By Yinka Ajayi

Nigerians scheduled to be air-lifted to Kano on new year day were stranded  in Saudi Arabia  due to purported “non-availability” of aircraft  for the trip.

Condemning the ugly experience, Hon. Mohammed Kurfi Danlami, a member of the House of Representatives (APC), Dutsin-ma/Kurfi Federal Constituency of Katsina State, who was among the stranded passengers, in a telephone conversation with journalists, said:

“For no justifiable reasons, this flight was cancelled for two consecutive days. The flight was originally scheduled to take off around 12 pm on Sunday (January 1, 2017). But the airline officials appealed to passengers on board that the aircraft was not fit for the journey. We had to  disembark, despite sitting already in the aircraft.

“Worst of it all, passengers were left unattended to within the airport premises. This is clearly a breach  of  International Air Transport Association (IATA) rules. However, around 10pm, some airline staff members came, but they only attended to passengers who had entry clearance visa to visit Saudi hotels; others, including females and children among us, were left to pass the night under severe, painful and inhuman conditions.”

The federal parliamentarian went on: “Monday morning again, the airline said there was  no plane to airlift us back to Nigeria. We were so unfairly treated. I am not even speaking for myself, but for others who have no one to defend or protect their interests, some were even cash-strapped. One painful thing I noticed again was that all the airplanes, on display to airlift Nigerians, were old, at least from my physical assessment. Meanwhile, in the same airport, we saw brand new aircraft being used to transport people from Germany, United States, Canada etc, to their respective destinations. Nigerians do not deserve this humiliation and callous treatment. I will make sure appropriate steps are taken to address this issue when the National Assembly resumes plenary”.

Meanwhile, the airline could not be reached to get their own side of the story. Similarly, the Embassy of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (Royal Embassy Of Saudi Arabia) in Nigeria could also not be reached as of the time of filing this report.

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