September 24, 2014
Egypt Air has apologized for the role it played in the maltreatment and wrongful deportation of a Joshua Kunle Abdul-Azeez, a Nigerian medical student studying in Ukraine, by the Turkish authority after he disembarked from Egypt Air in Istanbul.
The Airline accepted to unprofessional conduct Wednesday when it appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora which sat to probe the circumstances surrounding the alleged negligence, harassment and resultant deportation of the complainant back to Nigeria aboard Egypt Air.
Committee Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa (APC, Lagos) said: ”the error of not ascertaining the final destination of the complainant from his ticket was that of Egypt Air.
”If you are going to London for instance, your final destination must be known before your visa is approved or air ticket would be accepted by airline operators.”
She added: ”ours is that, once a Nigerian is ill-treated anywhere in the world, we must make sure that justice is done”.
In putting the issues in perspective, Egypt Air’s lawyer, Robert Clarke (SAN), told the Committee that though, the incidence of maltreatment and harassment as reported did not occur while the complainant was still in the physical custody of Egypt Air, the issue of negligence arising from wrong routing of his destination in the ticket was a mistake his clients cannot deny.
”Although, my clients made a mistake when his ticket was being routed which had to do with the exchange between Egypt Air and a Turkish airline”.
”However, the boy partly caused the problem for himself when he entered a Turkish airline that was not going to Kiev. He tried to board a plane that was going to Moldova, that was when it was discovered that he did not have a visa to the that destination”.
”The truth is that, we made a mistake on his ticket; that much we are ready to admit and make compensation as appropriate. We wronged the boy. We were negligent and he has suffered tremendous damage for which we are ready to own up and address accordingly. I feel for the young man for having suffered on the account of our mistake of not routing his ticket to his final destination which was Kiev”, he said.
He also hinted that matter has assumed a legal dimension following a notice of service by some lawyers on behalf of the boy, claiming damages in huge sum of money.
”Two weeks ago, some lawyers wrote to the airline claiming a huge sum of money in damages, so as we speak now, the matter has gone beyond the realm of this Committee to a federal High court according to the letter we got”.
Joshua Abdul-Azeez, 17 was on his way to Kiev, the Ukrainian Capital when his passport was seized and torn by Immigration officials at the Istanbul Airport in Turkey for not possessing a visa to his preferred destination, Moldova.