Reps to invite envoy over Nigerians’ humiliation in Togo, order probe

The House of Representatives has resolved to invite the Togolese Ambassador to Nigeria over the maltreatment of some Nigerians at the Gnassingbe Eyadema International Airport, Togo, last week.

At the plenary on Tuesday, the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, raised a motion of urgent public importance to ask the parliament to act on the matter.

The House, in adopting the motion, asked its leadership to “urgently invite the Togolese Ambassador to Nigeria for discussion on the video showing how Nigerians were humiliated and maltreated at the Eyadema International Airport.”

The House also mandated its committees on Foreign Affairs, National Security and Intelligence to “investigate the matter and report back as soon as possible.”

Elumelu’s motion was titled ‘Urgent Need to Interface with the Togolese Authorities on the Maltreatment and Humiliation of Nigerian Travellers Coming from the United States of America and Transiting at the Gnassingbe Eyadema International Airport in Togo’.

The Minority Leader said on Saturday, a video surfaced on social media showing some Nigerian travellers, who transited through the airport in Togo, “seriously brutalised, maltreated and humiliated” by Togolese security agents.

Elumelu said the Nigerians were travelling on Ethiopian Airlines from the US to Lagos, only to get to Lome on transit and were told that their connecting flight was full and, therefore, they could not continue the trip.

According to the lawmaker, this infuriated the Nigerian travellers and when some of them tried to protest to the management of the airlines, they were “brutalised, humiliated, rough handled and shackled” by Togolese security personnel for trying to claim their rights and speak against the incompetence of the airline.

Elumelu added that after the humiliation and intimidation, the travellers were left stranded at the airport with the option of finding their way down to Lagos at their own cost.

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He said, “The House is disturbed that instead of the security personnel to aid the passengers in getting back to their desired destination, which was fully booked for and confirmed by the airline, they decided to brutalise and humiliate the passengers, and by extension, disregard Nigeria as a country.

“The House is further disturbed that this assault meted out to innocent Nigerian travellers, who were not accused of breaching any known law or committing any crime, is barbaric, inhumane and totally unacceptable, and against international best practices.

“The House is worried that if this action is left unquestioned, it will give security personnel in other countries the impetus to treat Nigerian travellers with disdain, disrespect and further brutalisation, hence the need for an urgent investigation.”

The Federal Government had on Saturday evacuated the Nigerians.

On hearing about the incident, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, who was attending the 3rd Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit being hosted by President Recep Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey, directed the Nigerian Ambassador to Togo, Mr Debo Adesina, to secure a charter aircraft for the evacuation of the travellers to Lagos.

The evacuation was reportedly overseen by the ambassador.

A trending video had shown one of the victims on all fours being manhandled by six security officials at the airport.

He was subsequently handcuffed and taken away by the irate Togolese officials.

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