Hanging around the neck of the traveller was a very sophisticated Nikon camera. Excited to be in Nigeria, the tourist took snapshots of his favourite scenery wherever he went. All he wanted to do was create postcards for family and friends with these pictures as ‘proof’ of a time well spent on a long deserved vacation in Calabar and Abuja.
But halfway through his jamboree, he got arrested for pointing a camera at the wrong building. Slammed with a heavy fine at the police station, his wonderful vacation took an unpleasant turn south.
This story is fiction but it can be your reality if things go wrong. To prevent yourself from getting caught for taking pictures, here are a few places where using your camera in Nigeria is a no-no.
Even from the ambiance, you should think twice before attempting to take any picture of a military barracks whether it is the army, Navy or air force. You can only imagine what they will do to you if they actually catch you. They may scold you if you are apprehended and you may have to forfeit the pictures or camera.
People on trains
If you are in Nigeria for the first time or a visitor to Lagos and you see people sitting atop, standing between its coaches or even hanging from the doors of a moving train, don’t be surprised, don’t express shock. Turn around and walk away. If you don’t want to be pelted with stones and abuse, keep your camera stowed away in a purse. The police is doing its best to arrest this but in the meantime, do what you can to stay safe.
Policemen and LASTMA on duty
Many pictures and videos taken of the Police and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has led to their dismissal from the force. For this reason, uniformed men fidget at the sight of a camera. The brave ones that dare take pictures do it secretly and with utmost care. If you are caught, your phone may be seized. So, even if you have good intentions, keep your camera in your bag. It is not even advisable to carry your camera around your neck.
Even though the entire government secretariat can’t be policed, taking pictures there is considered a security breach. To be on the safe side, it is better to request permission officially before taking any pictures. Otherwise you may be tagged a spy when caught in some of this sensitive places.
Nigeria’s airport is supposed to be the gateway into the country so visitors should be able to freely take pictures of their arrivals and perhaps departure at the terminal. However, a different scenario plays out in Nigeria’s airports. The reason for this is because the airport is a high security zone so it’s best to wait until you are a good distance from the terminal before pulling out that device.
Credit: this article was sent in by Adeniyi Ogunfowoke, Writer at Jovago.