Air Peace, an airline operating in Nigeria, on Monday had one Mr. Akinfolarin Seun and two others arrested and charged to court, for asking questions about safety procedures onboard, he claims.
According to Seun, he had asked a member of the flight crew why there were seats stationed in front of the wing exit in the aircraft, and was arrested with the flight canceled.
He recanted his ordeal on Twitter in realtime, also alleging that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, sided with the airline.
Air Peace accused Seun of breaching the peace, and charged him to a Lagos magistrate court.
The treatment Akinfolarin received has drawn the ire of Nigerians on social media including former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili who criticized the airline and the Nigeria Police Force for their actions.
She asked Air Peace how the charge made any sense, informing it that its business could suffer as a result.
Ezekwesili told the police to clean up the mess.
In its defense, Air Peace released a statement on Twitter saying its seating arrangements were not in breach of world standard safety procedures.
“We wish to set the record straight on d incident involving 3 unruly passengers on our 18:30 Lagos-Abuja service on 11/09/17.
“During the safety briefing on the 18.30 Lagos-Abuja service, 3 passengers (two men and one woman), began to query the seat confirguration around the exit of the aircraft.
“Our crew’s explanation that the seating arrangement was approved by both FAAN and NCAA fell on deaf ears.
“The passengers rather insisted that our engineers be brought on board speak on the aircraft’s airworthiness.
“At this point, the crew briefed the captain, who intervened by using the public address system to confirm that the seating arrangement was approved by both FAA and NCAA. Notwithstanding the captain’s explanation, the passengers persisted.
“The unruly passengers started spreading apprehension on the flight, saying the aircraft might crash like it happened with another local carrier. All appeals to the passengers to allow the safety briefing continue were rebuffed.
“At this stage, other apprehensive passengers insisted that they would not fly with the three unruly passengers on board. The captain, therefore, had no choice than to ask the three passengers to get off the aircraft.
“While three of the passengers refused to disembark as requested by the captain, the two men later disembarked after delaying the flight for over two and a half hours. The lady among them, however, persisted in her disruptive conduct.
“FAAN security personnel were then called in to intervene. Despite the intervention of FAAN security, the lady refused to comply, boasting that she was prepared to make a lot of money from the airline. She, however, agreed to disembark after about a total of three hours delay. Given the disruptive behaviour of the passengers, FAAN security took them in for questioning.
“The passengers were eventually handed over to the police for further questioning on their unlawful and disruptive conduct.” Air Peace said.