Nigeria Protests Assault On Citizens In Togo

THE Embassy of Nigeria in Lome, Togo, has registered its displeasure with the host country over the maltreatment of some Nigerians in transit from the United States, aboard Ethiopian Airlines through the Togolese capital to Nigeria.

The Nigerians were seen in a video being maltreated at the Gnassingbe Eyadema International Airport, Lome on Saturday.

The Nation learnt yesterday that the embassy has made it known to the host authorities that the manhandling of Nigerian travellers was totally unacceptable and not in accordance with international best practices.

However, in a statement yesterday, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Togo Debo Adesina stated that through concerted efforts by the mission in its engagement with relevant Togolese officials, the matter is being addressed.

When the incident occurred, the ambassador and his officials were at the airport on Saturday and took up the matter until it was resolved and all the passengers were successfully evacuated on two flights.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Esther Sunsuwa also confirmed to The Nation that the matter was resolved Saturday night and the passengers were conveyed to Nigeria same night.

Adesina said the embassy would continue to work towards preventing a recurrence of such treatment of Nigerians.

It was learnt that both the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Geofrey Onyeama and Adesina immediately moved in on Saturday after getting wind of the incident where some of the Nigerian passengers were shown being assaulted by airport security operatives.

It was gathered that the Nigerian passengers aboard the Ethiopian Airline from New York got to Lome only to be informed that their connecting flight to Nigeria through ASky Airline was full.

This infuriated the Nigerian passengers, leading to a protest within the airport and for which some of the Nigerians were shackled and manhandled.

In the viral video, some people were seen with their hands tied to their backs while uniformed men believed to be Togolese airport security men were seen assaulting a lady who was on the floor.

A man could be heard screaming “This is bad, this is bad.”

It was gathered that Adesina, who was said to have briefed the minister, personally went to the airport on hearing the news of the development.

It was learnt that he, alongside the boss of the country’s civil aviation company, one Colonel Dokisime Gnama Latta, worked out an arrangement for two flights to evacuate the passengers Saturday night.

ASky Airline, which is said to be a strategic partner of the Ethiopian Airline, has been facing challenges in the last three weeks due to traffic volume

It was learnt that the same airline had almost aborted a trip by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, last week, when he was on his way to Kenya from The Gambia where he went for election monitoring.

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