The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has urged the Minister of Interior, Major General Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd) to look into the prevention of its president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba from travelling from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to Lome, Togo, by officials of Asky Airline.
The NLC in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, explained that the officials of Asky Airline denied Comrade Wabba boarding, despite tendering his ECOWAS Travel Certificate duly issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria on behalf of ECOWAS.
The statement noted that officials of the said airline claimed that they were acting on the instructions of the Togolese Government, which the NLC says translates to the fact that the Government of Togo, a member of ECOWAS, does not recognize the travel document tendered by Comrade Wabba.
The statement reads, “Comrade Wabba’s ECOWAS travel document was issued on July 16, 2015 and has an expiration date of July 15, 2017. He has used the same document to enter into Senegal and Ghana in the past. We are not aware of the fact that the Republic of Togo has withdrawn its membership of ECOWAS. And if it is a subsisting member of ECOWAS, we find it inexplicable that it could mete out this kind of treatment to travelers of Nigerian origin.
“We hold the view that Nigerians, wherever they are, are deserving of protection if they act within the law. Comrade Ayuba Wabba was expected at Lome this morning for an activity of ITUC-Africa. The disruption of his travel plan and by extension, denial of his participation at this major activity, has caused him considerable embarrassment as well as constituted a set-back to the Nigeria Labour Congress and Nigeria. Other Nigerians who have been so similarly treated, no doubt, have suffered various degrees of losses.
“In light of the above, we would wish to invite your intervention on this matter, at least, in order to save future occurrences”.
The NLC further said that Immigration officials, who witnessed the episode, lamented that many Nigerians have been subjected to this humiliating experience, adding that at the time of ticket purchase, the Airline did not deem it necessary to warn prospective passengers of ECOWAS origin that the Togolese Government does not accept or recognize the ECOWAS Travel Certificate.
According to the statement, pages of Comrade Wabba’s ECOWAS Travel Certificate was copied to Minister of Foreign Affairs; Executive Secretary, ECOWAS Commission; The Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Togo in Nigeria; and Controller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service.