The Federal Government says it has taken Turkish Airlines to court for alleged impunity and violation of the rights of some Nigerian passengers.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, filed a three-count charge against the airline and two of its principal officers, Liker Ayci and Rasak Shobowale, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
A statement by the Consumer Protection Council on Sunday said the prosecution became imperative as a result of the persistent refusal of Turkish Airlines to respond to lawful requests by the council for a full situation report on the alleged shoddy treatment of its passengers on Flight 623.
The development, according to the statement, prompted the council to approach the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation for the prosecution of the airline.
The statement read in part, “The accused persons were arraigned before the court for allegedly neglecting, without sufficient cause, to attend and testify before the CPC on the number of passengers aboard the Turkish Airlines Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on the 25th and 31st of December, 2015, as well as the 9th of January, 2016, who were affected by its untimely delivery of baggage, thereby committing an offence punishable under section 18 of the CPC’s enabling law.
“The Federal Government also accused the airline and its two principal officers of violating the same section of the CPC Act by neglecting, without sufficient cause, to attend and testify before the Consumer Protection Council on the detailed steps taken by the airline to provide redress and compensation to passengers aboard its Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on the said dates, who were affected by its untimely delivery of baggage.
“The prosecution of the airline and its principal officers followed a warning by the Federal Government to the airline to respond within 21 days to the Consumer Protection Council’s request for full situation report on the airline’s alleged shoddy treatment of passengers of flight TK 623 of Sunday, December 20, 2015 and other subsequent flights during the Yuletide or face prosecution.”
The statement said the AGF had in a letter of March 17, 2016, signed on his behalf by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, Mohammed Diri, threatened to prosecute the airline if it failed to respond to the council’s lawful demand for the full situation report, irrespective of its engagement with any other relevant agency.
The statement quoted the AGF letter to have stated, “It is our considered opinion that you are not in any position to choose which government institution or laws to comply with and which one to disdain.
“Your refusal, neglect or omission to oblige the CPC with detailed information relating to delayed baggage of your passengers from December 2015 to January 2016 as requested is in breach of section 18 of the Consumer Protection Council Act, 1992 and a deliberate attempt to ridicule a duly constituted authority.”