One of the rare times I made it through the international airport in Lagos with nary a request for a bribe, I was left feeling spooked. After all, during previous visits to Nigeria, I had had valuables seized right before my eyes under false pretenses; I had been detained in a cell awaiting ransom; and I had even once watched in alarmed disbelief as uniformed men with guns boarded my flight and extorted money from passengers, along with bottles of champagne from the crew, right there on the tarmac.
This time, as I exited the terminal, just as I was being greeted by a prearranged driver, a man in plainclothes approached to demand my passport. The driver whispered for me to ignore him and keep walking fast, after which the man in plainclothes flashed a gun under his shirt and said, “OK, you’ll see.”
Sure enough, as we were driving out of the airport parking lot, two men raised rifles at our vehicle, ordering us to stop. My driver ignored them, speeding ahead and barreling through the tollgate. Anticipating the worst, I had ducked, but was relieved to hear no gunshots.