Justice yet unserved 5 years after Egypt Air, tortured, dehumanized, and tore 17-year-old medical student’s passport, while calling him “Bloody Nigerian”.
“It has dragged for 5 years now. No progress no settlement or compensation. Joshua was so affected he refused to fly again. Had to start medical school all over again in Nigeria.”
Joshua Abdul-Azeez, who was a medical student of a Ukrainian University five years ago, suffered racist torture and harassment meted out on him by the management of Egypt Air.
Egypt Air, an international airline having its branch in Nigeria, tortured Joshua for three days, deprived him of food, tore his Nigerian international passport, while loudly muttering “these bloody Nigerians”, then wrongfully deported him back to Nigeria, over an offence that was occasioned by the company’s negligence and incompetence.
Five years after Egypt Air publicly admitted its wrongdoings, the company has refused to take actions towards correcting its racist and repulsive treatment towards Joshua and the trauma he endured in the cause of it.
Egypt Air in 2014 had sold wrong tickets to Joshua, by giving him tickets which could not take him to his destination, Kiev. Abdul-Azeez, who was barely 17-year-old when the incident occurred, was returning to school in Ukraine. He and his mother had purchased a ticket from Egypt Air ticketing agent on the recommendation of Turkish Airline, who had no free sit to accommodate Abdul-Azeez.
Discovering an abnormality on the tickets they received, Joshua’s mother brought the attention of the ticketing officer who however reassured them that the tickets would get him to Kiev.
Unfortunately, in the course of his trip to Kiev and contrary to the “seemingly assuring words” of the ticketing officer, Joshua was deported from Moldova to Istanbul for boarding without visa.
The Egypt Air staff in Istanbul seized his passport, confined him in seclusion without food for days. His passport was torn, and he was called a “bloody Nigerian” in the process.
Joshua returned to Nigeria with no food, no bath or change of clothing all three days that he was held in seclusion by Egypt Air. In a report by Vanguard news, disclosing the experience as share by Joshua’s mother said;
“We went to the airport and truly, Joshua was on that flight, his passport had been torn by an Egypt Air Staff in Istanbul. He was looking very pale, his eyes were sunken, he could barely talk or stand. At that point, I was broken and I wept from the airport to the hospital.
“I couldn’t believe human beings could be that wicked. This happened within 20th to 22nd of August and he just turned 17 on the 16th of August.
According to a source who spoke to the Herald, the horrifying experience took its toll on Joshua. The source spoke of the excruciating pain the family had to endure all those five years having to watch Joshua live in fear and trauma.
“It’s being over 5 years since the incident occurred and still, no Justice has been done” the source explained.
Admission of Guilt
EgyptAir, through its lawyer, publicly admitted its negligence and the wrong done against the teenager which was published by the Vanguard News in 2014.
The report which quoted EgyptAir in part read;
“The truth is that we made a mistake on his ticket; that much we are ready to admit and make compensation as appropriate. We wronged the boy. We were negligent and he has suffered tremendous damage for which we are ready to own up and address accordingly. I feel for the young man for having suffered on the account of our mistake of not routing his ticket to his final destination, which was Kiev.’’
This was after the Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, issued a complaint against Egypt Air and demanded a national apology. She faulted the management for negligently handling the travelling arrangement of the teenager and the maltreatment dished out to him.
In her words;
“the error of not ascertaining the final destination of the complainant from his ticket was that of Egypt Air.’’
Justice Yet To Be Served
Five years down the line and the traumatized teenager has got no justice while EgyptAir continues to thrive in Nigeria, with no regard for her citizens’ honour and dignity.
Joshua and his family filed a lawsuit against Egypt Air, but The Herald gathered from a source who pleaded anonymity that Egypt Air has frustrated the proceedings since the suit was filed. The company’s response towards the proceeding has been nonchalant.
The source said;
“The matter was adjourned by the Federal High Court in Lagos to enable parties explore settlement. This was over two years ago, and EgyptAir has been frustrating all efforts for an amicable resolution. They continue to add salt to injury without any remorse for the trauma they caused Joshua and his entire family. The family could have lost Joshua but for God. He has struggled with flying since the incident.
“The next adjourned date is 25th February 2020, and the Plaintiff intends to proceed with the trial of the matter as it is obvious that EgyptAir and the Egyptian government do not have regard for Nigerians or their customers.”
Speaking on the complacency of the Federal Government to ensure its citizen gets justice for a wrong done by a foreign company, the source said;
“The Nigerian government has also been lax on the matter despite that a Nigerian passport was torn to shreds by Egyptian officials who even referred to us “bloody Nigerians”.”