Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is subjecting motorists who use the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, to harrowing experiences and charging them fees in the guise of making them obey car parking laws.
There are daily reports of towing of vehicles that are said to be parked at the wrong places at the airport. But while some people said they could not find their vehicles days after they were taken away, many others after relentless search find theirs at the two compounds where a body contracted by FAAN keeps towed vehicles.
When a vehicle is towed, the owner of the vehicle is made to pay N5, 500.00 for cars and about N8, 500 for SUVs to the company contracted by FAAN and which is given target by the agency to generate a certain amount of money every month from fines paid by motorists.
The objective of the punitive measure is to ensure that vehicles are not parked recklessly about the airport so that there will be free flow of traffic.
But because this is aimed at generating revenue, FAAN devised ways to rip off airport road users, including air passengers whose vehicles are towed away every day, by not providing adequate notice on areas that vehicles should not be parked.
One, there are no signs designating where vehicles should not park at the airport, so many motorists ignorantly park at available space to drop off people who may be rushing to meet their flights or helping those arriving.
Two, there are no warnings anywhere that indicate that if a person parks car at certain designated areas the car would be towed and the person would pay fine.
Three, there is no information as to where the vehicles are taken to, so when a motorists comes to where he parked his car and he does not see it, he would be confused and shocked, not knowing whether the car has been stolen or not.
The car parks designated both for domestic services at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and the international terminal are inadequate and FAAN officials who collect tolls at the gates of these parks do not inform motorists that the car parks are filled.
So at peak hours, the motorists after paying toll would drive around looking for a parking space, not finding a place may park at any available space only for the tow company to jack his vehicle and take it away.
Because FAAN aims to make so much money from the airport users, it did not make any effort to protect the passenger, inform him about existing rules and did not provide alternative car park when the ones in use are filled.
The activities of the tow company are akin to what the National Union of Road Transport Workers of Nigeria do at motor parks. They are ragged, slovenly and lawless and when they tow vehicles they usually destroy the bumper of these vehicles with their old, rough towing van and equipment.
The workers of the towing company corrode the decency of the airport environment with their anarchic behaviour and FAAN management does not care, because it is meeting the targeted revenue every month from the tow company.