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Nigerian passengers win case against Etihad Airlines

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Four years after he instituted a case against Etihad Airlines at the Federal High Court Lagos, justice has finally come the way of a Nigerian passenger Ebosie Jideofor John and his family.

Justice Hadiza .R. Shagari, based on the evidence available, ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and charged Etihad Airlines to pay compensation.

Pius E Sodjie and Pekun Sowole of Jurislaw Chambers ably represented the plaintiffs, while J.M.M Majiyagbe represented the defendant, Etihad Airline.

It was said that Ebosie had purchased four economy class tickets for his family members (Ms. Sylvia U Obichie, Amaka Fingesi, Taribo Fingesi and Zoila Fingesi) for a trip from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, to Abu Dhabi International Airport on May 15, 2014, on flight EY 0674. Ebosie bought the four e-tickets using his credit card.

But due to no fault of Ebosie, his credit card could not be verified by the airline at its Victoria Island, Lagos office, due to network failure.

However, he made available coloured photocopy of his credit card and his driver’s license to ensure his family members were able to make the trip, but they were denied boarding by staff of the airline, who told them to return the following day being May 16, 2014.

Though the plaintiffs eventually boarded the plane on the new date, they were unable to make the journey, as the flight was cancelled due to engine failure. The family eventually bought tickets from another airline to make the journey on May 16, 2014.

Dissatisfied with the treatment, the plaintiffs later went on to sue Etihad Airline for trauma, losses, and damages.

In her judgment, Justice Hadiza .R. Shagari ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and charged Etihad Airlines to pay compensation.

“It is in my view to state that the defendant airline is guilty of willful misconduct; I grant the claims of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th plaintiffs for a full refund of their defendant airline tickets with interest at 16% rate as it was decided in the case of Farasco Nigeria Limited & Anor Vs Peterson Zochionis Industries Plc (2010) LPELR 4142 CA.”

However, the judge explained that, “the principle of interest is not a compensation for damages caused by the defendants, but for being kept out of money, which ought to have been paid all this while for services not rendered.”


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