Nigeria summons Egyptian ambassador, demands apology over maltreatment of teenager

Nigeria summoned the Egyptian ambassador Thursday to protest the maltreatment of a 17-year-old Nigerian by Egypt’s national carrier, Egypt Air.

The foreign ministry summoned the Egyptian ambassador, Ashraf Salama, to formally lodge a protest over the treatment meted out to Joshua Abdul-Azeez, and demanded an unreserved apology from the Egyptian Government.

The Minister of State 1, Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri, accused Egypt Air of “child-abuse” for starving the young Nigerian of food for three days, after wrongly routing his air ticket.

She said it was unacceptable that Egypt Air had failed to respond to repeated enquiries from the Nigeria Embassy in Cairo on what led to the treatment of the Nigerian.

The Nigerian authorities had sought explanation from the airline on reports that the Nigerian passport of the 17-year-old Nigerian was torn to shreds by a staff of Egypt Air in Istanbul, Turkey.

Ms. Onwuliri expressed dismay that the Egyptian ambassador’s initial reaction to the issue was to question the authenticity of local media reportage on the Nigerian who was treated like “a common criminal’’ by Egypt Air.

“Egypt and Nigeria are friendly countries and they have built this friendship over the years, but I don’t think we should allow things like this to happen,” she said.

“You (the ambassador) are worried about four pages of newspaper report on the issue, but I am surprised that you are not worried that a Nigerian passport was torn by an official of Egypt Air.

“I am surprised that you are not worried that a young boy, a Nigerian citizen, was left without food and water by an airline operated by your government.

“I am really surprised at you Mr. Ambassador,’’ she said.

The minister told the ambassador that the Nigerian government would not hesitate to demand compensation for the citizen when it concludes investigation on the matter.

“One Nigerian citizen is important to us and part of our multi-track diplomacy is that every Nigeria everywhere must be fully accounted for.

“The young boy in questions was going back to school in Ukraine and he complained here that he was issued the wrong ticket.

“Did you (Egypt Air) employ people who cannot read tickets and issue correct codes even after complaints,’’ she said.

The minister therefore demanded a formal explanation from the Egyptian government, which had 100 per cent control of Egypt Air.

In his defence, the Egyptian ambassador earlier blamed the Nigerian media for escalating a “small incident’’ involving a Nigerian passenger and Egypt Air.

Mr. Salama said that a Nigerian newspaper devoted four-pages to the issue.

He said the embassy had contacted Egypt Air and his home government on the incident but had yet to receive a formal report.

“We have respect for our Nigerian brothers and if this incident really happened, we will see who is responsible and punish accordingly.

“But we must taste and verify the credibility of the news report on the issue before we make a judgment,’’ he said.

Mr. Salama called for restraint from the Nigerian authorities on the issue, saying “I do not think this incident should escalate so much to affect our good relations built over the years.

“We have been supporting and standing by each other and I think we should continue that way,’’ he said.

He told the foreign minister that so many Nigerians travel to Egypt every day, adding “we have 16 flights daily and seven daily flights from Cairo to Abuja.’’


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  • Usman H Dukku

    This behaviour is typical of Egypt Air. I am a witness to as well as a victim of their maltreatment of their passengers. That is the reason I avoid the airline whenever it is possible to do so.

    • Ashibogu

      #EgyptAirHaram

    • Ladi

      Not just Egypt Air, please, almost all the airlines violate passengers’ rights in Nigeria.
      The airlines operate with absolute confidence that they’ve pocketed officials of NCAA.
      NCAA officials don’t need sermon; a good few need sacking. That is the whole truth.

      • Victor Okon Esin

        i have never experienced neglect by any airline….except for delayed flights. ..i once missed a flight with etihad and it was completely my fault because i forgot to re-set my wristwatch on transit in Abudabi….but the airline gave me a new ticket and 3 square meals completely free of charge. the point i am making is that nigerians can be saucy/rude when communicating with foreigners outside Nigeria and this sometimes angers those officials who eventually may act irrationally.

        • Olukay Success

          you must be full ,for you unwanted comment, if this happen to your family what will you do

          • Victor Okon Esin

            you no see your sense? even spelling you no sabi

  • Dr. Anuoluwa

    HEADS MAY ROLL AT NIGERIA’S NCAA

    For so long as airlines bribe NCAA officials with free tickets and cash favours the Consumer Protection Unit of NCAA will remain worse than useless. Petitions submitted by injured and aggrieved airline passengers to that moribund Consumer Protection Unit department are instead used by the NCAA officials to extort bribes and favours for themselves from airlines.

    The effect is that petitions are either suppressed or ignored; without updates or replies to the aggrieved passengers.

    This case will prise open the rot in the NCAA Consumer Protection Unit whose Director may have to show records of prior performance on the job. The Vanguard newspaper, which devoted four whole pages to the maltreatment of this 17-year-old teenager by Egypt Air, did a patriotic favour by spotlighting the Consumer Protection Unit of NCAA whose officials are mostly known to protect their own bribes, for the most part.

    • Felix Angu

      Dr. Anoluwa,

      Yeah, i read the story myself. I was very angry too. That teenager might be scarred for life.
      NCAA Consumer Protection Directorate thrives in frauds for two reasons. One is that the
      the Minister of Aviation neglects official oversight duties. Were the Minister very diligent to
      to demand daily reports on complaints filed, frauds will be minimized. The Minister will know

      how long it takes the Consumer Protection Directorate to resolve each complaint filed.

      The second reason is that the NCAA Consumer Protection Directorate is un-accountable to
      the general public. It does not publish complaints received or the results of its arbitration.
      Having created complete darkness over its activities the NCAA Consumer Protection Directorate
      thrives without check in bribery and corruption. Already, the family of this teenager has filed a
      petition with NCAA Consumer Protection Directorate on this case. All eyes are now on NCAA.

    • F.A

      Yeah, i read the story myself. I was very angry too. That teenager might be scarred for life.
      NCAA Consumer Protection Directorate thrives in frauds for two reasons. One is that the
      the Minister of Aviation neglects official oversight duties. Were the Minister very diligent to
      to demand daily reports on complaints filed, frauds will be minimized. The Minister will know
      how long it takes the Consumer Protection Directorate to resolve each complaint filed.

      The second reason is that the NCAA Consumer Protection Directorate is un-accountable to
      the general public. It does not publish complaints received or the results of its arbitration.
      Having created complete darkness over its activities the NCAA Consumer Protection Directorate
      thrives without check in bribery and corruption. Already, the family of this teenager has filed a
      petition with NCAA Consumer Protection Directorate on this case. All eyes are now on NCAA.

      • Berebe

        “The majority of 170 million Nigerians will continue to suffer on the fringe of life,

        whilst less than 200,000 Nigerians live in opulence on bribes; or, steal the treasury.
        Official bribery and theft is a zero-sum game negating the purpose of government.
        Worse than that, and by arithmetic progression, official bribery theft will sooner or later

        strip Nigeria of its existential means.”

        ………………..Alan Bickersteth
        (February 11th, 2014)

      • Ashibogu

        EgyptAirHaram

    • Valentine Anene Okwu

      “The only way to stop us from stealing is to stone us. The Nigerian followers
      are as guilty as the Nigerian leaders. The Nigerian institutions are all compromised,
      and there is no alternative to them as it is. Nigerians appear not to be against stealing
      and corruption, but only against how long you stay stealing and being corrupt.
      Don’t ever expect those in public office to fight corruption on these facts.”

      ….…..Governor Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers state)
      (June 30th, 2014)

  • Ashibogu

    #EgyptAirHaram

  • Olukay Success

    EgyptAir Boko Haram Becareful of them