NIGERIANS, 'BRUTISH' AIRWAYS & RESPECT PT. 2

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In my previous post, I expressed my opinion that although I wholeheartedly support the ongoing petition and plans to boycott Brutish Airways for its inhumane and disrespectful treatment of Nigerians passengers, I believe that a more long term approach is necessary to prevent the re-occurrence of such behavior. Consequently, I advanced a few specific actions - a boycott by Nigerians and other like minded individuals/groups of Brutish Airways, its 9 One World partners and its 3 other airline affiliates (one of which operates in southern Africa), a boycott of British Airways interests such as the London Eye and a call for the exit of Brutish Airways head, Willie Walsh.

Although these suggestions are a few of many that Nigerians can take to decisively address this most recent incident, there remains additional issues that all Nigerians must consider. These considerations are crucial to ensuring that Nigerians do not continue to be abused and repeatedly disrespected by foreign conglomerates and even by our own fellow Nigerians.


WHERE IS YARDY'S RESPONSE?
The intolerable actions of Brutish Airways against the over 130 Nigerian passengers occurred on March 27th. Since that day, the silence from official representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to this issue has been deafening. However, as I was about to publish this article, Nigeria's President, Umar Yar'Adua, finally ordered an investigation of the incident. Other than this recent development, I have not read or heard a clear reaction or response from other individuals such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Madueke, or even the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.K., Dozie Nwanna. It is also saddening that the National Assembly's most verbose member, Patrick Obahiagbon, is not on record on this matter. I hope that this changes very soon.

This delayed reaction from the current administration or even elected officials is disappointing, but unfortunately, expected. Many have repeatedly challenged and pleaded with the Yar'Adua administration to communicate with the people it represents - the Nigerian citizenry. Time and time again, such calls have been ignored. Yardy continues to react slowly to situations thus garnering the name "yawn adua" or even "sof'ly sof'ly Yardy". For instance, Yardy hardly reacted to Ribadu's removal from the EFCC. Again, for the third time, I repeat, as president, Yardy does not have the luxury to not react when Nigerians are maltreated by anyone.

Yardy has asked the Minister of Aviation, Felix Hyatt, to investigate this Brutish Airways incident, and I will admit that I am underwhelmed. This is presumably the same Minister of Aviation under whose watch a The Mystery of the Missing Aircraft came to be when a Beechcraft airplane went missing over a month ago. It is yet to be found. I sincerely hope this investigation by the Ministry of Aviation will not be the only reaction to this matter from tardy. If so, that would be a shame, to say the least, because this incident offered Yar'Adua the perfect opportunity to boost his goodwill amongst the citizenry and appear to be a man that represents the people.

Nevertheless, this failure to acknowledge, comment, react, or respond by Yardy's administration and other officials simply reinforces a view I increasingly have. Nigerians cannot wait for their government to get the change we need. We, Nigerian individuals acting together, must find ways to circumvent the minority of Nigerians who support, benefit from and protect the status quo to our greater detriment. We must through diligence, hard work, discipline, perseverance and faith strive to transform Nigeria and the psychology of Nigerians. We must all understand that with or without the help of the government, Nigerians are powerful and can achieve anything we commit ourselves to.

LET US TURN OUR SIGHTS ON NIGERIA...
Nigerians are very passionate about this recent Brutish Airways incident and have used it as a galvanizing force. That is a good thing. But just as Nigerians have focused their frustration on Brutish Airways, it is important for us to take that same passion on focus it on Nigeria. Far too often, Nigerians avoid, with incredible skill, dealing with the hectic issues that surround our country. So many Nigerians are too busy with their hectic lives to pay too much attention to what has been done or not done by those entrusted with steering the national ship. As Nigerians make demands of brutish Airways, we must also remind our leaders that we expect better treatment and support change that will benefit the majority of our nation's people.

Nigerians must also take this opportunity to focus on their fellow Nigerians. This same amount of energy or more must be poured into individual efforts to stop the irresponsible few from ruining our collective reputation. That means applying effort into stopping those who are involved in fraudulent activities, supporting those who work hard and discouraging immoral behavior at any every level. To that extent, I will commend the Yar'Adua administration for creating an environment in Nigeria where people actually have hope that the corrupt will receive punishment. But, much more is needed to protect the interests of Nigeria and its people at home and abroad.

Brutish Airways spent 8.6 billion to build its new Terminal 5 and since it's opening, the place and the airline has been beset with negative press. This most recent incident involving over 130 Nigerians is just another situation that Brutish Airways does not need. As such, if there was ever a time to implement a long-term plan on how to demand respect from the airline, it is most definitely now. Brutish Airways cannot afford to lose market share, particularly on one of its most profitable routes - London to Lagos (West Africa). Nigerians must realize that applying the strategies that I mentioned in the first part of this article and taking small steps like informing competitor airlines that you are buying their tickets because you are boycotting Brutish Airways and its affiliates will have an immediate and drastic impact. It will force Brutish Airways to acknowledge that Nigerians will not tolerate maltreatment or disrespect and will put the entire world on alert, Nigerian government included, that Nigerians are an empowered people and intend to defend our own and our interests.

Go to the petition at Nigerian Village Square
Go to respectnigerians.com and learn additional steps you can take to respond to the incident.
Read Nigerians, 'Brutish Airways' & Respect Pt. 1

UPDATE: It appears that the British Airlines Stewards & Stewardesses Association (a union) is looking at this site quite frequently over the last few hours. If you came to this site via BASSA and would like to comment, please, feel free to do so. You can even be anonymous, so feel free to share your opinions.

UPDATE (APRIL 25): The Nigerian government has stepped up its response to the incident and I have equally responded to the BASSA member who took the time to reach out and offer their thoughts on this matter. Read all about it here.
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18 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

webround said...

when i read thriller books, it's common to find...

"Presidents/Top Government officials who have assisstants whose job includes reading through all the dailies to cull information that will be of importance (politically) to their boss or even information that seems to be currently in the news"

Do we have that in Naija cos it seems like it took some time for government to respond...

it's good though that govt has decided to investigate the matter

guerreiranigeriana said...

...this incident happened on march 27...is it april 22, almost a month later, that they have decided to 'investigate' the matter?...nonsense...what have they been doing in the past few weeks?...oh, let me guess...the preparations for yard-head's medical trip to germany probably was more pressing...

...i hate when people pussy-foot around issues...what exactly does 'investigate', in this case, mean?...how long do they plan the investigation to take?...i am not impressed and hold no hope for the so-called investigation...they could have at least made some other statement that showed their solidarity with nigerians if the matter was found to be true or that they would take some action...nope...nothing...

...i agree that nigerians must be our own vanguards for change...and the time is now, more than ever...great posts ssd...refreshing to hear from a home-grown leader who gives serious thought to solutions-short and long term and very strategic...mugabe should have consulted with you before he started his plans in zimbabwe...it may have ended like he initially planned and more successful...please, keep enlightening us and burning that fire under our bums...

Jinta said...

In yardy's defence, they've been pumping him full of drugs in germany.

i have been boycotting ba for at least 7 years now. it did not help that the chap that was taken off the plan tried to rebook ba

Saheed said...

How could this man try to rebook with BA? (ref:Jinta)... I dont think it is the president's job to even respond. What are ministers and ambassadors doing? We need to know our value.

Doja said...

Okay I am going to be sarcastic(as usuall), just wait until BA has a 1% off offer! On a serious note if people have these kind of problems the government should be able to ask BA why these people were treated so badly, removing one man from a flight is not uncommon but 100+ needs to be explained.

Chxta said...

While I am pleased that our government has decided to respond, I am less than satisfied for the following reasons:
1) For a government that claimed (Ojo Maduekwe on his appointment as Foreign Minister) that the welfare of Nigerian citizens regardless of where they may be is its priority, the response came too late to be taken seriously.
2) It isn't a strong enough response. Why can't they suspend all BA flights to Nigeria pending the completion of the investigation? That action alone would send very strong signals that we are a people not to be fucked around with.

For the love of me said...

Your post is spot on.I doubt that much will come out of it particularly as we know who the minister of aviation is but still I am glad he said something. That minister for information that has been singing ctizen diplomacy, where on earth is he?
In the mean time, we will continue to call for the boycott.
As my favourite line goes, the government has failed us but we will not fail ourselves.

Babawilly said...

It is a shame the way Nigerian air travellers are treated badly. I wrote about my own experience on my Blog on returning from Lagos Feb 2008.

Thans for stopping by, and articulating the problems so eloquently

The Last King Of Scotland said...

once again you are on point

Anonymous said...

I am a purser with British Airways, personally I have never had nany problems with Nigerian Passengers or other Nationalities, I treat everyone with the same respect and understanding as I expect. I was not present on the flight in question, However I am sure the full story has not been presented. For a world wide Ban on BA services to take place the individual must meet certain criteria.. I assure you reader this is hard to reach. Neverthless I enjoy going to Nigeira both Lagos but more so Abuja (I must admit). I find the Nigerian passengers both good humoured and very approachable, may I endevour to say almost with and many are a Btitish sense of humour. In many respects a breadth of fresh air from going to America..... which i say I go to a lot. Any way I can not speak for everyone at BA but I know many collegues whom feel the same, there must have been outrageous circumstances for what happened, I am sorry so many of you were hurt, thats my apology, but you must understand the safety of the aircraf and crew are of paramount importance to my company and also fellow passengers, I do not know what happened... but i sure it was much more than reported.

TheAfroBeat said...

@ Jinta, lol @ your yardy defence. Good one!

@ Guerri, i'm with you on the "too little, too slow" sentiment.

@ Anonymous, thanks for your clarifications as a member of the BA family and from your personal perspective. If there was more to the story that BA feels is not being publicized, then BA knows what to do. If BA doesn't feel the need to explain itself to Nigerians, then Nigerians will accept the testimonies of its own, which hint at sheer disregard for and disrespect of Nigerian passengers' rights.

For the love of me said...

By the way, On the Yinka Craig fund, afrobabe has agreed to cordinate UK bloggers, will you handle the states?

Doja said...

Anonymous... so what was the pilot thinking, that the Nigerian passengers were going to to, vandalise the aircraft, hijack it or fly the plane? The whole thing was unnecessary, if the majority of people on this flight where British and they were travelling from lagos to london and there was an 'incident', would the pilot have asked so many to get off the plane for the security of the aircraft? The only outrageous thing that happened was the action BA took.I usually hate to use the race word but I am getting close.

t said...

Okay, as long as we're boycotting, transit visas are dumb and discriminatory. All it means is that we pay more to get an extra visa interview and worse treatment. I quit transit visas already. You should consider it too.

Check
travel requirements before you fly and choose wisely.

Props on fighting for Naija, bloggerlady, keep up the good work. Help the president, in addition to criticizing sha. Next post?

ablackjamesbond said...

Like Jinta, i must say u r on point again.

However, i would like to say that i wasnt too surprised that the Nigerian government took forever to take a stand on the issue. A government that doesnt think [by its actions and inactions] much of Nigerians being maltreated by multinationals and sometimes uniformed men in Nigeria wouldnt really think much of Nigerians being maltreated in the diaspora.

Charity begins at home!

Anonymous said...

My company never comment or very rarely in public dont hold your breath.....

controversial said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Nigerians should get this angry about what happens in Nigeria. I haven't heard anyone complain about how we treat each other or how the government treats citizens. Why then should I get highblood pressure over BA?

Mba, this is not an issue for me to lose sleep over.

Anonymous said...

what is this damn govnment doin we have candidates that failed in the past elections that are suppose to b given accurate appointments but instead to un merit once.for e.g the candidate of pdp bauchi govnorship aspirant

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