Egypt Air Admits Guilt Over Deportation of Nigerian Student

EGYPT Air Wednesday admitted wrong doing in the circumstances leading to the maltreatment and wrongful deportation of Joshua Kunle Abdul-Azeez, a Nigerian medical student who is studying in the Ukraine by the Egyptian authorities.

The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Wednesday waded into the matter.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta has summoned the Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Steve Oru over poor handling of road contracts and why the ministry has not commissioned a single project since it was created in 2009.

The House Committee which has intervened into the matter following a complaint brought to the parliament against Egypt Air, met with representatives of the airline to ascertain the remote circumstances surrounding the alleged negligence, harassment and resultant deportation of the complainant back to Nigeria aboard Egypt Air.

Abdulazeez was reported to have been detained, starved for four days and his passport allegedly torn to shreds.

In his submission, the representative of Egypt Air, Robert Clarke (SAN), told the Committee that though, the incident of maltreatment and harassment as reported did not occur while the complainant was still in the physical custody of Egypt Air, the issue of negligence arising from wrong routing of his destination in the ticket was a mistake by his client.

He added: “Although, my clients made a mistake when his ticket was being routed which had to do with the exchange between Egypt Air and a Turkish airline, but the boy partly caused the problem for himself when he entered a Turkish airline that was not going to Kiev. He tried to board a plane that was going to Moldova, that was when it was discovered that he did not have a visa to that destination.

“The truth is that, we made a mistake on his ticket that much we are ready to admit and make compensation as appropriate. We were negligent and he has suffered tremendous damage for which we are ready to 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,” he said.

The attorney however told the panel that matter has assumed a legal dimension following a notice of service by some lawyers on behalf of the boy, claiming damages in huge sum of money.

Specifically, Joshua Abdul-Azeez, 17 was travelling to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital when his passport was seized and allegedly torn by Immigration officials at the Istanbul Airport in Turkey for allegedly not possessing a visa to his destination, Moldova.

Chairman of the Committee on Niger Delta , Warman Ogoriba on Monday began a week-long investigation into the award of contracts by the ministry, competence of contractors handling jobs, progress made as well as monies so far spent.

The investigation has uncovered several alleged irregularities in the award of contracts by the ministry.

For instance , it was discovered that a contract for a 17.5km road was bided for and won by a company, Messrs Triacta Plc but the Ministry chose to deal wholly with a sub-contractor, Heartland Plc who entered into what the panel said was a suspicious partnership agreement with Triacta Plc among other misdemeanor.

In his reaction to the revelation that Heartland which now handles the contract did not participate in the biding process nor win it, Ogoriba stated that, “though, we may not have the whole details as to the legality of what the ministry has done by dealing wholly with a sub-contractor and shutting out the main contractor, we know that such an arrangement leaves much to be desired and we will get to the bottom of it”.

Explaining the ministry’s involvement in the alleged subversion of due process, the Director of Infrastructure in the ministry, Nelson Orvhovi produced documents, saying that “the Ministry approved the partnership agreement between Triacta and Heartland”.

But the Director could not explain why the Ministry chose to sideline the main contractor and deal directly with the sub-contractor.

The minister and representatives of Triacta are expected to appear before the Committee tomorrow to shed light on the issues raised during the probe.

Source : The Guardian