May 22, 2024

Nigerian travellers stranded at MMIA seek FG’s intervention

Nigerian travellers stranded at MMIA seek FG’s intervention

…as NCAA vows to sanction Turkish Airlines over maltreatment

By Dickson Omobola

Nigerian travellers stranded at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to intervene in the ongoing conflict between the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Turkish Airlines.

They made the appeal when Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Mr Michael Achimugu, visited them at MMIA’s new terminal.

A resident of Sweden, Fernando Ngozichukwu, said he was afraid of losing his job over the flight disruption experienced by the airline due to picketing by NLC.

Ngozichukwu said: “I came to bury my late mother in Imo State. By now, I should have resumed work, but I am stranded. I had to put my late mother in the mortuary to return to Gothenburg and start work. My company has been calling. For two days now, I slept on the floor and my body aches. We don’t know when we are leaving here, I appeal to the authority to intervene and save us from these harrowing experiences.”

On his part, a Germany based construction worker, Charles Ifeanyi, also lamented that the authority must not allow Nigerians to be maltreated and urged the federal government to intervene.

Meanwhile, Achimugu assured that the NCAA was seeking solutions to the feud between the airline and aviation labour unions.

Achimugu also said the federal government and its agencies would spare no efforts to call to order any airline that violates the rights of Nigerian passengers.

While confirming that over 300 passengers had been trapped due to the imbroglio, he said: “The NCAA is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the inability of Turkish Airlines to operate flights out of Lagos Airport, due to the picketing of its operations by aviation unions. 

“We will ensure that the rights of Nigerian passengers are not violated. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and relevant agencies that the rights of Nigerian passengers are protected.

“Currently, the NCAA is engaging officials of Turkish Airlines, but we have observed some degree of insolence of the Country Manager, who engaged our Director General, Captain Chris Najomo, in a shouting match, he was even banging the table. 

“This behaviour to the NCAA is unacceptable. At the end of our findings, if the airline is found culpable, we will invoke the relevant parts of our regulation Part 17 to meet out the right punishment.”