Incidence of passengers belligerence and violence targeted at airport staff across Nigeria appears to be on the rise, with the latest involving the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Dan Abia.
In a characteristic manner usually exhibited by top government officials in Nigeria where they crave special treatment even when such contradicts global standard and recommended practices, Abia was alleged to have violently attacked an airport staff in Abuja recently.
According to a statement issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Dan Abia severally slapped one Idris Bashir, a Consumer Protection Officer of the NigeriNCAA) attached to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
Prior to the MD’s assault on an officer whose duty and brief was to ensure he receives the right treatment, the security detail attached to the NDDC boss, Police Corporal Califonia, with service no. 382079, descended on Mr. Joseph Nkayuk, an Arik staff at the Abuja Airport.
Joseph’s offence was that, on arrival of Arik Flight W3 258 from Port Harcourt on May 26, 2014, he had the temerity to deny not only the detail but all passengers who wanted to pick up their checked – in – bags at the tarmac, insisting that they should proceed to the arrival hall to claim their bags.
A statement by NCAA yesterday, signed by its Deputy General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Sam Adurogboye stated that, “According to reports with the regulatory authority, the Arik staff, who was following the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) eventually discovered that the Mr. Abia’s bag has been erroneously reloaded on to another Arik flight by another handler and unfortunately the service had departed.”
It said, “Mr. Joseph Nkayuk therefore went to the NDDC Boss to explain the mix up and promptly the Police orderly pulled out his gun and threatened to shoot while he rained slaps and punches on Joseph.
“It was in the midst of the pandemonium, the NCAA’s Consumer Protection Officer, Idris Bashir, who was on the beat at that time, had to intervene and calm frayed nerves. He assured Mr. Abia that he would ensure the bag is retrieved.
According to the regulatory agency, “After investigation, Idris came back to inform the MD that the bag had been mistakenly reloaded to another destination and would soon be brought back and handed over.
The statement further explained that “the response irked Mr. Abia who administered series of slaps on the defenceless NCAA staff claiming he had done nothing.
“While the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is looking into these reports, we want to reiterate that passenger belligerence and violence are certainly against aviation regulations and would attract appropriate sanctions.”, the statement read.
Adurogboye further said passengers are therefore advised to desist from such acts and instead, forward a formal report to the Authority, upon which their complaints will receive prompt attention.