Some officials of Egypt Air at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos State frustrated and harassed a Nigerian, Odion Peter Osunbor, and almost prevented him from boarding his flight back to Spain after reporting a $250 (about N142,000 at the rate of N567 to $1) bribe which some of the officials had demanded for his luggage.
SaharaReporters learnt that Osunbor was being asked to leave the queue at the airport on Friday afternoon after complaining about the money demanded by Nigerian officials of the airline for his two bags to the airline’s complaint unit.
In a video sent to SaharaReporters, Osunbor was seen querying the airline officials to know why he was asked to leave the line but the officials gave no tangible reason for delaying him.
Osunbor was to board an Egypt Air back to Spain.
Also speaking on the incident, a family source said, “My younger brother in Spain who supported the TakeItBack movement came to Nigeria earlier this month. He was about to leave and at the Lagos international airport, just for two little bags, they asked him to pay 250 dollars.
“He felt so annoyed, why would he pay such for the bags. He went to the complaint unit to complain. They asked him to do it in written form.
“When he was about to leave, because of the complaint, they now asked him to stay away from the line and he was delayed from boarding as a punishment for reporting some of their sharp practices. The flight was to take off by 2 pm. Being an activist, he challenged the status quo and they were punishing him for speaking the truth. He asked for a receipt; they refused to issue any. The airline officials declined.
“How can an airline official collect such a huge amount of money from their countrymen? They had already checked his luggage in but they threatened to give him the punishment of his life. They asked him to stay outside the queue.”
The source said Osunbor eventually paid the money but was still frustrated by the officials, who refused to attend to him for almost an hour because he had complained about paying the money.
“They collected $250 from him for a small luggage and they were still bullying him,” the family source said.
When SaharaReporters got in touch with Egypt Air, an official of the airline who answered and simply identified himself as Tony, insisted Osunbor should come to their office and make a formal complaint, and it should be to the General Manager.
“He should come to the office and make a complaint; he should ask for the General Manager and make a formal complaint. But we are already closed today, so he should come tomorrow,” Tony said.
SaharaReporters had on November 10 reported how Arik Airline also suspended one of its staff members caught by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for allegedly soliciting a bribe from a traveller in Lagos.
FAAN had earlier warned that bribe-seeking workers at Nigeria’s airports would be barred for life from working at airport terminals across the country if caught.
The FAAN Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, had said this while addressing newsmen in Abuja after an emergency meeting with FAAN’s management over rising cases of bribery at airports.
The development trailed a viral video shared by an American vlogger, Sabbatical, as he called out airport officials for requesting money at different points.
The vlogger had described the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos as “extreme corruption.”