With my international passport set to expire in less than 6 months, there was an urgent need for me to renew it in order to carry on seeing the world. As with most things around here, that can be unnecessarily complicated. To supposedly make the process easy – and easy being same day issuance, I opted to take a trip to Abeokuta and get it done there cos processing in Lagos can be a nightmare not to be tried if you need your document at short notice.
On getting to the Immigration office, an officer at the gate asked if I was meeting anyone in particular. I wasn’t, and he let me know what was available – 64 page booklets valid for 5 years at the cost at N50k. In order to hopefully get a better offer, I dug up the number of my sister’s old contact person and opted to process it through him instead, only to find out a little too late that my bill was 10% above pump price. When my attempt at haggling didn’t work, I took my L in peace.
If you’re shocked that passport renewal fees can be negotiated, you clearly are not Nigerian enough.
Two hours into my wait, my plug comes to ask if I’m ‘mobile’ – if I had driven there, in local parlance. Before I was done wondering why he will want to borrow my car, he returned to summon us – I and 2 others, into an office to break the news that cos they had insufficient booklets, we’d have to go to Sagamu for our data to be captured, and then return to Abeokuta for issuance. The only other time I had been to Sagamu was that interesting owambe trip a few years ago, and it appeared the fates decided another was due.
After informing my family of the development and sharing the officer’s number, here I am with a stranger’s little kid sleeping on my arm as we embark on this totally unplanned road trip.
So we made it there in good time, and started the next round of waiting. While sitting around, I learnt from a lady I sat beside that processing costs 45k there. Now the interesting part is she got the information from a companion to whom she gave money to make the payment. However, I saw the same companion update someone else that the cost was 35k.
There are clearly way too many Ls to go around today!
At the start of the first leg of the trip, the officer asked anyone to lead a prayer and because I definitely needed God’s protection on this k-legged trip, I gladly did. I must have been good at it as our way back he specifically asked me to pray again. My point is if this 9 – 5 thing doesn’t quite do it for me, please I could also be a prayer warrior on hire. Spread the word at your places of worship and make your bookings now!
Yet Another Sidenote:
Just in case he has saved my number and can see my WhatsApp profile where I have a link to the website, I am not publishing this post until I collect my passport and leave the Immigration office, before they nab me for crimes yet unclear.
Passport received. He still tried to get extra money from me fa, as his reward for the Sagamu trip. I’m tired as hell, yet to have my first meal for the day, but e go better.