In a scandalous twist of events, an Air
Nigeria crew at Gatwick Airport yesterday asked passengers to contribute
£40 each to enable them purchase fuel to depart for Lagos several hours
after the flight’s takeoff was delayed. About 190 passengers on Flight LOS-VK 0292/08 said they were
surprised by the request. They confronted the airline official who had
made the request, and he quickly disappeared from the riotous scene.
The flight, which was scheduled to fly out of London at 9:50a.m,
eventually did so at 5p.m., arriving in Lagos at 12:30a.m. But the
ordeal of the passengers was hardly over. A passenger, Lekan Fatodu said that when they
arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, they
discovered their baggage had not arrived with them. They were left
stranded for several hours before an official of the airline told them
to return the next day for their luggage.
It was learned that the airline’s bag handling service, Swissport,
refused to provide ground-handling services to the airline because Air
Nigeria had not met its obligations to the company.
Air Nigeria’s embattled owner, Jimoh Ibrahim, last week announced
the sacking of over 500 workers at the airline and suspension of all
flight services starting from tomorrow, September 10. Read about it HERE.
Mr. Ibrahim claimed that his workers were disloyal to the company
but the workers said during a street protest that Mr. Ibrahim was a bad
manager who diverted funds given to the airline by the Nigerian
government and is negligent in aircraft maintenance. The workers have
not received salaries since April 2012.