Friday, April 25, 2008

It appears that the Nigerian government finally realized that a more decisive response was needed to the March 27th Brutish Airways incident where 136 Nigerians discriminated against solely on the basis of their Nigerian heritage.

On Wednesday, April 23rd, Felix Hyatt, the Minister of Aviation and Transportation, publicly condemned the incident, on behalf of the federal government, and stated the nation's opinion that maltreatment of Nigerian passengers by foreign airlines must immediately cease.

This statement was immediately followed on Thursday, April, 24th, by Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Madueke, summoning the British High Commissioner, Robert Dewar, for a discussion of the matter. There, he "reiterated the [nation's] posture on Citizen Diplomacy" and warned that the federal government "would not tolerate the inhuman treatment of any Nigerian for any reason, even when there are allegations of criminal activities." Madueke went on to inform the High Commissioner that "bilateral relationship which the two nations have enjoyed over the years ha[ve] ensured the [government's] temperate reactions to the matter, but to maintain it, Nigerians must be treated with dignity within and outside the shores of the country." The High Commissioner, Dewar, promised to investigate the matter.

Additionally, on the same day, Harold Demuren, Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), summoned representatives of British Airways. Demuren gave Brutish Airways until Monday, the 28th of April to provide details of the airlines plans to compensate the Nigerian passengers that were discriminated against on the much discussed March 27th Brutish Airways incident at Heathrow airport. Demuren also requested a full accounting of the incident. Brutish Airways was represented by its Nigerian staff, and Demuren criticized "the absence of the European staff of the airline who work in the airline’s office in Nigeria at the meeting." As a result, Demuren terminated the meeting and directed the airline to return with its top officers, and warned that the airline should not treat an issue, which the government is interested in, with such disregard.

I am sure that most Nigerians are pleased to see the decisive action that has finally kicked into gear on this matter. I am especially happy that Demuren demanded Brutish Airways return with its top staff members to answer questions about the incident. The failure of British Airways to send their 'top brass' to the Demuren meeting smacks of disrespect and only goes to reinforce the conviction that Nigerians were, and are, disrespected by the airline. If that is Brutish Airways' idea of proper customer relations, then I will be surprised that any person, be it a Nigerian or not, would travel with the carrier.

Nigerian Curiosity recently received a comment from a member of the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA). The member recently expressed their apology for the Brutish Airways incident and expressed that although they have never had any problems with Nigerian passengers, they believe that a security risk prompted the pilot's reaction and thus the ensuing maltreatment.

While I sincerely appreciate the fact that this BASSA member (one of hundreds that visited the site within hours of Nigerians, 'Brutish' Airways & Respect Pt. 2 being published on Wednesday) took the time to communicate with this website and its readers, I cannot help but wonder what sort of security threat Nigerians would pose on any flight that would require that they all be removed from the flight and that the one man that spoke out about a fellow passengers inhumane treatment, that man being Ayodeji Omotade, who also happens to be a British citizen, would then be banned for life from the airline and not receive his luggage for weeks.

Therefore, I maintain my stance in support of my fellow Nigerians and, in fact, all people who have been and are constantly disrespected by entities such as Brutish Airways merely on the basis of presumed negative stereotypes. Nigerians are not the only ones complaining about Brutish Airways, our brethren from the Carribean and Asia have also been maltreated by the airway and this has prompted others to join Nigerians in boycotting the airline. So, for Brutish Airways to have neither provided a proper response and apology to the Nigerians it disrespected, nor, introduced concrete plans to prevent a repeat of the incident speaks volumes of the carriers attitude towards not just Nigerians, but customers in general.

Nevertheless, I encourage continued communication between all parties to this matter. Like many others, I only wish that the Nigerian government had taken these and more steps much sooner. I have come to understand that many have set April 30th as the day on which the boycott begins. I for one am purchasing a ticket for my mother to travel for a visit to the United States and a later trip to England to visit her family members. I will not purchase those tickets with Brutish Airways or any of their partner and affiliate carriers that I mentioned in Nigerians, 'Brutish' Airways & Respect Pt. 1. In fact, when I spend my money with Brutish Airways' competitors, i will be sure to inform them that they got my money in protest of Brutish Airway's apparent disregard for Nigerians. Furthermore, I have also contacted members of my husband's family who call England home and instructed that they are no longer to patronize the carrier. I believe in taking a stand for what I believe in. No matter how small said stand might be. I encourage others to do the same and especially encourage the Nigerian government to remember that its sole duty is to protect and serve all Nigerians.

Further Reading:
- Nigerians, 'Brutish' Airways & Respect Pt. 1
- Nigerians, 'Brutish' Airways & Respect PT. 2

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17 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Flourishing Florida said...

i always tot d BA wasn't particularly targetted at nigerians. they'd banned Snoop-dg 4 'disrupting peace' (his passport was just recently unbanned), & naomi (dat one cause am sha). But since d attack made on dem, d brits have become as paranoid abt security as americans.

nevertheless, dat doe snot excuse their action. u can't treat innocent pple shabbily just cos some sicko bombed u!

it's good wot d Nigerian govt is doing. it's abt time. wen i heard d news on d radio dis morning, i was happy. yes, our international image is horrible, but if we keep quiet it just makes it worse. not only r we thieves, kidnappers & murderers, we also r weak

Dojaa said...

Honestly I am beginging to fall in love with our government.

Saheed said...

I am impressed that the Aviation guy called BA on their bull by sending mid-level staff (who uses knives in a gunfight?) Utter disregard! Nonsense.

wellsbaba said...

jeez! dis is serious oo...was thinkin BA's hostility was only directed at nigerians n some asians,neva knw they were such prejudiced....
dis BA guys are not serious at all ooo...our govt. called4a meetin n they send nigerian representatives?we don suffer!
make nobody use anything BA again ooo

Chxta said...

Indy seems to have something against BA, which can only be good...

Waffarian said...

Glad something is being done finally. I have been reading your posts and I also joined the petition but I have been too busy to leave a reply. Forgive me.

I hope Nigerians will finally realise that if you really want something to be done, you have to do whatever you can to get your voice heard. I followed the discussions on other websites as well, and I was unhappy to see that some Nigerians were busy giving different excuses why they would still be flying BA this summer. Most of the excuses were basically a small "inconvenience" such as picking up the damn phone and cancelling your bookings. How hard is that? BA is very expensive and there are many airlines that offer cheaper tickets. In fact, if Branson is listening, I suggest he gives a serious discount this summer for Nigerians.

Having said that, I have flown with different airlines, lufthansa also sucks big time with the way they treat their customers. Every time I am at Frankfurt, it is one story or the other, mostly "overbooking". I think most of the time, the airlines contribute a lot to the situation. There is no way that human beings will not react when put in such a provocative situation. It does not matter if they are Nigerians or Norwegians, the reactions will probably be the same. However, you will most likely see and hear the Nigerians because the Norwegians will never be subjected to such a situation.
I think a lot of airlines get away with bullshit when it comes to Africans because they know most of the time, we are "quick" to forget. The Nowergian will be on TV and Newspapers the next day, with people phoning in from all over the country and different "debates" on TV.

If we want people to start taking us seriously, we need to demand respect. However, let it be known that you need to give respect as well before you demand it.

I always do the right thing, I am on time, I am polite and follow all the rules so I refuse to be fucked with for whatever reason. I will expect the staff to be on time, be polite to me and follow the fucking rules as well.

And yes, I am flying Lufthansa this summer as well. Those of you going home, fuck BA.

Z said...

Thank you for all of your thoroughly, insightful, and inspiring posts about this issue. I was appalled by the actions of BA, the immigration officials, and the police. Punishing people who show concern for the welfare of others creates a repressive environment in which individuals may fear speaking out against injustice. It puts all of our rights at risk. I applaud the actions of Ayodeji Omotade and all others who speak out against injustices and human rights violations. It is also good to hear that the Nigerian government is addressing this issue and that others are kicking against BA for their shameful mistreatment of their passengers. I fully agree with Ojo Madueke's statement that "inhuman treatment of any Nigerian for any reason, even when there are allegations of criminal activities," will not be tolerated. I will closely monitor this issue, as I plan to travel to Ghana in June, and ensure that I do not travel with BA until such time as they have met with the demands stipulated in the petition on The Nigerian Village Square web site.

In solidarity, Z.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even hear about this incident. Will have to read up on it.
I'm doing fine, o! Thanks for asking.. it's just been manic. Speaking of which, I just bought this book called 'McMafia-Crime without Frontiers' and I thought of you and Omodudu and that it might be up your street.. :-)

Andrew F. Alalade said...

Got to hear this about a week ago, BA is so annoying. What kind of rubbish is that?
They lose people's luggage, discriminate against many others - thye should be banned from the Nigerian airspace!!!

For the love of me said...

Good. As long as Nigerians keep demanding change, the change certainly will come.

Chxta said...

Yes, as long as we keep demanding change, we will get it. Question is how long would we continue demanding it?

guerreiranigeriana said...

interesting indeed...i am glad that demueren responded as such to the ba's blatant show of disregard and disrespect...nonsense...nigerians are not to be fucked with...they should begin to see such...i hope to see this thing carried out to the fullest extent...if proper action by ba is not taken, may ba and friends burn in hell/go bankrupt...and for me, some pissy ass apology is not enough...the man who was banned for life missed a wedding and had many of the items needed for the wedding...who knows if the wedding even went on as planned...

...and let this be a warning to all other airlines that like to treat africans any which way-lufthansa, klm, etc...the fuckery must and will can be next...clear your eyes o!!!

Beauty said...

"The failure of British Airways to send their 'top brass' to the Demuren meeting smacks of disrespect and only goes to reinforce the conviction that Nigerians were, and are, disrespected by the airline." Is it a truism that only when white people are in a high level meeting makes it effective? Isn't this part of the problem? ps note. I am only trying to improve my understanding.

Management & Board of Directors are listed here for anyone that wants to register a protest.


@ Beauty:
"Is it a truism that only when white people are in a high level meeting makes it effective? Isn't this part of the problem? ps note. I am only trying to improve my understanding."

Brutish Airways top staff in Nigeria are not Nigerian. They are British citizens. Nothing in my post suggested that they are necessarily white as we all know that Brits are of every racial group.

My point, however, was that when the government of any country summons any company for talks, sending anyone other than the officials who are in a position to actually answer questions and provide solutions is disrespectful and in this case a slap in the face of all Nigerians. No more, no less.

If the CEO of your company sent for you and you sent your secretary, that would be rude, as your secretary cannot speak on your behalf and suggests to the CEO that he/she is not important enough to deserve your time. Let's be realistic here, if you as an individual tried such a stunt, you would more than likely be fired and when you applied for a new job, your insolence and lack of respect for others (in this case the CEO) would follow you and could affect whether or not you get a similar job.

I hope that helps put things in context with regard to your question. Thanks and best of luck when next you fly with the Brutes.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Nigerian govt is stepping up. We can't scream racism in America then allow foreigners to oppress us when they should be begging us to patronize their airline. British Airways staff have a tradition of being RUDE, and DISRESPECTFUL to their black clients. A friend of mine flying from Lagos to the US (in 2006) was actually asked to leave the plane because she uses a wheel chair. That's not all, the ignorant hostess told her " you need someone to travel with you, who do you think will assist you if you need to use the bathroom". I couldn't believe a human being can say such harsh words to a physically challenged person. Meanwhile this friend of mine has two Kids and holds a Masters degree, she achieved all that on a wheel chair yet a stupid hostess was so ignorant to understand her disability does not mean she is stupid. Besides, my friend indicated she was disabled in her ticket. In other words, what am trying to say is that Nigeria must take full responsibility for all citizens. I live in the US and I perfectly understand that every society has the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Does anyone know anything about the Nigerian guy banned for life on the same aircraft, the on who missed his brother's wedding. This is not 1900s, Africans wake up and fight the injustices that plague us.

Anonymous said...

looks like i missed all the actions with this ba matter.

Unknown said...

i for one am proud of my government for taking a stand against the airlines. its a positive step in the right direction and i am behind it all the way.
shoot. i use klm anyway.

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