In March (myself &; colleagues from the institution I work for) organised an event at the Sheraton Hotel Ikeja,Lagos Nigeria and we used one of its event hall called the(pili pili).
We had arrived at the Sheraton early that morning and patiently waited for the start time for this event while welcoming and ushering delegates to the conference/training session we had put together for our partners. The lead/conference organizer commenced the 1st session of the event promptly as scheduled and as the usual nature with events held in Nigeria not all delegate’s was yet seated at start time, but we had most people arrived already, so we commenced the 1st session as planned.
A few minutes after this session started a couple of people entered the hall, we beckoned to them to quietly pick a folder and seat to avoid distractions as much as is possible, with the intention to welcome them much later. In just about an hour the 1st session ended for a coffee break and most delegate’s moved to the tea stand for drink /snack, while a few stood around and exchanged pleasantry.
With the tea break over, I and another colleague started the 2nd session with a joint presentation and in about half an hour we were done, but as we all prepared to exit the hall for a lunch break, my colleague leading the conference with a very unsettling look on his face announced to everyone that while we were on tea break someone’s ipad got stolen from the hall. This news was really unsettling and almost cast a cloud of suspicion around.Someone had picked an ipad left on the table and disappeared with it, we took a little inventory of attendees and everyone on the list was accounted for,however we noticed that a young man who came in late during the 1st presentation was the one missing.
I looked in the direction he was seated and left on the table was the folder he picked up at the entrance. When we found this out we contacted Sheraton hotel security and its management to report this incident. But rather shockingly for a so called 5star hotel in the heart of Nigeria's financial capital, Lagos.They acted in a manner suggesting that they cared less nor would show an ounce of empathy. Instead they tried blaming it on other guest present, saying maybe one of the guest at the event stole it and not a Sheraton staff or a stranger who cunningly walked in.
While we struggled to get the hotel management to do something about the missing ipad,it became evident that incidents like these are regular occurrence at the hotel and nobody warned us,as for the hotel crook he knew the porous nature of Sheraton hotel security and lack of care to to protect its guest and their valuables,so he took advantage of existing lapses, something we the organizers obviously were not aware of .Our key factor for making this hotel our choice even though we got charged a lot, was that it was on the mainland and also we wanted the best for our attendees and somehow assumed that the brand name Sheraton can at least guarantee some level of security and comfort but we thought wrong.
To further prove that this hotel security operates rather archaic and unprofessional without a grasp over who or what comes in and out of this hotel, we requested for cctv footage for that room, or at the least its entrance and guess what, they could not provide it. Even to get footage of the main entrance to the hotel so we can at least identify this crook entering the hall or when he was leaving with the ipad they still could not come out straight and over video footage's but kept referring us from one manager to another in a bid that time for our event would run out and we would leave, just like it had happened many times before at other events that had been held in this hotel in the past and people had their valuables stolen.
So if you read this, and for any reason end up as a guest at the Sheraton Ikeja Lagos then you are one of the lucky ones- be warned keep close watch and do take extreme care with your personal effect and valuables.If you think all the camera you see at some of these hotels or possibly around the city of Lagos are working or working effectively, please think again.The lead organizer of this conference (a non Nigerian) is making a formal complaint to the parent hotel Starwood Hotels &; Resorts Worldwide Inc. I do hope this will get the management of the Ikeja Sheraton to act more proactively and ensure guest feel safe and not just welcomed.
In these days of Boko Haram and all sorts of security treats you don't want to be caught in a hotel that will over charge you and yet take your personal security for granted.