Saturday, 4 October 2014


When I was writing this article, I hinted that I had another story brewing. Remember the one about my wristwatch stolen from an aircraft I boarded? I have held my peace until now, more than two months later, in hope that everything would be resolved amicably. However, the last correspondence from the said airline somehow, made me loose all patience. Still, I had planned to let it go until my husband's experience, the last time he flew. I realized that it would keep happening unless something urgent is done about it. So, here it goes. Below are emails exchanged between the airline's customer care service and myself. (I had to download a screen capture app so it won't be said that I added "jara" or remove from the mails).

Growing up, I was thought in school that air travel was the fastest and safest means of travel. This has been the case until recent events began to make be doubt the authenticity of that statement. Yes, it might still be the fastest, but I'm seriously doubting the safety aspect. Definitely not with the amount of plane crashes occurring in Nigeria and the world at large, and most definitely, not with the level of theft and fraud occurring with most airlines. This post will give you an insight to what I mean.


I was travelling to Abuja on the 25th of July from Benin. There is usually only one flight between the two cities since the renovation of the airports started about 2 years ago. That fateful day, the flight was for 2:50pm. It rained cats and dogs that day. (It almost never stops raining in Benin city). Already, I was psyching myself because I knew the flight would be delayed. 2:50pm turned to 4 and then 5pm, the flight showed up. During this long wait, there wasn't 'a 2 second' explanation or apology even though most of us already anticipated the delay. The plane finally arrives and it's the size of a luxurious bus. (I sighed but didn't say anything. Afterall, what really can I do?) I had 2 boxes, 1, I already checked it, the other I kept with me as hand luggage. As we were about to board the flight, some of the crew members asked for our hand luggage. Their explanation was that it wouldn't fit into the overhead locker of the tiny plane. I submitted it to them. They asked if I have a laptop in it and I said no.

I finally got to Abuja, and have to endure the long wait to retrieve my bags. At this point I was tired and famished. (For goodness sake, I missed my lunch!). I get home and I'm about to collect a change of clothing, the first thing I notice is that the zipper isn't where I normally keep it. (I know, I know, I have a bit of OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder). I tried to overlook that tiny detail as I unzip my box. I opened it and next thing I see is my wristwatch case open wit no wristwatch or its holder within. My husband suggested that maybe I forgot it in Benin and that I should call my sister to check the house and confirm. I already knew it was stolen, because I was sure I packed it. I called my sister and really, my watch had been stolen. from inside my checked in luggage! WOW!! AMAZING!!! Wonders never end in Nigeria.

The next day, I report to the arik office to report, and the lady blamed it on the sahcol group. These are the people that handle the luggage into airport I was told. She went further to tell me how her bosses' phone was also stolen from their aircraft. She finally told me to meet the duty manager on the day I'm going back. On the day of my return, I didn't met the duty manager, (he was at the tarmac). Instead, I was directed to meet the airport security. (That guy should NOT work at the airport, not to mention the security department). His replies were so inconsistent, and he was extremely rude!

First, he tells me that I'm reporting late that it had already been a week. To this, I replied that I already went to the arik office in town and relayed her response to him. (Did I mention that the airport is almost 1 hour drive from town?). He told me that her response was to get me off her back. Meaning, the airline has preformed lies for its clients, I guess? Secondly, he tells me that I should have reported on my arrival date. I replied that I got into town at past 6 pm, got to my house at 8pm and definitely could drive back to the airport that night. He then said, I should have opened my luggage to check before leaving the airport. I replied "who does that?" He was busy saying that was the practice abroad. I laughed and said  I just travelled last month, I don't think I did that. Next thing I know, he's yelling and saying I should go ahead and make noise about it if I want.  He said infact, I should go and file a formal complaint to the airline. I told him at that point, that he was the one perpetuating the theft going on in the airport if he can't bring anyone to book.

As I walked away, I wondered if this guy know the kind of trouble he might be causing for his employers. (As far as I concerned, without the airlines, the airport doesn't work and then, he'll have no job). What if I was #lindaikeji or #japhethomojuwa? What if my parents were some top politicians?

I told some friends about and many of them had had the same experience or knew someone who had. They told me to forget about it, mostly because they felt nothing would be done about it. The last correspondence with the airline customer care told me that as part of their terms and conditions, I shouldn't have put my valuables in my checked in luggage. Hmmmmm..... My question now is; "Who determines what is valuable to me?"

To be continued........


  1. Nice... You know when you told me of this story I adviced you write about it on your blog. Please do one more thing. Let your friends share this on their own platforms facebook page, twitter, google plus etc. Until it gets to Arik. Arumuemu Ikhide the Arik boss needs to know that he has very lousy staff.

    I will share this on all my platforms right away

    1. Thanks for the suggestion and also for sharing

  2. Dr Amaechi, I am glad you put this up. I thought when something similar happened to me that it was a one-off incident. In my case I flew Arik from Lagos to Dakar in Senegal on June 1st 2014 (stopped over at Accra to pick other passengers). Story short- my laptop, camera and perfume were stolen from my bag. Fortunately I noticed something was wrong with my luggage hence the check. Reported the incident that night/early morning but u can guess the response I got. Recently from Abj to Benin on 24th Sept my wife's bag was ransacked in search of valuables but fortunately only had clothes inside. The zipper was broken. I intend to put up a write-up in one of the national newspapers on these issues. Let us speak out against this national embarrassment.
    I have witnesses on the Lagos-Dakar incident. I also picked up my wife n kids at Benin airport on their arrival and I saw the state of her luggage. Same Arik air. Na waoh
    God bless you Keren

    Dr. Okwara

    1. My problem is not particularly getting my watch back, but what really irks me is the impunity! Nobody has any right to open another person's luggage, then proceed to steal from the person. We pay for their services for goodness sake!


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