British Airways removes 136 Nigerians from Flight

13 Comments » April 15th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Spotlight


British Airways removes 136 Nigerians from Flight


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Friday, 11 April 2008

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Click here for a video interview with Ayodeji Omotade

On the 27th of March 2008 at about 12:30pm, I boarded the British Airways flight BA75 and I went straight to seat 53C.

On getting to my seat, there were noises from an individual being forcibly restrained but who was not visible because some police officers and some plain clothes people held him down. The noise continued for more than 20 minutes and I was concerned because the individual was screaming in agony and shouting in pidgin English “I go die” meaning, I will die. I pleaded with the officers not to kill him and my exact words were “please don’t kill him”. The British Airways staff said that the officers were doing their jobs and that nothing was going to happen. The noise became louder and other passengers started getting concerned and were complaining especially about their safety. The situation continued for another 15 minutes after I got on.

Eventually, a member of the cabin crew announced that the passenger was going to be removed and the passenger was removed from the plane and we all thought that was the end of the situation. Five minutes later, two members of the cabin crew arrived with about 4 police officers and told me to get off the plane. I asked what the matter was and they said that I was not going to travel with the airline because the cabin crew thought I had been disruptive by questioning the noise being caused by the person that was removed. I pleaded with them that I was going for my brother’s wedding and that I had all his stuff with me. I was dragged out of the plane as if I was resisting arrest. As we got to the corridor that linked the plane with the terminal building, I was slammed against the wall and made to sit on the floor. I was still pleading with them telling them that they had completely misunderstood me and that I was only complaining about the situation regarding the disturbances caused by the deportee they were trying to restrain and subdue. I was on the floor for about 20 to 25 minutes. Another passenger was brought to the corridor as well and he was also pleading with the officers.

I was later put in the back of the police van at about 1:50pm and I was locked up there for about an hour or more still handcuffed. I was formally arrested approximately 2:30pm and my rights were read to me. Before the arrest in the van, I managed to reach for my pocket and brought out my mobile phone. I made some phone calls to my wife, sister and a friend while the low battery sign was on because I was all alone and still handcuffed.

I was later driven to the police station where I was formally checked in. I was in police custody for almost 8 hours and later released on bail after the interview with the duty solicitor and the detectives. I had £473.00 on me which was seized as well as £90.00 sent to my mother in-law from my sister in-law and £1,050.00 given to me by my cousin who is a doctor for the upkeep of his parents in Nigeria. All the money together was £1,613.00. I was told that I would appear in a magistrate court to prove the money was not meant for crime or proceeds of crime. The officer told me that they will like to see traceability and that I needed my payslips and bank account detailing my payments and withdrawals as well as my cousin’s payments and withdrawals.

I was released but without the money. I made my way to terminal 4 and arrived there at about 12:30am but the British Airways kiosks were closed. I was directed to the staff room and told them that I wanted to rebook my trip to Lagos. A lady told me to give her my ticket and she stated that British Airways has banned me from travelling with them indefinitely and that only the managers can use their discretions because I was a ‘disruptive passenger’. I requested for my 2 piece luggage and she told me that the section will be opened later at about 5:30am and I will be escorted in to collect them. I slept on the chair and waited till about 5:30am and attempted to rebook my ticket but was told that British Airways refused to take me. I decided to go and pick up my stuff and I was told that my luggage were missing. I was handed a form with reference number LONBA90924. At this point, I became totally stranded because I could not leave without my luggage because it contained my brother’s wedding suit, shirts and accessories.

I was on the phone with my wife and she wanted to book an alternative flight that departs at 10:15am so that I could make it for the wedding. This was not possible because British Airways refused to disclose where my luggages were and did not remove my luggage from the flight when they called the police to arrest me.

On Monday 31st of March, I appeared at the Magistrate court but was told that a decision was made about the £1,613.00 that was seized from me. The police had been granted a further 90 days to hold on to the money pending their investigation. I was given the officer’s details . He requested 12 months bank statements and 6 months payslip to prove that the £473.00 that belongs to me was not proceeds of crime and also requested that the £1,050.00 that was given to me by my cousin for his parents should also be traced to my cousin’s 12 months bank statement and 6 months payslip. DC Webster has promised to write me detailing these requests.

Still on Monday 31st of March 4 days after I was taken off the plane, I made extra efforts to find out the whereabouts of my 2 piece luggage (LONBA90924), because they have not been sent to my address as promised by calling the lost baggage section at 13:44hrs and spoke to a man called Neil who said that, it is difficult for them to trace my bags and that there is a strong possibility that they might be in Lagos. He suggested that I should call back in 24 hours.

Eventually, one week and one day later, my bags were brought to me at home. One was badly damaged and the other was intact. British Airways delibrately made sure I missed the wedding because if they were kicking me off their flight, they would have removed my bags from the flight. They were all there when the police officers made me to sit on the floor and heard me pleading to allow me fly for my brother’s wedding. I could have made either KLM or Virgin Nigeria the following Friday morning.

I will not want to believe that the authorities involved in the situation deliberately or cleverly punished me unnecessarily out of frustration for not being able to restrain or subdue a deportee or that I as a fee paying passenger was accused of affray with violence when I was voicing my concerns about the disturbances caused by the deportees. I never mentioned any abusive or swear words neither was I physically threatening anyone. My luggage mysteriously was lost and I have been banned on all British Airways flights without a chance to say my part of the story to redeem myself. 135 passengers were asked to leave the flight because they expressed displeasure regarding the disturbances caused by the deportees and the officers trying to restrain him. My ticket was even refused to be endorsed by BA to enable me to fly with another airline. I need full compensation of my loss and also a letter of apology from British Airways.

Ayodeji Omotade


The news story from The Mirror Newspapers

A British Airways captain ordered 136 passengers off his plane in chaotic scenes after they all started complaining to cabin crew.

As the flight waited to take off at Heathrow the row was sparked by the restraint of a man being forcibly deported.

Many were distressed by his pitiful cries of “I go die” and one passenger, Ayodeji Omotade, 39, spoke up on his behalf.

The deportee was taken off the Lagos bound jet by immigration staff and police.

But five officers returned and arrested Mr Omotade. This outraged the other 135 passengers in the economy class section and they complained to cabin crew.

Amid riotous scenes in the aisles, 20 police officers boarded to calm everything down.

Then the BA pilot took the extraordinary decision to boot off everyone who had witnessed the arrest of Mr Omotade, an IT consultant from Chatham, Kent.

The captain took the view they were all guilty of disturbing the flight, although no more passengers were arrested.

After the economy class section was virtually cleared, the deportee, aged about 30, was brought back on and the flight left.

The passengers were booked on to later flights but Mr Omotade was told by BA staff he was banned by the airline for life.

English-born Mr Omotade, married with a daughter aged four, was handcuffed and kept in police custody for eight hours after his arrest. He has not been charged and is seeking an apology from BA.

He was travelling from Heathrow’s Terminal 4 to Lagos for his brother’s marriage and had in his luggage the groom’s wedding ring, shirt and suit. He missed the ceremony.

He told the Mirror: “There were agonising noises from an individual being restrained. It went on for 20 minutes.

“I pleaded with the officers and my exact words were, ‘Please don’t kill him.’

“I was not swearing or threatening. BA staff said the officers were doing their jobs and nothing was going to happen. When he was removed we thought it was the end of the matter.

“But police officers came back and I was handcuffed and dragged off the plane.”

He claims his luggage has been lost and £1,600 cash he had for relatives has been taken and not returned.

Scotland Yard confirmed: “A man was arrested for affray and causing a disturbance and was bailed.”

Ba said: “Police were called to the BA75 service to Lagos on March 27 after a large number of passengers became disruptive.

Many were removed.

“We take any threats against our crew or passengers very seriously and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.”



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13 Responses to “British Airways removes 136 Nigerians from Flight”

  1. Muyiwa says:

    Nigerians should have zero tolerance for this kind of nonsense. No Nigerian of African for that matter should fly BA until a formal apology and is tendered to all concerned for the treatment met out to them. I sincerely believe BA should be made to pay the highest price for this kind of stupid high-handedness. What they are really saying is that because African passengers protested the treatment meted out to another African then they suddenly transformed into threats made to the crew? This is this racist nonsense again of calling African people violent. This is what they are really saying that we are violent, whenever we are displeased, even when they are the cause of that displeasure.
    No Nigerian should fly BA at any cost until a redress is made.

    • Mobola says:

      I honestly blame Nigerians when it comes to shit like this…We behave as if there are no other airline but BA. I boycotted BA in 1985 flying from Los Angeles to Lagos via London. At the check out counter i noticed how BA employees were talking to Nigerian passengers and i could not believe how Nigerians stood there and did not say a word..They need to understand that they are paid passengers and they do have rights as customers. When it was my turn to re-check my luggage and flight because of over booking by the airline during Christmas season. Since i already paid for 2 extra bags all the way from LA and at the counter the BA employee asked what currency did i pay for my extra bags. I said to her ” does it really what currency and since i prepaid what difference does that make”. She was trying to be sarcastic with her words and i immediately told her never to talk to me the way she talked to Nigerian passengers ahead of me. I told her that i know my right as a passenger and i wont take shit from her like those passengers did. i checked in and off to Lagos and i promised myself that i will never ever fly British Airways even if they are free. Nigerians must learn to use their money power by boycotting airlines that does not treat them right and i feel that is the only way. BOYCOTT!!

  2. kayode oluwole says:

    I honestly don’t blame British Airways for treating us better than we treat ourselves.

    This is my picture of what happens right away as soon as I settle down in any Airline going to Nigeria; My beloved Nigeria body odor memory hits me like a ton of bricks same as in elevators or closed quarters while in Nigeria. Next dramatically obnoxious actors spring up all over the place like Apapa rodents with a well known common aliment ‘Don’t you know who I am mentality”. Oh my god, we don’t even know how to shit right in the plane.Thus as soon as they announce its okay to roam around, I head straight to the toilet to loose as much bodily weight as possible. I don’t want to go to the toilet latter in the flight; I probably don’t need to paint any picture for anyone here.

    Now, disembarking the plane at Muritala Airport; your blood pressure jump up, you start to sweat, NEPA who ?, you cant find your luggage after the bull dozer drops off the luggage. You know that you have to wet the floor for the Nigerian customs and did I forget armed robbers and area boys at the airport and on the way to your abode?.. heck the rest of your extended family is waiting to be PAID too.

    “What are we talking about here; British Airline treating us badly ? oh yes pardon me.”

    I think we all remember we don’t have our own National Airline anymore. We have not been able to do anything right post Gowon. No roads in most places, NEPA, medical services, pharmaceutical drugs, thanks to cell phones, no running water and sadly no good secondary schools anymore. Every single Nigerian has been robbed by another brother, sister, uncle, aunt, father or mother heck lets call it what it is; armed robbers!.

    ” What are we talking about here; British Airline treating us badly ? oh yes pardon me.”

    When we’re in the domain of these Oyinbos, we tend to be more law abiding than most. We work our Nigerian tail off.
    The first thing we do as soon as we get out of the plane at Muritala Airport, we head to the toilet and put our feet in the wash hand basins .. God knows why. We end up taking a leak on the side of the road, dump our trash on the side of the roads, blasting religious convictions at every corner of the street. The same holy men and women that armed robbers run to before any “job” to pray to God. Praying to God not to meet anyone that has not wronged God. I guess we all have so were all fair game. Yes I was shocked when I was informed about the pre robbery prayers too!.

    What are we talking about here; British Airline treating us badly ? oh yes pardon me.

    If we can get our black behinds together, If our leaders cant stop stowing away Nigerian Cake In British, American and other European banks, maybe we will then have enough money to generate employment for so many college graduates that turn into armed robbery. As sad as this may sound, Drug dealers, 419, Nigerians in Diaspora Invest in Nigeria but our leaders loot and take money out of Nigeria. My own parents were robbed at gun point in their own home, shot at on the street of Lagos, they get into a self imprisoned fortress by 6.00pm every day until next daylight and we worry about how others treat us? I could not get angry at the armed robbers for obvious reasons. The way we treat ourselves is at a new height. No trust, no love, no care in the world for other Nigerians. Tribalism is another topic for another day. What are we talking about here; British Airline treating us badly ? oh yes pardon me.

    We have most of our leaders looting right front and center all over the map in Nigerian and these Oyinbos are happy to take the loot. Do you know that Nigerian Air route is the most profitable airline route in the world ! Ask yourselves when was the last time you went to or left Nigeria and you noticed any empty sit [yes one sit] in the plane ? Yes news to me too. The most profitable route in the world yet we cannot call the shots when it comes to our needs. We just cant even shit right anymore. Most of us will not even teach our own children our mother tongue; oops vernacular, we call our parents and forefathers illiterate; wonder whose is illiterate here now that we cannot read or write in our own languages. Its okay as soon as the Oyinbos start teaching us Yoruba101, Igbo101 etc.. I am sure as typical idiots we will see us sending our children to Harvard, and Kings college to study Nigerian Languages. It will not be vernacular anymore lol.

    What are we talking about here; British Airline treating us badly ? oh yes pardon me.

    British airlines will not take credit cards from Nigerians but do will always take credit cards from the chief inventors of credit card frauds aka Russians, Iranians et all; then we deserver the self imposed disgrace. We all know this will never happen to the Israelis; are we kidding !. I rest my case and we all know the whole of Israel has a population that is smaller than Lagos state and they also came up with a sugacane solution that eradicated Mosquitoes and malaria in their region. Now a country smaller than Lagos state is the forerunner in medical research and innovations.

    We should stop blaming others for our own self imposed slavery and a government of Nigerian people by the few for the rest of the white man’s slaves.
    Nigeria Wake up, if we don’t like the way the British treat us, lets leave there country, lets stop sending our children to Britain and lets stop stowing our stolen Naira in their banks !. I forgot we cant, were still calling our forefathers and parents Illiterates, our children cant read nor write our language. I guess self imposed slavery is better for Nigerians.

    Thank you Oyinbo, we love the way you treat us. — Tank u oga sa.
    What are we talking about here?; British Airline treating us badly? oh yes pardon me Nigerians, we cant even shit right !

    • andy mccool says:

      well said, some of the points u raised are quite true, but i think you have missed the whole point. a deportee was being restrained and could have died in the process, i think its fair that people should put some sort support.
      i worked for an airline and i can surely say that, if the number of passengers complaining (sensibly and reasonably) are more, the crew would have no choice but to delay the flight. however, if the complaints were loud and unruly, the crew has no choice but to cancel the flight and if need be, involve law enforcement.
      the guy that was arrested must have been unruly in his utterance, or even threatening, so necessary actions needed to be taken.
      if this man was in nigeria, he would have experienced a far worse situation. the english, are very racist in their actions and no amount of placard carrying, or human right bullshit is going to change that. but we must let them know, we can take some of their shit to a certain levels. when it comes to a human life, something has to give….

      • Clifton says:

        White people make our statements into threats all the time, so it is really unfair to speculate what may have happened if you were not there.

  3. Key Tee says:

    Im sorry but I have to say that Im not in support of this boycott protest nonesense they are talking about.
    Some people are just using it as a means of getting cheap publicity. Why should I protest for or fight for the right of someone who stires up trouble in the cabin of an aircraft.
    I have worked with an airline and I know how these people behave. they go to anylegth to sensitise other passangers/customer against any customer service oprative in an organisation.
    This man was not even A nigerian citizen to start with and he was protesting the deportation of an unwanted or criminal element.
    why should anyone want to over stay his welcome in another mans land? they come to the UK and commit all sorts of crime, even going as far as spoiling chances of survival for other well meaning Nigerians in the UK.
    According to the standard proceedures of airline and aviation security procedures, what the crew did by calling in security for that men who was causing a row in the economy cabin with his sensless protest, was the correct thing.
    Please people should understand the technicality of the incident first before jumping and talking about protest.

  4. Melody says:

    It is sad that some people would not stand up for other people and aren’t even ashamed of admitting it. Kayode Oluwole, it saddens me that you would miss the point being made to this stage. BA has not denied any of the things that have been reported, and it is not acceptable. BA should be boycotted, and any person with a frequent flyer subscription should return it. Africa is a lucrative route for airlines, more than any other, we should not be subjected to such treatment. A deportee remains a human being with rights, and that is what BA needs to be reminded of.

  5. Muyiwa says:

    So, As usual there are some among us that the only thing they think is that every Nigerian is a thief or unruly or smells wow! This is interesting!Talk about the hight of Colonial Mentality. Once someone is white and he does anything it is presumed to be right! Everything a black person does is always wrong. An European country recently murdered a Nigerian in the process of deporting him. A Nigerian was tied up in a funny way and fellow Nigerians felt that he should be restrained in a funny way. If an American was restrained in the same way and the passengers complained would they be treated in the same shoddy way? I think not. What a lot of these writers are trying to say is that we are never in the right. We are never discriminated against? I am sorry but shame on you all! You need to wake up and smell the coffee. These guys feel they can insult us and get away with it. We will not allow BA to brand Nigerians as unruly vagrants. BA should be boycotted. An injury to over a 100 is an injury to all.

  6. chetan says:

    i want know ticket fair from nigeria to london

  7. ding dong says:

    ur not welcome in europe anyway. no blacks please

    • whites people dey smell says:

      were do you really come from ass hole i have nationality uk but i dont stay they, i stay in cos nigeria is good for me i do visit uk for shopping i spent my money there. nigeria have wat uk government they have been using us and dis is the right time to pay back

  8. precious says:

    dont say what u dont know my husband was in that flight everthing this man is saying is true . i see many nigeria still look at theyselver as a duch bag shame to u all that is against is coment and shut up

  9. SMajek says:

    It’s not news that Africans are looked upon as the scum of the earth in the world. Regardless of if you don a power suit or not, the face of Africa is the malnourished child with the distended stomach with flies crawling all over that is projected in the media so how do you want the children of your masters to respect you.

    If you don\’t like the way you are being treated in someone\’s environment you have a choice to leave. The problem is, African\’s in most cases don\’t have anywhere to go to. We ate Nigeria Airways up in broad daylight, thanks to our mismanagement. So really in terms of how we are being treated, we ain\’t seen nothing yet. I agree with an earlier commentor, no one will treat you better than you treat yourself. African\’s will do any job and work harder than anyone else in the Western world but are very arrogant and can\’t do this job or that job in Africa, or even when they do it, it is to rob the owner blind and be very lazy. So there we go. Again we all ain\’t seen nothing yet!

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