Pandemonium broke out Friday aboard KLM Flight KL 0587 bound to Lagos from Amsterdam after a male passenger passed out in the hands of two men in plainclothes believed to be Dutch policemen.
The aircraft waiting to taxi off the tarmac had a 10-minute delay, for reasons that were not initially communicated to passengers.
But when the rear door suddenly creaked open with two plainclothes dragging in someone in grotesque shape, not less than four female passengers, fled their seats.
Tolu Malaolu, one of the rear seats passengers who was travelling from UK, told PREMIUM TIMES that the sight she and other passengers beheld would disturb her for a long time to come.
She said she saw an unconcious male passenger, who apparently was a deportee, being bundled in with hands and feet tied.
Mrs. Malaolu, who identified herself as a nurse in England, said what horrified her was not that the deportee was tied but that “both his hands and feet were tied to the back making him look like a cargo and making breathing very difficult in that position”.
It was the alarm raised by Mrs. Malaolu that made the Dutch policemen to realise the man they were escorting to Nigeria was in a bad shape.
Even after the deportee had regained consciousness, the policemen kept him tied in ropes and sandwiched between them.
It was only after Mrs. Malaolu started screaming with more female passengers fleeing their seats that the policemen agreed to untie the deportee’s hands, enabling him to seat upright.
Mrs. Malaolu, visibly traumatized, said that prisoners on death row were better treated than the Nigerian deportee. She asked for a seat transfer.
She was relocated from the rear seats. Three other female passengers followed suit.
They all protested that the Nigerian was being treated like an animal, pointing out that had the policemen used handcuffs and leg chains instead of ropes, the deportation would had gone smoothly without other passengers knowing what was going on.
As the incident delayed flight departure and generated arguments among passengers with some travelers accusing the Dutch policemen of using excessive force, one KLM air hostess told PREMIUM TIMES that the airline was not involved.
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