Nigeria to Sanction Turkish Airlines Over Racial Discrimination of African passenger Stranding

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced on Wednesday its intention to sanction Turkish Airlines for leaving Nigerian passengers stranded for over 24 hours at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. The airline failed to airlift these passengers to Istanbul as scheduled.

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and other relevant agencies to ensure the protection of Nigerian passengers’ rights. Michael Achimugu, NCAA’s spokesman and Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, stated that the NCAA is currently mediating between the European carrier and aviation labor unions, which picketed the airline’s operations at the Lagos Airport on Tuesday.

Achimugu emphasized that the Federal Government and its agencies will take all necessary actions against any airline that violates Nigerian passengers’ rights. During a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Chris Najomo, the Director General of NCAA, attempted to reconcile the Country Manager of Turkish Airlines and the unions. However, the airline’s representative displayed impudence, which the regulator viewed as disrespectful to the system.

Achimugu warned that the Federal Government would investigate the incident thoroughly and impose appropriate sanctions if the airline is found culpable. Over 300 passengers have been stranded due to the impasse between Turkish Airlines and the aviation unions, as the carrier has canceled flights to and from Nigeria.

Despite claims by Turkish Airlines that it had informed passengers via email about the ongoing disruptions, some passengers still arrived at the Lagos Airport unaware of the situation. Achimugu stated, “The NCAA is investigating the circumstances surrounding Turkish Airlines’ inability to operate flights out of Lagos Airport due to the picketing by aviation unions. We will ensure that Nigerian passengers’ rights are not violated.”

He reiterated President Tinubu’s directive to protect Nigerian passengers’ rights and highlighted the unacceptable behavior of Turkish Airlines’ Country Manager during discussions with the NCAA’s Director General. If the airline is found guilty, the NCAA will apply the appropriate regulatory measures.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) began picketing Turkish Airlines in Lagos on Tuesday, demanding the reinstatement of staff who were dismissed, forced to abandon their duties, or forced to resign under duress in 2020, including those victimized for their union membership.

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