PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : December 20th, 2021
The federal government has threatened to take tough action against the Republic of Togo over the ill-treatment of Nigerian travellers transiting through the Gnassimgbe Eyadema International airport in Lome, Togo, following the travellers’ protest over alleged denial of connecting flight.
Some Nigerian passengers seen being maltreated at the Gnassingbe Eyadema International Airport, Lome on Saturday in a viral video have been successfully evacuated to the country.
It was learnt that both the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Geofrey Onyeama, and the Ambassador to Togo, Debo Adesina, had immediately moved in on Saturday after getting wind of the incident where some of the Nigerian passengers were shown being assaulted by airport security operatives.
It was gathered that the Nigerian passengers aboard the Ethiopian Airline from New York got to Lome only to be informed that their connecting flight to Nigeria through ASky Airline was full.
This infuriated the Nigerian passengers, leading to a protest within the airport and for which some of the them were shackled and manhandled.
In the viral video, some people were seen with their hands tied to their backs while uniformed men believed to be Togolese airport security men were seen assaulting a lady who was on the floor.
A man could be heard screaming “This is bad, this is bad.”
It was gathered that Adesina, who was said to have briefed the minister, personally went to the airport on hearing the news of the development.
It was learnt that he, alongside the boss of the country’s civil aviation company, one Colonel Dokisime Gnama Latta, immediately worked out an arrangement for two flights to evacuate all of the passengers Saturday night.
ASky Airline, which is said to be a strategic partner of the Ethiopian Airline, has been facing challenges in the last three weeks due to traffic volume.
It was learnt that the same airline had almost aborted a trip by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, last week when he was on his way to Kenya from The Gambia where he went for election monitoring.
According to a report sent by the special assistant to the minister, Sarah Sanda, Onyeama, who is far away in Istanbul, Turkey as part of the delegation of President Muhammadu Buhari to the third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit being hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, responded swiftly to the sad development concerning the plight of the stranded Nigerians.
Onyeama replied to an email almost instantaneously thus: “Looking into it, urgently. Have contacted our Ambassador.” According to the report, the minister contacted the Nigerian Ambassador to Togo, Mr Debo Adesina, and before long a chartered flight was arranged to airlift some of the stranded travellers to Lagos.
Onyeama, said in another mail that “The Ambassador Debo Adesina immediately rushed to the airport when I called him and oversaw the evacuation of everyone back to Nigeria. Thank you very much for alerting me. God bless.”
The telephones of all the passengers were allegedly seized and it appeared as though the ill treatment of the Nigerian nationals would go unattended to before the timely intervention of the foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama and other top Nigerian government officials. Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Esther Sunsuwa, told LEADERSHIP yesterday that “We will take action against this ill treatment; it can’t just go like that. The Embassy there has already reported to appropriate authorities so let wait and see the outcome.”
Our correspondent however, gathered that the flight that was hastily arranged had since landed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and the passengers had been united with their family members and loved ones.
It is however, not clear yet if the Togolese officials who manhandled the Nigerians will face sanctions for this flagrant ill treatment of Nigerian travellers.
Original report from Leadership.
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