Save Austin Fair Yudala banner
Checked-in luggage losses at Ethiopian Airlines and Nigerian airports, By ’FisayoSoyombo

By News Express on 27/11/2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon

Views: 294

•Fisayo Soyombo
•Fisayo Soyombo

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything” — Albert Einstein.

In life, never say, never! Nothing, really, is finite. On Tuesday November 14, I was discussing with a very senior journalist about why opinion writing space should be strictly devoted to public matters, how the columnist should focus on public issues rather than himself, and how, after writing every piece, I deliberately re-read to rephrase all expressions bearing the first person singular pronoun, “I”.

That conversation held during an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Abuja to Johannesburg via Addis Ababa; little did I know that the return trip would be laced with an incident that would make me break this rule. What would you do if you were wronged and the offender looked you in the eye and said there was nothing you could do about it? And you used all possible avenues to seek retribution!

When ‘security guards’ are the thieves

The return Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET911arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja – via Flight ET 858 from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa – around noon on Monday November 20.Tired after the journey – counting from the hotel – that lasted 18 hours, I dragged my checked-in luggage straight home. Next morning, when I opened it, I discovered that my expensive Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR camera had been stolen. The thief stole the camera and left the pouch, battery and manual for me! Straightaway, I embarked on some Formula One driving to the Abuja Airport, and promptly located the Ethiopian Airlines office. I still haven’t got over the nightmare that followed.

When I told the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) official in that office that I needed to speak with an Ethiopian Airlines official, to complain about my stolen property, his reply was curt: “They are at the tarmac; go there if you want to see them.” By the time I started reminding him that I couldn’t be allowed anywhere near the tarmac, since I wasn’t travelling, it was his back I was seeing, hands on the door, ready to abandon me in that office.

Luckily – no, unluckily – a tall, dark and well-built Ethiopian Airlines official walked in, just as the NAHCO official was exiting. When I narrated to him how I discovered that my property had been stolen, and my decision to lodge a formal complaint about it, he muttered some imperceptible words and said he had work to do. Before I could say Jack Robinson, Mr Ethiopian Airlines Official was on his way out as well, leaving the door ajar and me inside. Never ever had I seen such blithe insouciance by a service provider to a customer. At that point, I remembered the words of a NAHCO official in Lagos whom I phoned the moment I discovered the theft. “Theft of travellers’ belongings is common at Nigerian airports; the airlines know about it, and NAHCO officials are a big part of it. Once they see it in the scanner that there are valuables in your checked-in luggage, they find a way to pilfer it. However, if you mount serious pressure on them, they will bring out your property.”

At that point, I became agitated and opted to launch a one-man protest. Within five minutes of my creating a scene at the airport lobby, a second NAHCO official fished out a complaint form, and it was handed over to me by the first NAHCO official. I was shocked to see this first NAHCO official calmly ask me questions about my travel and fill the answers on a separate form of his.

Then there was trouble. I filled the form and was already leaving when I realised I had no proof of ever filing a complaint. I asked to make a photocopy, but the official said it was impossible. Then I asked to take shots of the form with my phone; this angered him. As I was taking a shot of it, he looked sternly at me and said: “You’re just stressing yourself. You see all these things you’re doing, filling form and snapping photos, nothing will come out of it. And there is nothing you can do about it!” That was after the Ethiopian Airlines staff had told me: “We’re just trying to help you.”

Ethiopian Airlines’ long-running history of luggage theft

I was so distraught by the airport experience that I put up a Facebook post to vent my frustrations. Within 24 hours, five victims of property theft by Ethiopian Airlines showed up. The reaction from the airline has been the same: make them fill complaint forms, then, cover the matter up. The examples are all similar. Apparently, Ethiopian Airlines has been stealing from its customers for years and getting away with it.

Seun Oduloye arrived Lagos on June 6, 2017, via an Ethiopian Airlines flight that connected Nigeria from Dublin via Addis Ababa, to the discovery that an entire luggage had vanished. In that big bag were, among others, three pairs of suit, 13 pieces of shoes, perfumes, wristwatches, ladies’ handbags, dresses and packs of chocolate. In the six months that have followed, what Ethiopian Airlines has done is to dribble her like Lionel Messi, from one office to another. The airline also failed to reply all three letters from her lawyer.

In December 2014, when Temitayo Odusolu travelled from Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR), to Douala, Cameroon, with Asky Airlines, and then flew Ethiopian Airlines from Douala to Addis Ababa and also the same airline to Lagos, one of her three bags went missing. In that bag were close to 10 books, clothes, camera, and an expensive cloth-gift from Ecobank CAR. In a few days, it will be exactly three years since the incident occurred; and despite filling a claims form and following up with different Ethiopian Airlines officials for many months, Odusolu has received neither a formal apology nor compensation from the airline.

On December 17, 2016, Oluwaseun Adepoju arrived Lagos from Hong Kong, on an Ethiopian Airlines flight, to the discovery that his bag had been opened and baby wears removed from it. Thinking that he encouraged the thieves by trusting Ethiopian Airlines enough not to padlock his bags, Adepoju decided to start padlocking his bags from then on.

However, when he flew Ethiopian Airlines (Flight No ET 901) again on November 5, 2017, from Hong Kong to Lagos, having been collected from a Cathay Pacific plane arriving Hong Kong from South Korea, the thieves struck again. He had two brown bags - one big, the other medium-size - both locked with a mini blue-coloured code. The code locks were forced out of the zipper handles, while the trolley handle of the small bag was forced out beyond repairs. Three shirts were missing from a stack of nine new shirts arranged in a white mall-gift-cellophane in the big luggage.

On July 17, 2017, a Nigerian who asked not to be named – because it was a business trip and his company policy forbids talking to the media – connected Nairobi via an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa. Upon landing, he discovered that his locked checked-in bag had been broken, and $750 stolen from it. He promptly lodged a complaint, but six months after, Ethiopian Airlines has not refunded the money to him.

The damage, the demand

Incidentally, as I was complaining at the Abuja airport, aviation stakeholders were holding an ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) meeting in Abuja, where five obstacles slowing down aviation and air transport in Africa were listed as: safety, market access, high fares and costs, infrastructure, and availability of finance. A sixth needs to be added: poor customer service. And for all the government’s noise about ease of doing business, nobody wants to travel to a country where checked-in luggage is unsafe or where, due to human errors/failings, theft or damage to luggage cannot be punished and the victim compensated.

This is a public call to the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to pay more attention to widespread customer dissatisfaction with the aviation industry. It is not just the manner of delay and cancellation of flights that are worrisome: it is the I-don’t-give-a-hoot attitude to passengers. In 2015, I lodged a complaint with the NCAA over a premeditated six-hour postponement of a trip, without even a text notification, by Aero Airlines. Maybe tomorrow, after more than two years, someone at NCAA will call just to acknowledge it!

Finally, this is a public appeal to Ethiopian Airlines: to return my stolen property; and also compensate Seun Oduloye, Temitayo Odusolu, Oluwaseun Adepoju and the anonymous passenger for their stolen items/luggage. It is not enough for my matter to be treated; all four others must be compensated.

•Soyombo, Editor of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), tweets @fisayosoyombo

Source News Express

Posted 27/11/2017 6:22:20 PM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

 

You may also like...
Business writing for entrepreneurs

Ekwueme: Nigeria has lost a great leader —...

$120bn African trade deficit not problem to Afreximbank...

Pictured: Convicted killer saved by victim’s parents minutes...

HURIWA seeks legislation against medical tourism •Says Nigeria’s...

ExxonMobil Chief Engineer dies in blast

Police foil bank robbery, arrest senior bank official...

EFCC arrests vice chancellor of FUNAAB

N458m contract scam: Court orders police to produce...

Number of Onitsha explosion victims hits 12

Military lambasts Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, dismisses...

Insecurity: Okorocha makes case for State Police

 

Latest News Dangote begins construction of job centre in Abia BOI, Unity Bank in court over N150m loan Presidential committee to destroy 5,000 illicit weapons in Zamfara •Over 1,000 destroyed in Benue, Katsina Senate overrules Okpara Varsity VC, orders recall of 400 sacked staff Bankers aid money laundering in Nigeria, says Ribadu Nigeria signs Joint Declaration on Economic Cooperation with European Free Trade Association PDP convention: Reconciliation Committee to address grievances, says Dickson Ijaw youths vow to fish out killers of British aid worker FG’s priority is to create better environment for investments — Udoma Deposition threat, an affront to Ibadan people — Olubadan 15,000 innocent civilians killed under Buhari’s watch — Intersociety •Slams atrocity perpetrators and their agents Lagos seals Chisco, Ifex, GUO, other transporters’ offices

 

Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (300,893 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (285,747 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (230,450 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (193,388 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (183,433 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (170,053 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (147,173 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (132,551 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (130,572 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (119,030 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (115,496 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (112,105 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (33) Business (2,819) Business Verdict (28) Columnists (776) Complaints & Requests (94) Enterprise & Opportunities (195) Entertainment (419) Features (522) Global Business Monitor (193) International (1,687) Interviews (138) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (92) News (30,972) Opinion (845) Pidgin (9) Politics (4,210) Religion (653) Sports (1,381) Stock Watch (25) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

CBN Banner advert

CBN Words on marble

 

 

MOBO Awards

 

APO Group Partner

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement



 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!