Human rights activist, Chief Patrick Eholor has expressed strong reservations about the airline companies in the country and the way they abuse the rights of clients.
Eholor, who narrated his ordeal, whereby Arik Air neither transported his luggages from Lagos to Benin, nor offered any explanation or apology, said the Aviation industry regulators must begin to sanction the airlines, as their are clear rules protecting passengers from such careless behaviour. He also revealed that about 85 percent of the passengers suffered the same ordeal.
He said “The Aviation industry in this country is terrible. The airline companies are terrible. In the past, we had complained to the Press about the illegalities where people are not properly checked before they board flights, where people sell and buy tickets without proper documentation.
“So yesterday, I almost missed my flight, because the desk has been closed. However, someone offered to open the ticket door for me, ans I am going to pay N20, 000.
“However, when we arrived Benin, 85 percent of passengers didn’t have their luggages transported in the plane with them. There are rules and regulations in the Aviation industry, and either the people are myopic or they are naive that they don’t demand for it.
“When your luggage don’t arrive, there are certain incentives for toiletries that the airlines should give to you. If you are ill, there are certain provisions they are going to mad to assist you with doctors who will hell you because your medication didn’t arrive with you.
“But to my surprise, nobody offered an apology, nobody explained the reasons why our luggages did not arrive, so I had to do a video that went viral, over 42 million people viewed it within the past 48 hours.
“You are also aware, as I have told the media, how porous, how insecure our airlines are. I wrote the Minister of Aviation, I wrote the Presidency, complaining that the last time I traveled here, there was electricity in Edo Airport. That now prompted Godwin Obaseki to buy generator for Edo Airport. Our luggages were not checked properly, some of us could have had lighter, firearms, weapons that aren’t allowed into the plane.
“That could also give room for terrorism and terrorists who could bring down the plane, or take passengers to ransom. This is why I am saying that airlines be advised that there are rules and regulations that they should apply to operate in the Aviation industry. If they do not begin to respect the rights of their passengers, I will have no choice than institute a class law action suit against Arik and others.
“Aero are so very notorious for canceling flights without any prior notice to passengers. I cannot even point out one excellent airline here that Nigerians can count on or bet on for reliability.”
He cited some of the rules of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to include passengers’ right to the full value for your money; right to compensation for flight cancellation, delays, damaged/loss baggage and denied boarding for reasons other than technical, weather conditions, air traffic control restrictions, security risks and industrial disputes that affect the operation of the flight, and the right to book and confirm tickets with an airline of your choice.
He added the following- right to seek redress for all irregularities during your flight; the right to timely feedback in respect of matters/complaints lodged with service providers; the right to be fully informed about flight status, and the right to be treated with respect and dignity irrespective of race or physical condition.