Mr Ayodeji Omotade has been charged with threatening, abusive, insulting, disorderly behavior towards British Airways (BA) crew, as a result of intervening in the violent deportation of a fellow Nigerian.
The man, who was thought to be about 30, was being held down in his seat by four or five police officers as the other passengers filed on board, and was crying out in broken English that he was afraid he would die if he were sent back to Nigeria……………….The officers took him off the plane, then returned and arrested Ayodeji Omotade, one of the passengers who had complained vociferously about his treatment. When others on board protested noisily about Mr Omotade’s detention, the captain ordered them all off the flight.
British Airways need to answer to the question why they are prepared to collaborate with the violent removal of a distraught asylum seeker? Why has the peaceful protest by passengers against the inhumane treatment of a deportee been treated as a criminal act? Other airlines, including Virgin Nigeria have refused to fly victims of ill-treatment from escorts, and those who fear for their lives. .
Mr Omotade is being punished for acting humanely towards someone in distress. This is not an extraordinary act. It is something most of us would do when witnessing brutality. It is a situation that any one of us could find ourselves at any time.
“What would you do if someone on your flight was distressed and crying out for help? Would you stay silent or would you speak? I spoke and BA didn’t like it. This type of corporate tyranny must be challenged and stopped.” Ayo Omotode
September 14th, 2008RESPECT NIGERIANS COALITION (RNC) TO HOLD A PEACEFUL PROTEST AT THE BRITISH AIRWAYS CORPORATE HEADQUATERS, HARMONDSWORTH ON WEDNESDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER, 2008
Fellow Nigerians and well-wishers of Nigeria, This is to inform you of our intention to hold a peaceful demonstration at the Waterside Corporate Headquarters of British Airway Plc at Harmondsworth, London following the airlines persistent refusal to do what is right by Ayodeji Omotade and the Nigerian passengers whom its officials treated in a disrespectful, discriminatory, dehumanizing and racist manner on March 27, 2008 aboard Flight BA 075 from London Heathrow to Lagos, Nigeria [Full details here]
Despite repeated attempts to engage with BA – holding a peaceful protest at their Lagos HQ; discussing with their executives in Nigeria; writing to shareholders and meeting with some of them at the AGM, the company has persistently ignored our demands. Even several attempts by the Nigerian President, Umaru YarAdua and government ministers have been stonewalled.
We are now taking our protest to BA headquarters in London with the hope that the BA Board and senior management will address our demands.
We are now calling on all those who believe in justice to join us in supporting Mr Ayodeji Omotade at the following two events in London:
Peaceful protest at
BRITISH AIRWAYS Corporate Headquarters,
British Airways PlcWaterside (HAA3)HarmondsworthUB7 0GB
TRIAL at UXBRIDGE MAGISTRATES COURT
Harefield Rd Uxbridge UB8 1PQ
On Tuesday, April 15 2008, we made five specific demands on British Airways over this issue and asked that they address these before Wednesday, April 30, 2008. We asked British Airways to
tender a clear and well-worded apology, in a Nigerian national newspaper, to all passengers affected by their discriminatory and intimidatory conduct aboard flight BA075 of 27 March, 2008;
tender a clear and well-worded written apology and appropriate compensation to Mr Ayodeji Omotade for emotional trauma and financial loss suffered as a result of the conduct of British Airways and its agents on that day;
withdraw all adverse statements made to the police about Mr. Ayodeji Omotade over this incident;
lift the ban imposed on Mr Ayodeji Omotade, even as he would still retain his right to decide whether or not to fly British Airways in the future, and;
issue an undertaking that British Airways shall improve its customer care culture and desist from such practices that give the impression that the airline is arrogant, uncaring and discriminatory.
(Ref: 1, Letter to the Unity Centre, Glasgow, 8 July 2008, from a customer relations executive at Virgin Nigeria Airways Ltd)