The police yesterday allegedly blocked passengers from gaining access to the head office of Arik Air at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to seek for a refund.
Paucity of aviation fuel and harmattan haze last December forced the airline to cancel many of its flights even till January this year, but reports indicated that it did not want to refund the passengers their fares, according to international practices and as stipulated by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
THISDAY learnt that the aggrieved passengers stormed the airline’s headquarters to demand for the refund of their air ticket but the gates were locked and manned by fierce looking security officials.
Although officials of the airline claimed that police officials were always at the main entrance of the head office, but a higher number of police officers were seen yesterday and seemed poised to block the passengers who dared to push their way through the gate.
A source close to the airline said that the management might have invited the security operatives to forestall a breakdown of law and order by some of the aggrieved passengers.
Some of the security operatives in police uniform were outside the entrance gate while others were inside the building, as informed source disclosed that the security men arrived the airline gates with a vehicle with registration number Abuja: BWR 641 GA.
One of the aggrieved passengers, who refused to disclose her name, alleged that her N800,000 ticket funds have been trapped in the airline since December 23, 2016 and explained that she bought air tickets for some group of passengers who were supposed to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa with the airline, but the flight was cancelled by the airline, stressing that since then, she has been unable to get refund.
However, inside source told THISDAY that the passengers had to be blocked because of their proclivity to violence, disclosing that passengers who did not travel as scheduled had at different times destroyed their property and beat up their staff and such would not be allowed at the head office of the airline.
The source also said the airline was still counting losses incurred from the violent activities of the passengers who “don’t listen to reason but chose to tale laws into their hands always.”