A Nigerian Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has reportedly issued an order to 'arrest and detain' Emirates Boeing 777-300ER over a debt of N8.1 million (US$22,400) the airline owes one Miss Promise Mekwunye of Nigeria.
According to reports, the issue began in 2007 when Miss Mekwunye purchased a return ticket for USD$2,067 to fly from Houston to Lagos via Dubai. The ticket was reportedly confirmed before her travel date on 17th December 2007.
On the day she was supposed to travel, Mekwunye got to the airport and was denied boarding without any reason. She was just told that her ticket had been cancelled. She had to purchase another ticket on another airline to travel.
There have been reports that most foreign airlines don't treat Nigerian passengers well. Yet, Nigerian passengers pay higher ticket fares than passengers from most other countries.
Last week, Canadian government seized Air Tanzania's Dash 8-400 set for delivery because of a similar case. The case involves over US$33 million compensation claim from a court case filed by a farmer in the 1980s.
Emirates flies three Boeing 777s into Nigeria every day, two to lagos and one to Abuja. Will Nigeria have the ‘courage’ to 'arrest' Emirates aircraft? Time shall tell.