Stranded passengers: Reps summon aviation minister, NCAA, Ethiopian Airlines

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The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, and the leadership of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority have been summoned by the House Representatives over the fate of stranded Nigerians in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Also summoned was the Ethiopian Airlines, which was engaged to airlift the Nigerians back home.

The House passed the resolution on Wednesday in Abuja after a member from Kawara State, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, drew the attention of his colleagues to the plight of the stranded passengers.

Mohammed stated that aside the delay, which had already lasted one week, many of the passengers had run out of cash and were at the point of seeking alms for survival.

According to Mohammed, Ethiopian Airlines breached its own rules and the global best practices on the handling of passengers in the manner it treated the Nigerians.

“Mr. Speaker, these are adults, who have now been forced to sleep three in a hotel room. They have run out of money and the treatment meted out to them is unacceptable,” he told the session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, in Abuja.

While demanding the payment of compensation to the passengers, Mohammed observed that the airline breached Article Two of its own passenger commitment on how to treat passengers in the event of delayed flights.

He added that the Nigerians, who were originally due back home on June 27, were still held back in Jeddah.

The House resolved that the carrier should also apologise to the stranded Nigerians.

Sirika, the NCAA and the airline are to appear before the House Committee on Aviation.

The committee is headed by a lawmaker from Abia State, Mrs. Nkiruka Onyejeocha.

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