Breaking News:U.K. group to blacklist BA over ill-treatment

From the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper: Tuesday 29 April 2008.

Following the outcry generated by the inhumane treatment meted to some Nigerians aboard a British Airways (BA) flight last month, the foremost African charity campaigning against the abuse of African children in the United Kingdom, Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA), has said it will never allow its staff to fly on any BA flights, until the airline stops the ill-treatment of deportees on its flights.

Speaking to The Guardian on Tuesday, AFRUCA’s Director, Debbie Ariyo said: “Even though we don’t use BA often and do not usually spend more than �5,000 flying with them every year, but they will never get anything from us again.” Ariyo also stated that AFRUCA would encourage its partners and supporters to take a similar stand. “We’re targeting only 60 people and even if it’s just a little, we will deny BA of that money.” In a separate press statement, AFRUCA also highlighted the plight of deportees who were trafficked away from their countries.

For more information, visit the Guardian Newspaper on wednesday 30th April.

UK Group to blacklist BA

3 217 Nigerians Unite against British Airways on Facebook

By Adeola Aderounmu.

More than 3, 800 Nigerians have signed a petition on the Nigerian Village Square to protest the maltreatment of Nigerians on a BA Flight on March 27 2008.

see link here

On Facebook , More than 2, 300 Nigerians have joined the group calling for a life-time boycott of BA Flights. Some individuals have suggested that BA should not be allowed to fly on the London-Lagos route for at least 1 year.



BY ANDERS FALKIRK, METRO NEWSPAPER, Stockholm-Sweden. Monday 28 April, 2008

Six Scary examples from Newark to Delhi

The METRO newspaper made a list of the 6 worst airports around the world.


Since the inauguration at the end of March 2008, Terminal 5 had set a new record for dysfunctionality. Nothing is working and baggage handling is the worst of all the unpalatable situations. Imagine sending 19 000 bags and luggage to Milano for sorting!!!


Very short runway for landing


This terminal stinks! Poor hygiene and extremely jam-packed. It reminds you of an iron-smelting company of the 1800 centuries.


The passport control here is terrible. The passport and immigration workers do not smile. They are just not nice to you. Don’t stand on the wrong queue at this airport!

The signs at this airport will eventually get you lost. They are confusing. The food is expensive and it takes a day’s journey to walk from one terminal to the next.

There are very few shops at Arlanda airport. Even SEVERAL local airports are better than ARLANDA in terms of shops and shopping comfort.

(Metro, Stockholm)

Nigerian Govt gives British Airways Ultimatum

From The Nigeria Village Square

FG Declares War On British Airways

[Shola Adekola, Lagos – 25.04.2008 ]

The British carrier, British Airways, is in trouble as the Federal Government’s hammer may fall on it over the bad treatment it meted out to about 130 Nigerian passengers on board one of its flights in London Heathrow Airport on March 27. The indication came on Thursday when the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, summoned the airline management the issue.

At the meeting, the British carrier was asked to behave well in treating Nigerian passengers or get sanctioned by the Federal Government.

The foreign carrier was also given between now and next Monday to furnish the director-general with information on its compensation plan for the affected passengers.

Besides this, the airline was asked to give full details on the March 27 incident and also give detailed operation with regard to flight schedule, its actual arrival and departures in the last six months.

Other offences the airline was accused of by Nigerian passengers and across the globe include baggage delays, flights cancellation, overbooking, among others.

Leading the BA officers to the meeting was one Mr Tunji Seymour,Peku Willie Emretane. The NCAA boss at the meeting frowned on the absence of the European staff of the airline who work in the airline’s office in Nigeria at the meeting.

The airline had in its reaction attributed its behaviour to the attitude of the Nigerian passengers, which it claimed, could pose security risk.

Bamidele Aturu’s article on Gani Fawehinmi @ 70

He has been jailed more than any Nigerian, living or dead, not for stealing public funds or for any crime but for challenging infamy in government; he has been tear-gassed several times; humiliated on countless occasions and brutalised times without number. Yet he remains undaunted, unshaken and unwavering in his single-minded pursuit of the common good. I wish him more years of fruitful contributions to the progress of this country. Gani, may God multiply your kind in our midst.

By Bamidele Aturu in the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper, 23rd April 2008.

CHIEF Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, friend of the toiling masses, fearless advocate, humanist par excellence, irrepressible enemy of oppressors, human rights crusader of inimitable courage, unassuming philanthropist, and an indefatigable patriot of unparalleled commitment is 70. This is really something to cheer about. To begin with, given the harassment, physical and psychological torture inflicted on him and his family by the Nigerian state, not many people thought that he would live to mark his 60th birthday not to talk of being with us at 70. Whatever the state of his health may be, this is an occasion that the masses and their friends must celebrate to high heavens.

Gani, as he is fondly called by his admirers and foes alike, is a unique Nigerian in a number of respects. Here is one Nigerian who lives his life for the good of the country only in every way. At great personal risks to himself he dared the military adventurers who usurped political power and imposed the authoritarian ethos of the garrison on our people. A consummate social critic that he is, he has never been caught pushing positions for selfish reasons or for the mere purpose of attracting attention to himself as many gallingly do these days.

I have told several people before and I believe it is appropriate to repeat it during this festive occasion that Gani is the only lawyer that I know, living or dead, who does not take a position on national issues simply because he is protecting the interest of a present or prospective client. These days one frequently read opinions that amount to hankering for briefs among lawyers or that is nothing but indecent defence of the interest of an existing client. I have had cause to disagree with this great African on some national issues, but as I told him on some of those occasions, I knew that he was merely expressing his deep and genuine convictions. Happily, those occasions were very few. I challenge anyone with a contrary opinion to express it now, I wish I could take the liberty of a priest to add the phrase, ‘or never’.

He is not one to refrain from expressing unpopular positions. In recent times he has been challenged and even excoriated by many for some of his positions that go against the general tide of public opinion. One thing that is clear is that one cannot miss his nationalistic fervour and passion in any of his interventions and commentaries. Beyond that, a nation without an avant-garde like Gani who sets agenda and thinks ahead will soon atrophy. As a human being he does not claim to be without his own flaws. The truth, however, is that compared with many people in his generation and generations behind him, Gani is closer to a saint.

Gani is a very solicitous and caring person. Several thousands of indigent people, and I am not exaggerating, have benefited from his large heart. Personally, it was Gani that paid my law school fees, an act of benevolence for which I shall remain eternally grateful. As a law student at Ife, when the power that be had made it clear that I could not get regular employment by seizing my NYSC Discharge Certificate after my first degree, Gani placed me on a monthly stipend that did not fail once. Even while still on his sick bed in far away London Gani still looked after the welfare of several people. For example I know that he ensures that the medical bills of his sister who had taken ill before him are settled promptly.

It is not an exaggeration to state that all Nigerians, without any exception whatsoever, have benefited from his legal activism. This is so because he is the doyen of public impact litigation in this country. Regardless of the narrow conception of the doctrine of locus standi by the superior courts, Gani has used the instrumentality of the law and the court to challenge every form of misbehaviour in government. Thanks to his persistence, it would appear that the doctrine has been relaxed in the case of the dollar Ministers filed by him. There is no Nigerian, again living or dead, that has challenged governments and their policies in court on matters that are not personal than Chief Gani Fawehinmi. He has expanded our legal frontiers in such a way that every branch of the law bears his imprint.

This is not the appropriate forum to discuss his forensic skills. I have already accepted the challenge thrown at me by no less a person than Odia Ofeimun, the well-known poet, to do his biography. It suffices however to recall how he used his skills in court to get us back to school after the authorities at Ife dismissed us apparently for not learning what our parents asked to go there to learn. In the midst of his arguments, he suddenly pointed to the ceilings and told the court that ‘what these boys dismissed by the University are saying is that this roof should not collapse on your Lordship’. The ceiling, unknown to any of us and perhaps the judge too at the time, was caving in. Everybody laughed, but he had made his point. We won our case and that is one of the reasons why I am today a lawyer. That was vintage Gani. He would use any lawful means to secure justice for the downtrodden.

His courage is scary. One incident that will forever remain etched in our collective memory was the scene at Yaba, under the military, where he lay down on the ground and dared the security personnel drafted to quell a public protest to run over him with their armoured tank. Thank God, they did not. But that underlines his willingness to pay the supreme sacrifice in the defence of the oppressed.

He has been jailed more than any Nigerian, living or dead, not for stealing public funds or for any crime but for challenging infamy in government; he has been tear-gassed several times; humiliated on countless occasions and brutalised times without number. Yet he remains undaunted, unshaken and unwavering in his single-minded pursuit of the common good. I wish him more years of fruitful contributions to the progress of this country. Gani, may God multiply your kind in our midst.

• Aturu, a legal practitioner, lives in Lagos

Our Lives in our hands…

By Adeola Aderounmu.

If Umaru Yar’Adua keeps flying to Germany every other day for medical checkups and randomized treatments, there is definitely no hope yet for the Nigerian masses plagued by poverty and very serious health infirmities. If the one in whom we entrust our health care seeks succour beyond the borders of Nigeria (and in fact Africa) then the rest of us must know that our lives are in our hands.

Shame which is a virtue in Nigerian politics is the only word that I found to describe this action of the number one citizen in Nigeria. It is a clear revelation of the gross incompetence of Umaru not just as an individual but as an administrator or ex-governor. For example, if I was the former governor of Katsina State for 8 years, I would have used my influence and position to build a specialized hospital to take care of my peculiar health needs. By so doing, I would have provided a unique opportunity for other people who have the same or similar problems within my state and elsewhere in Nigeria.

Really, how much can it cost to facilitate the building of such a specialized hospital at the federal level supposing the cost of building it surpasses the state health allocations for 8 years? If that was the only achievement in Katsina State’s Department of Health between 1999 and 2003, would it have been a selfish gain? Does it require the building of a new hospital to take care of Umaru’s special needs? Was any attempt made to incorporate what he needs into an existing health institution anywhere in Nigeria?

We must constantly remind ourselves of some unforgivable/ severe shortcomings of the people who lead us in Nigeria. Umaru is definitely bringing shame to Nigeria with this particular attitude of his. For instance, how does this flying out for health reason help Nigeria in terms of enticing foreign investors to Nigeria? In 21st century Global Village scenario, Nigeria cannot provide electricity to run businesses and Umaru is making it clear that the health of Nigerians and foreigners in Nigeria cannot be catered for in Nigeria.

My humble advice is that Umaru should with immediate effect lay a foundation in Abuja for the construction of the carbon copy of that hospital that he is always running or flying to in Germany. He should also make sure that the hospital is completed in a world record timing without neglecting regulations, standards and safety. In addition, he should ensure that replicas are constructed in at least 6 other places spread over Nigeria.

When that is done, Umaru should personally work closely with the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that the hospitals are equipped not only with the state of art facilities but also with the best hands in Nigeria. If there is a need to recall Nigerian doctors or experts from the Middle East, Australia or the US then let it be done. We cannot possibly succumb to any form of inferiority complex that Nigerian doctors are not better than those in Germany. It is part of government’s responsibilities to provide the infrastructure and the environment that will facilitate optimum output and efficiency.

If that kind of specialized hospital that exists in Germany is found in Nigeria and if our best doctors work there at home, Umaru would have no need to fly 6 hours in air just to see a doctor or the edifice itself. Afterall, Nigerian doctors are among the best in the world and they are scattered all over planet earth. The other day I was treated by a Nigerian doctor at the Famous Karolinska Hospital here in Stockholm. He told me he is from the old Bendel State and that he had been living and working outside Nigeria since the mid 70s!

These pieces of advice can serve as the stepping stones for the revamping of Nigeria’s ailing health industry. Without setting up any tea drinking or money-dividing committee, there are possibilities to establish, develop and maintain viable health policies that will work for all and sundry in Nigeria.

It is not too much to ask that the health industry must work. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Nigerians must stop the shameful seeking of basic health care from neighbouring countries and the confidence that we have in our health institutions and health providers can only be restored if the leadership truly leads by desirable examples.