A young Nigerian medical doctor, simply identified as Adeosun, was on February 1, 2022, denied boarding on a Qatar Airways flight heading for Oslo, Norway, for committing no offence.
The 30-year-old, who arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, in company with his mother, Caroline, from Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, was looking forward to reaching Norway early for a medical examination before heading to London, United Kingdom, for another professional test when things took a different turn.
Despite having an electronic boarding pass already, Adeosun and other passengers were subjected to screening at the airline's counter.
A few minutes into that process, an official of Qatar Airways stopped the screening and tried to dismiss all persons waiting to be attended to without offering any reasonable explanation.
This left the entire place in chaos as confused and disappointed passengers lamented the situation.
Desperate to find out what had gone wrong and to plead with Qatar Airways staff to allow her son to board the flight since he had already done electronic clearance, Caroline approached an official named Ada for help.
Immediately she touched the woman’s arm to get her attention, Ada, according to Caroline, landed a 'heavy' slap on her face without any provocation.
Enraged at the assault on his mother, the 30-year-old doctor quickly brought out his mobile phone to record the incident.
This further infuriated officials of the airline, who soon turned their anger on Adeosun.
The young medical doctor was attacked by three hefty officials, who tried to forcibly collect his mobile phone and delete the recorded videos of the assault on his mother.
Following the entire incident, Adeosun was denied boarding on his flight to Norway that night, leaving him frustrated. He had to battle more challenges in the days that followed.
Despite lodging an official complaint with airport authorities over the assault on the medical doctor and his mother, justice is yet to be served on the matter.
"The airline officials, especially the ones screening passengers suddenly stopped passengers on that flight from being attended to despite the fact that there were still some hours before departure time," a visibly angry Caroline said as she shared her frustration with SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
"My son studies in Norway, he only came to Nigeria as a result of Coronavirus outbreak, so he was shocked at the way airport officials discarded some of the passengers at the checking point.
"I, first of all, approached one Mr Oke to tell him that my son had an electronic boarding pass already and that there was no need for physical checking but the man and his colleagues all kept mute.
"I approached one of the female officials named Ada to see if she could show some understanding and allow my son to board the aircraft. Instead of speaking to me, the woman turned around and slapped me on my face. Her colleagues watched on without interfering in the situation.
"Security officials came around and took us to Tango office (security) where their boss addressed us. He thereafter instructed Mr Oke to allow my son to board the flight.
"But immediately he left that office, Mr Oke went straight to stop my son from boarding the flight, asking him to delete the videos he had earlier recorded of the assault on me.
"Oke and three other men manhandled my son and injured him on one of his fingers while trying to collect his phone to delete the video recording.
"We rebooked the flight two other times but Qatar Airways didn't allow him to board, insisting that I must write a letter of apology to the airport official who assaulted me before he would be allowed on the flight. I reported the matter to all relevant offices at the airport but nothing came out of it.
"My husband had to collect a loan from a cooperative to buy another ticket with a different airline for my son to eventually fly to Norway.
"The delay has cost him the professional exams in Norway and London where he had already paid for hotel accommodation.
"All the money we lost to the three flights booked with Qatar Airways plus transportation from Ijebu-Ode to Lagos and back for more than five days the crisis lasted, I don't know how the airport and airline officials are going to pay for this because it runs into millions of naira.
"The refund of the money of the ticket is on one side, the refund of the money of all he had paid for abroad is another.
"There is no greater injustice and violation of human rights than the way my son and I were treated in this instance," she added.
An email sent to Qatar Airways by SaharaReporters over the issue had yet to be responded to as of the time of this report.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Sam Adurogboye, asked SaharaReporters to send him a text message detailing its enquiries but he had yet to reply to the message as of the time of filing this report.
When contacted on the matter, the Consumer Protection Department of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the regulatory body for air transportation in Nigeria, had yet to give an official response, however, a staff member of the agency told our correspondent that steps will be taken to investigate the incident.
"I can't speak for the NCAA but if the matter has been reported to the appropriate unit, I am very sure that it will be investigated for the sake of Justice," the official said.
It is not the first time that airport or airline officials in Nigeria will be harassing, assaulting, extorting and denying passengers from boarding their flights – the latest adds to a long list of similar events.
For instance, SaharaReporters on Monday reported how a corrupt syndicate made up of Nigerian immigration officials and some airport employees in Ethiopia had been conniving to extort $50 from passengers, especially first-time travellers going to Europe, North America, Asia and some other parts of the world.
Travellers, who refuse to give this amount as a handout are often marked for cruel treatment upon arrival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital while transiting to their destination.
Many in this category are held at the airport for days before eventually being returned to Nigeria.
Despite calls by immigration and aviation authorities to tackle this menace by crushing the various cartels frustrating travellers at various Nigerian airports, the situation persists, leaving passengers to count their losses.