Over hundreds of passengers of Arik Airline staged a protest last weekend at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, for not being airlifted by the airline to their various destinations.
The stranded passengers gathered at the airport terminal and engaged in a protest which led to the disruption of operations at the counter of Arik Air as they prevented officials of the airline from carrying out their daily duties.
Daily Times gathered that some of the passengers had been at the airport for three days and could no longer bear the disappointment they had been subjected to by the airline which made them to stage the protest.
It was further gathered that passengers affected included those going to London-Heathrow, Abidjan, Douala, Johannesburg, Banjul and Cotonou.
One of the passengers, who was supposed to have been flown to Abidjan, in Ivory Coast, yesterday, Mr. Samuel Oseseamhe said that problem started about three days ago following the grounding of Arik’s
Air operations in Abuja airport over the N1.2 billion debts that the airline was owing the government.
Mr. Oseseamhe said that the situation affected them in Lagos as flights operations were also disturbed at the MMIA while adding that as at Friday, Arik officials were still collecting their money and booking them for flights.
He further noted that the airline had not been able to airlift them to their various destinations affirming that after boarding the aircraft for about three hours on Friday, they were asked to disembark saying that they could not fly.
According to him, “The issue of Arik started three days ago when some government agencies said that they were owing them about N1.2billion aggregate and they have not been able to pay them as required. After giving them a warning signal, they had to ground their plane in Abuja, but as at Sunday, they were still selling ticket.
“At the Cotonou airport in Benin Republic, they told Arik Air not to land at all, so we waited till almost 9:00 O clock in the night before they took some of us to the hotel and provided us meals hoping that when we come in the morning, they will actually take care of what they promised us, but to our surprise, we learnt that some people had been here for three days supposedly going to South Africa and perhaps Heathrow airport in London. “
Efforts to get the Corporate Affairs Manager of Arik Air, Mr. Ola Banji, proved abortive as he did not pick calls put across to him as at the time of filing in this report.