Since the closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport on the 8th of March, 2017, residents and guest have been force to use the Kaduna airport or travel by road. What nobody tells you about using the Kaduna Airport is that every trip is longer by at least two hours.
The flight from Lagos to Abuja took off at about 1pm and landed in Kaduna Airport at 2:10pm.
As we walked into the airport, it was clear that construction or refurbishment of the airport was still going on, with workers scampering about, putting finishing touches mostly since primary services like the baggage claim conveyor was speedily moving passenger’s bags around.
Baggage claim brought me to about 2:30pm while passengers joined the shuttle buses provided by the Federal Government.
The bus was surprisingly clean and comfortable, complete with overhead compartment, A/C and everything. As soon as the bus was fully to capacity, we the passengers were ready to go.
Five minutes later “Where is the driver” in that strong Igbo accent erupted from a seat in the front. Without seeing her, I knew she was getting as irritated as I already was.
They had been arguing about whether government was doing us a favour or not by providing these shuttle buses between both airports. I honestly couldn’t careless because I had a 24kg box weighing on my mind.
The driver, looking more like a conductor came into the bus, turned off the air conditioning and informed us that we had to wait for the other buses to be full because the buses had to go in convoy.
“For how long?”
“I don’t know. Open your windows”. He walked away and jumped off the bus.
“But some of us don’t have windows…”.
Ladies and gentlemen this is how we sat on the bus baking in that 40° heat.
After about 30minutes, bringing the time to 3pm, I decided it would be a good idea to use the bathroom now instead of stopping the bus like I had to do in India (but that’s a story for another day).
I excused myself from my windowless seat, hopped off the bus and made for the airport entrance. But trust immigration to give you headache.
“Where are you going?”
“Madam, I need to use the bathroom”
“Where is your ticket?”
“I don’t have one. I just landed”
At this point I was wriggling in my pants and trying not to pee on myself, in public, and at the ripe old age of 32.
“Madam, it’s Medview. Please where is the bathroom, I really need to pee”.
She either saw the desperation in my face or the Lord Jesus touch her heart and she let me in, pointing in some random direction, and I ran that way.
Midway, no lavatory sign in sight, only more immigration officers, men this time. “Sir please which way is the bathroom”. He pointed me in the right direction and I sprinted for the toilet.
Slamming and bolting shut the door, it’s difficult to put in words what this level of relief felt like. “Thank you Lord” I whispered as I relieved myself and savoured the pleasure of it all.
“Oya, time to go.” whispered my internal clock. “The bus should be ready to go by now”.
I zipped up, washed hands and rushed out. Behold, buses were moving.
I ran out and to the nearest bus.
“Madam this is not your bus! Your bus has gone”
In my head and out of breathe “Jesus Christ my only box is on that bus! Is this how I will lose 2 boxes in less than 24hours?!”
Ladies and gentlemen, this is how my chunky self started chasing this bus. I was running and that bastard at the wheel was just driving off.
After what felt like a mile the bus stopped and I caught up. I didn’t even have the strength to be mad and “rake”. I was just glad to be on the bus that had my only “surviving” box.
That Igbo woman made a comment about “where did you go sef?” In my head “Bitch, don’t test me. If you know what I’ve been through in the past 24hour, you don’t want it with me today”. I ignored her and scanned the bus for my precious box.
After ensuring it was my box was still in place and I easier into my seat by the window that didn’t open.
We left Kaduna Airport a few minutes past 3pm and did not get to Abuja till about 5:45pm. Conversations on the bus revealed that these shuttle buses also pick up passenger from Abuja Airport to Kaduna Airport but I’m not sure how anyone will be on time for a flight.
My people, kindly note that it took longer to get from Kaduna Airport to Abuja Airport than it did to get from Lagos to Abuja, primarily because the convoy had to stop occasionally for people to pee! The same thing they almost left me behind for!
The bus driver went refused to drop anyone off on the way and his driving become terrible as we approached the Abuja Airport. To be honest, I have never been happier to see that airport in my entire life.
I’m telling you this story so that if you plan to fly from or to Abuja you understand that going to Lagos from Abuja via God is Good Motors may not only be just as fast but significantly more cost efficient.
I got home at exactly 7:10pm in the same clothes I’d been in for the past 2 days, smelling musty and feeling itch in all the wrong places.
Total travel time from Lagos to Abuja = 12: 55pm to 5:44pm ≅ 5.11hrs
If you have taken a flight from Lagos to Abuja or vice versa since the airport closure please share your experience in the comment section below, if you haven’t and are about to, I’m praying with you. Have a safe trip.
Godspeed and Goodnight.