waste, in sharp contrast to the tradition of cheap funds that Nigerian contractors have grown accustomed to. Considering the magnitude of the project and especially the fact that there would be no free government lunch on this one, there were not many contractors willing to take a plunge. Sanderton, the company that first won the BOT contract failed in the assignment and the Ministry of Aviation had to strip it off the company in 2002 and hand it over to Stabilini Visinoni, which Babalakin heads as chairman. Since then, the pace of work on the project has been frenetic, so much so it is now about 90 percent completed. On the road that links the temporary local airport with the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, a striking spiralling structure that hugs the road’s shoulder lends itself as the new airport under construction.

But no. This structure is just the airport car park, an innovation in itself in Nigerian aviation industry. A five-floor affair, the park will conveniently accommodate at least 500 vehicles. The initiative, Babalakin explains to TheNEWS, is designed to address the traffic gridlock that currently stretches from the airport to over a kilometre on the Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way, as motorists manoeuvre their vehicles in and out of the airport, especially during peak periods. “When this airport becomes operational, the traffic problem on that road will be completely solved,” he enthuses. At the new airport, there is a constant flow of movement, as vehicles drive straight to the vast park without constituting any bottleneck whatsoever to the mass of human traffic that are expected to use the airport or the vehicular traffic on the main airport road. Travellers alighting from vehicles in the park do not have to trek to the ground floor before connecting the airport terminal. An alleyway covered with fibreglass provides the airport users easy access from the park to the terminal.

So the user is protected from the elements from the moment he boards his vehicle, till he virtually boards a plane. Stabilini Visinoni is going the extra mile on the park initiative by laying on the structure a coat or two of paint. Even in most of the best airports all over the world, car parks are not painted. Babalakin says he does not mind spending some extra money on aesthetics to actualise his dream airport. And that is exactly what he is doing. The main airport structure itself, screened from vantage view from the main road by the multi-storey car park, is quite some architectural monument. Also multi-layered, the terminal rises arrogantly into the sky in a labyrinth of, among its numerous appurtenances, five VIP lounges, two prayer rooms for the two main religions, offices, kitchens, eateries, conveyor belts, lifts, elevators, shopping malls, banking halls and a medical facility. And for those who can afford it, a tunnel accords the VIP ride directly to the lounge, away from public gaze and straight for boarding.

Here, fuel trucks supplying aircraft with Jet A1 have no place, as a fuel pipeline to feed planes directly is already being laid. “The practice in modern airports now has no use for trucks. Everything here is designed to conform with the standard practice in the best airports all over the world,” Babalakin tells this magazine. The airport will be connected by a bridge to a five-star hotel that Babalakin is also erecting across the road. The six-storey hotel, being sited on the old Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, car park adjacent to the new airport being completed, is meant to provide ready security, in terms of accommodation, for air travellers, especially those arriving or departing very late in the day or in the wee hours of the morning. The hotel concept obtains in high standard international airports across the world. Babalakin points to the Miami airport as a good example. The airport-hotel link bridge eliminates any form of hindrance to smooth flow of traffic, as travellers and lodgers shuttle from airport to and from hotel.

The hotel will come with restaurants, spa, casinos, banquet halls and shopping halls. Aviation Minister, Babalola Borisade, so expectant of the two structures that are springing up at the Lagos airport, described them as a spectacle to behold. At night, the entire airport environment is planned to brighten up in a dazzling kaleidoscope of lights. For the airport alone, the sum of N44 million is being spent on lighting effects. All the lounges are also being equipped by giant plasma television sets and computers. Being at the new airport will offer the same mental and psychogical make-up, in terms of comfort, convenience, safety and a panoply of high quality services available in any world class airport in Europe, the USA, Asia or Africa.

The magnitude, world-class design and hi-tech equipment that are attending the new airport put government in a dilemma: which status to accord it - local or international. Although it is being erected on the space that the old local airport sat, its qualities certainly put it beyond being a mere local facility. It possesses all the wherewithal to compete with international airports anywhere in the world. Already, as the aviation industry awaits completion of the airport, some major airlines, this magazine learnt, have already requested to operate their international flights from there. When Babalakin was asked whether this request would be granted, he left the discretion to FAAN, which will ultimately decide how the airport would be utilised.

The Authority’s consultants, Akintola Delloite, is also brainstorming with KPMG, the consultant to Bi-Courteny Consortium Company Limited, parent company of Stabilini Visinoni, on modalities of generating revenue from the new airport to enable it pay its way on the BOT arrangement. Babalakin was optimistic that the facility would be well appreciated by Nigerians as to be prepared to pay the mandated charges. Interestingly, Babalakin describes his adventure into such a huge dollar-denominated venture as a hobby. To him, his law practice remains his main job. He is also passionate about his philantropic activities. He has established a Foundation in honour of his late mother whom he described as imbuing in him a humble sense of nursing and elevating the poor. The Ramotu Ibironke Babalakin Trust commenced its programme in Gbongan, Osun State, his home town, last year with the Free Eye Care Programme at the Graceland Medical Centre.

The programme moved to Owo in Ondo State and is planned to move to Zaria in Kaduna State and from there to the rest of the country. The programme entails intensive eye test, corrective treatment and supply of glasses, where necessary. More than 1000 people have benefited so far, many of them with serious eye defects, from the programme. “I feel particularly fulfilled when people who thought they had already lost their sight were made to see through the programme. I actually discovered that financial inability to treat themselves is the real problem of many ailing Nigerians. It has encouraged me to do more,” he concludes.
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Old October 8th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #9
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Great News, that article is well written and very detailed, the domestic airport is right on schedule and should be a big up for the aviation history of Nigeria and the tourism sector
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 04:55 AM   #10
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@ [anyone]

Hi, guys...this is the first time I'm lurking around your sub-forum. I'm just curious about the overall layout of this airport of yours. I would also like to ask: Is this the only airport in Lagos?
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 01:31 PM   #11
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wow this is cool but where is the existing airport terminal i see no link
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 04:09 PM   #12
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Sounds great! Nigeria's domestic air traffic has huge growth potential. Safety issues definitely need to be urgently addressed though. I remember a programme called "Lagos Airport" on Discovery channel a few years ago. From that it looks like a new domestic terminal is urgently needed.
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Old November 4th, 2006, 09:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cebuano Exultor View Post
Hi, guys...this is the first time I'm lurking around your sub-forum. I'm just curious about the overall layout of this airport of yours. I would also like to ask: Is this the only airport in Lagos?
Yes it is, it was built in the 1930s as "Ikeja Airport" and renamed "Murtala Mohammed Airport" some time around 1979.

Today it has two terminals (although the domestic one burned down in 2000 and as this thread says a new one is being built).
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Old November 6th, 2006, 02:14 PM   #14
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Here it is folks - the construction site as of late Sept. 2006!
I noticed only 3 jetways will be provided (the one on the far left is being installed and you can see it will be totally glazed). As you can see (and typically) the departure level is above the arrivals level, so boarding passengers will have to walk down some nice ramps to reach the jetway and finally board their plane. The announced capacity is 5 million passengers/year but this is hard to believe considering there will be around 6-10 gates and a small number of remote parking stands for aircraft...
On the up side the parking structure behind the building is huge and is connected to the terminal by a bridge. Comments?


Photo credit: Ken Iwelumo (Thanks mate!)
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Old November 6th, 2006, 02:37 PM   #15
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Zexyworm, how did you manage to find that? Great work!

Well, the terminal building looks surprisingly nice to me. (it is still U/C, so we have to wait for the final outcome). But the photo only shows half of the building. I think the building should have 8 aprons alltogether, however, I doubt that 8 aprons will be able to manage 5 million passengers. Virgin Nigeria will have more than 40 planes by 2010 and more private jets like modern Arik Air are comig up with grand-scale projects. Where should all those jets park????


By the way, those old flying coffins which are parked before this new and hopefully sparkling terminal are an eyesore. The governement should finally ban them. We are no longer in late 70īs or early 80īs where it is legitimate to fly with Boing 737-200 and boeing 727 jetliners. IT IS A SHAME FOR NIGERIA!!!


One correction: Lagos International Airport was completed in 1979 and not in the 30īs!: it was a direct copy of Amsterdamīs Shiphol Airport (same architect) at that time and was hyper-modern not just by African standards for the late 70īs/early 80īs.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 03:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias Offodile View Post
Zexyworm, how did you manage to find that? Great work!
I requested someone on airliners.net to photograph it a few months back. He kindly agreed (This photo is taken with zoom and from the international terminal. Apparently the contractor is not letting anyone near the building. My contact is hoping to take more up-and-close photos in December, when he will have access to the entire project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias Offodile View Post
Well, the terminal building looks surprisingly nice to me. (it is still U/C, so we have to wait for the final outcome). But the photo only shows half of the building. I think the building should have 8 aprons alltogether, however, I doubt that 8 aprons will be able to manage 5 million passengers. Virgin Nigeria will have more than 40 planes by 2010 and more private jets like modern Arik Air are comig up with grand-scale projects. Where should all those jets park????
I share your concerns about the number of gates/parking stands to be provided in this facility. During the morning around 7:00am there is around 6 simultaneous departures (excluding Virgin Nigeria and Arik) so it seems half of the passengers will have to be conveyed to their aircraft by apron buses (which is fine as long as they are cooled and modern like COBUS 3000).

Virgin Nigeria and Arik Air are both using the international terminal. Both of them have not expressed any interest in moving their operations to the domestic terminal, at least for now. Can't blame them, they shouldn't trust a new terminal building until it's tested. Given the above there will be less pressure on the new domestic terminal initially.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias Offodile View Post
By the way, those old flying coffins which are parked before this new and hopefully sparkling terminal are an eyesore. The governement should finally ban them. We are no longer in late 70īs or early 80īs where it is legitimate to fly with Boing 737-200 and boeing 727 jetliners.
I am not a fan of the 737-200 or 727 either. However please consider that these planes are safe and efficient as long as they are maintained properly and as long as they have not exceeded their design life span of 75,000 flight hours. Most air accidents in Nigeria are due to lack of training of pilots and air traffic controllers. I don't want to go off-topic (safety of older aircraft). The pictured 727-200 is a cargo aircraft belonging to Allied Air. The 727-200F is a popular freight aircraft used all over the world including DHL Cargo and endless other cargo carriers.

FAAN is facing severe apron-shortage problems hence the creative use of ALL ramp areas for parking aircraft. They are guilty of many things but I think their biggest blunder is allowing abandoned aircraft to rot-away all over the airport. An eye-sore by all means!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias Offodile View Post
One correction: Lagos International Airport was completed in 1979 and not in the 30īs!: it was a direct copy of Amsterdamīs Shiphol Airport (same architect) at that time and was hyper-modern not just by African standards for the late 70īs/early 80īs.
I wasn't referring to the international terminal. I was referring to the history of the whole airport as a whole. Prior to 1979, the domestic terminal (which burned down in 2000) was used as the international terminal. That specific area of the airport with all its sheds and ancillary buildings dates back to the late 1930s as "Ikeja Airport".
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Old November 20th, 2006, 01:33 PM   #17
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Does anyone have the latest pictures? Has the terminal been opened yet?
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Old December 7th, 2006, 12:18 PM   #18
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Sorry, for putting this news here...it is just in the name of African democracy and for peace! I couldnīt help putting it here
So You're Planning A Trip To Nigeria
A page of advice for travelers by Scott Bidstrup Source:
For starters, I would recommend reading the U.S. State Department travel advisories relating to the countries for which travel is being planned, if any are current. The current Travel Advisory on Nigeria makes for some very sobering reading. In reading between the lines, it is apparent that conditions have deteriorated somewhat since I was there. This is particularly true with regards to the armed robbery situation, which is now somewhat worse, and the illegal roadblock situation, which is now far worse. Additionally, the quality and safety of Nigerian domestic airlines, never very good, has deteriorated to the point where travelers are advised to avoid them.
If you've read the travel advisory and that doesn't scare you, then read the Center for Disease Control page on West Africa and it surely will. If you're still determined to go, heed the medical advisories and take the time to have the full schedule of recommended vaccinations. It could save you a lot of misery, even your life.
Before you get on the plane
Get your vaccinations, and be sure you have a properly filled-out vaccination certificate. It must show current vaccination for yellow fever before you will be allowed into the country.
Bring plenty of money to last the entire trip. At the time I was there, you could import as much foreign exchange as you liked, but you had to declare anything in excess of US$5,000.
When I originally wrote this essay, I advised travelers to carry enough cash with them into the country to last the entire trip, as wire transfers are difficult, if not impossible to arrange. Now, however, there is a wonderful alternative to this very risky practice. Here is what a correspondent wrote to me in February, 1998:
"Western Union and MoneyGram are now available. So, money transfer using them is very easy and FAST. I have used both to send money to relatives. Western Union transfers are collected at First Bank of Nigeria, which I think is more bureaucratic and "dash" [read: bribe] oriented than United Bank for Africa, which processes the MoneyGram transfers. Knowing this could come in very handy for someone who has had a sudden parting of the ways with their money or those extra unaccounted for dash expenses. The more money one sends the longer it takes to collect. People shouldn't expect to get it within an hour of transmission like within the US. But the fact that there is an alternative to taking all your money with you is great."
Needless to say, this service is an enormous help to travelers in Nigeria.
When collecting on a Moneygram or Western Union transfer, take the cash in hard currency. The smaller volume of notes makes it much easier to conceal, and trading it for Naira is not difficult.
Conserve cash to allow yourself to pay the "fees" necessary for exit from the country. There is an airport tax and a number of other fees you must pay on exiting, and lots of dashes you'll find yourself having to pay. I'd allow at least US$300 for all these costs. Don't attempt to take more than 50 Naira out of the country; it is a violation of money-laundering laws to do so, and is considered a very serious offense. The airport security will, of course, be happy to relieve you of your excess Naira.
Never, but never travel to Nigeria without a valid visa stamp in your passport, a current vaccination certificate and a return trip airplane ticket. All three are required for entry into the country, and if you lack any when landing, you'll find yourself in really big trouble. Airport visas are not available in Nigeria, and landing without a visa can cause you to be arrested. A Nigerian jail is not a nice place to be.
A traveler who had just returned from Lagos (June, 2002) wrote this to me: "The big thing that seems to have changed is dash. We never had to offer a bribe the whole time we were there. It’s daunting to get through the airport, but we definitely didn’t have to bribe anyone. We were also stopped a number of times by road blocks, but again no bribe, we were just waved through. " It is possible that this person's experience is unusual because she was traveling with a large corporation whose presence in Nigeria is ubiquitous. But let's hope that it is more general than that, and that this traveler's experience is the result of Obassanjo's much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign showing results..
When you arrive
International arrival in Nigeria is always a harrowing experience for a first-time traveler to Africa. The first rule to remember is never, but never, give your passport to anyone but uniformed personnel of the customs or immigration departments. Nigerian airports are positively crawling with touts who claim they can get you through the system easier with their help. Don't believe it. What they are trying to do is separate you from your passport so you'll surrender big money to get reunited.
The "dash" system of small money gifts has blossomed into an entire system of organized corruption, especially at the Lagos, Abuja and Kano airports. What this means for you as a traveler is that you'd best have a wad of US$20 bills handy, and keep a couple inside your passport for when you hand it to customs and immigrations officers. its not technically legal, but I guarantee it will smooth your passage through customs and immigration. If you wait to be asked for a bribe (and you will be), it will mark you as a naive traveler, and the required bribe will be much higher. If you conduct yourself like you've been through it before, things will go much more smoothly.
If one of the thousands of touts that hang out at the Kano, Abuja or Lagos airports causes you a problem, report it immediately to the airport security (they're dressed in brown uniforms). He might be able to help, but don't count on it. And of course, he'll expect a dash.

Civil strife and political instability is a concern. If you are staying in a place where you can do so, it is wise to keep about a week's worth of food on hand, as a coup attempt will result in a 24-hour curfew that can last for a week or more. Those found on the streets in such a curfew are subject to arrest, and even disappearance. This happens rather regularly; there were two coup attempts in the eighteen months I was there.
The important rules of travel within Nigeria
1. Never travel alone. Hire a driver as soon as you arrive in the country, and have him drive you everywhere, even on short trips. If you are stopped and arrested, it will be him that gets thrown in jail, not you. That's important. You can always send a Nigerian colleague to the jail and get him bailed out. If you're in jail, you can't do that. Don't count on getting a "one free phone call." That right doesn't exist in Nigeria. Pre-trial detentions can last years, too. You can simply disappear into the Nigerian justice system and be gone without a trace. Besides, if you treat him well, your driver will quickly become your best friend, and his insights will allow you to see Nigeria in ways you never could traveling alone.
2. Never travel at night. Armed robbery is always a problem everywhere in Nigeria, but is much worse at night, particularly between Bauchi and Maduguri, and between Onitsha and Owerri. It is becoming a serious problem along the Ilorin-Lagos freeway. Daytime travel isn't very safe, but it is much safer than nighttime travel.
3. Never carry all your money with you. If you get robbed, and they find your money (and yes, they will, no matter how clever you think you are), you'll end up penniless in a country that doesn't know the meaning of the words "credit cards," "wire transfers," "ATM" or "bank credit." If you can't bail yourself out of a jam with cash, you can't bail yourself out. Period.
4. Make sure there is someone you know and trust who knows where you are at all times. Never travel without someone knowing you are going, and what your itinerary is. Check in with that individual when you get where you're going. Making a long distance phone call in the country isn't always easy, but its ridiculously cheap and can be well worth it to reassure your colleagues you're safe.
5. If you're going to spend any time on one spot, get to know the local expat community. Your fellow expats can be your lifeline in an emergency and a terrific resource. Spend lots of time with them, and become their best buddy. They often can help you out when no Nigerian can. You're all in this together. If you're going to spend a lot of time in one place, getting to know the local police chief and inviting him to dinner occasionally can get you out of a lot of trouble later on.
6. Never, but never drink the water. That should be obvious, but you'd be surprised at the number of travelers who violate this rule. Always drink bottled spring water ("Swan" water is nearly always available and is cheap), and use it for brushing your teeth. Make sure the seal on the bottle is intact before you accept it from a water seller. Otherwise it is guaranteed to be refilled and probably contaminated. This is especially true of hotel restaurants and room refrigerators.
7. Eat the food cautiously. Most travel books will recommend that you never eat salads or uncooked fruits or vegetables. The principal risk from doing so is contracting hepatitis A, cholera or typhoid. Except for cholera, effective vaccines exist for these diseases, and if you're prepared to deal with it, cholera isn't a threat (the local chemists sell "Unicef salts" which, when properly mixed, will help you through an attack). Of much greater concern is "Montezuma's revenge" and you'll get it if you spend any time there, guaranteed. I never traveled anywhere without Imodium tablets, which seems to work best, and was often glad I had it with me. As you spend time there, though, you will build immunity and the attacks will become less frequent. I can now travel freely anywhere and not worry about it.
Crime and civil strife
Armed robbery is a serious problem in Nigeria, as detailed above. Although the new government is making inroads into the problem, it is still serious, and the possibility it could happen to you is quite real. The best defense is to be prepared. Ask around in the expat community for local advice. They will be your best source of information on dangerous roads, precautions to take, etc. There are serious ethnic tensions in Nigeria, and ethnic riots occur periodically that can go on for days on end and kill hundreds, even thousands. As an expat, you are generally safe, as their argument isn't with you. But if you get caught in one, or find yourself driving into one, try to get out of town as quickly as possible. Don't hang around trying to see what is going on.
Making friends with the local police chief is a really good idea if you are going to be in one spot for any length of time. Invite him over for dinner occasionally, get to know him and his wife and children, and you'll be well rewarded in an emergency. When I found myself in the Bauchi riots, the police chief came looking for me and escorted me out of town with a station wagon full of AK47-wielding cops with their rifle barrels poking out of each window. It was an eerie feeling, driving through that riot, knowing I was protected and no one else was. The police chief can also be your friend when a rogue cop tries to extort you over some minor infraction. Happened to me twice.
Preparing for riots and/or a coup
If you'll be living in a guesthouse or a house you rent, make sure your house staff keeps at least a week's worth of food for you and them on hand at all times. Take care of your house staff, and they'll take care of you. Keep after them about it; often they'll let things slide if you don't.
The reason for the week's worth of food is that curfews are often declared during riots or coups and coup attempts. They are often 24-hour curfews that can last up to a week. Not having food or drinking water on hand can make your life very miserable for what will seem like an eternity.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 12:24 PM   #19
AfricanWarrior
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Official Australia's Travel Advisory

Sorry, for putting this news here...it is just in the name of African democracy and for peace! I couldnīt help putting it here
Australia's Travel Advisory On Nigeria Raises Dust
FROM NDAEYO UKO, CAMBERA Source: http://odili.net/news/source/2004/nov/21/2.html
IF Australians visiting Nigeria adhered to their country's travel advisory on Nigeria, they would have a lot to bring: their own food, their own beer, their own churches and mosques, and their own hotels, and perhaps their own beaches.
Reason: high prospects of a terrorist attack against foreign interests in Nigeria.
"Despite the Nigerian Government's recent strengthening of its counter-terrorism policy, the risk of possible terrorist attacks against Western interests remains, particularly in commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners such as - but not limited to - hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, marketplaces, places of worship, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas," Australia's foreign ministry, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warned its citizens in a November 19 travel advice on Nigeria.
The warning was issued on September 30 at 8.38am Nigerian time and renewed last Friday.
"Terrorist attacks in Nigeria?" exclaimed the usually soft-spoken Nigerian High Commissioner, Dr Icha Ituma, who told The Guardian that "I've not got information about that. Nigeria has never been associated with terrorism. The problem we have is 419."
Ituma said it was "not proper to advise people against visiting Nigeria on any fears of attack on foreigners." He promised to take "immediate action to make the Australian government know the truth of the matter."
"Australians in Nigeria should exercise a high degree of caution. The risk of possible terrorist attacks against Western interests remains," the advice on the websites of the DFAT said. It is also posted it on a website (http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-c...Advice/Nigeria) dedicated to inform Australians about possible dangers abroad.
But Dr Ituma countered: "They (Australians) are absolutely safe to go to Nigeria," adding, "but let them be genuine, not people going to receive inheritance they did not work for."
He said the Nigerian government had done a lot to maintain law and order and keep Nigeria terrorism-free and that civil strife in the country posed no threats to foreigners.
Australia has been contending with terrorism at home and abroad. Only last Thursday, a Melbourne taxi driver became the fifth Australian charged within two years with terrorism offences that threatened the country's security.
Most of them are allegedly related to al-Qa'ida. Two Australians, David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib are detained in Guantanamo Bay over terrorism.
According to the websites, "Australians are advised to defer non-essential travel to the riverine area in Rivers State. The army is currently launching an offensive against rival gangs in the creek areas outside of Port Harcourt... Australians in the area who are concerned for their safety should consider departing."
But that is one thing Australians in Nigeria are not doing, said Dr Ituma. "If it was so bad, then the multinationals would have folded up but they are not folding up," he said.
He noted that the hostage drama involving an Australian was an "oil issue that happened everywhere in the world" - people in oil-producing areas demanding more development.
Many more Australians and Australian businesses are heading for Nigeria. The Guardian gathered from a source close to the High Commissioner that the Nigerian mission in Canberra issues some 100 visas to Australians monthly. Ituma said business leaders he met during his recent tour to Western Australia said they were already doing business in Nigeria.
"While Australian investment in Nigeria remains relatively modest, many companies are showing increasing interest in the growing minerals and petroleum resources sector," DFAT said in its September 2004 brief on Nigeria. It added, however, "real and perceived corruption in Nigeria has tended to hamper the development of a closer commercial relationship."
Australian exports to Nigeria totaled $31.6 million in 2003-04, primarily in agricultural and meat products. Imports from Nigeria in 2003-04 totaled a laughable Australian $122,000 (N12,000,000).
The Australian government threw in some aid including the s******-inducing Direct Australian Aid to Nigeria in 2003-04: Australian $250,000 (N25,000,000) toward the Nigerian Electoral Commission's voter education project.
On President Olusegun Obasanjo's visit to Australia in February 2002, he agreed with Prime Minister Howard to enlarge cooperation to include mining technology, sports training, education and emergency management.
Australia first established its diplomatic mission in Lagos in 1960, and moved the mission to Abuja in 2003.
The DFAT travel advisory urges Australians to stay away from "the central, northern and southeastern regions of Nigeria including the cities of Kaduna, Jos and Kano and the Bakassi Peninsula," leaving out the highly populated and commercial and industrial city of Lagos.
DFAT bases its travel warning on advice given it by the country's embassies, high commissions or consulates. Travel warnings can be withdrawn if the home government believes that threat to Australians have been reduced or removed.
Nigeria is the only West African country specifically associated with terrorism. The advisory on Ghana, where Australia recently opened a diplomatic mission, is nearly affectionate.
"Australians in Ghana should exercise caution and be aware of developments that might affect their safety. As you would in Australia, use common sense and be alert to suspicious activities," the DFAT said.
For other countries, Australians are asked to "be aware of" the potential global threat of terrorism and such dangers as petty crimes and unrest.
The Australian government created a terrorism sub-heading for Nigeria. The mention of terrorism in most countries - even countries like Libya and Sudan traditionally feared by the West - is general and under the "Safety and Security" heading.
Nigeria was listed among a select number of countries listed in the Australian foreign ministry's travel advisory that had a "Terrorism" sub-heading, among them: Indonesia - where three recent terrorism attacks, including the bombing of the Australian embassy, threatened Australian and western interests - as well as "Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank" and Iraq
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Old December 7th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #20
adebayoa
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I will be going to Nigeria in spite of your various articles on the country. Also I doubt if your views are representative of most Africans.
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