Nigeria’s Emirates’ 777 Seizure
A federal high court judge in Lagos, Nigeria, has ordered the seizure of an Emirates Boeing 777. This comes after a motion was filed seeking for the enforcement of a Supreme Court judgment in a suit between a Nigerian citizen and the airline. The airline owes N8.1 million, which is ~22,375USD.
With this decision, Justice Mohammed Liman ruled the following:
“It is accordingly ordered that an attachment is hereby issued on the judgment debtor’s aircraft registered as ‘A6 Aircraft Type 77W EK: 783/784’, or any other aircraft belonging to the judgment debtor which flies into Nigeria Territory, to be arrested and detained until the judgment debt is fully paid: in default after 30 days, the aircraft shall be auctioned to satisfy the judgment debt.”
The judge has also ordered that Emirates is responsible for the cost of maintenance and custody of the aircraft while it’s held in Nigeria.
Emirates operates 2x daily flights between Dubai and Lagos. Best I can tell they’re currently operating as scheduled in both directions.
What Exactly Led To This?
This situation seems to involve a case between Emirates Airline and Promise Mekwunye that dates all the way back to 2007 (at least that’s my belief, based on doing some Googling).
The person in question was booked on an Emirates itinerary from Dallas to Houston to Dubai to Lagos and back. The ticket was booked seven months in advance, and the ticket was “confirmed” more than three times before the travel date of December 17, 2007.
However, when the passenger showed up at the airport she was denied boarding, and “no reason was given to her.”
So she had to purchase a ticket for $3,200 from Dallas to London to Dubai to Lagos, a route that took a “stressful” 48 hours to complete.
This case has been fought for over a decade, it would appear, and the legal costs have racked up, which is why the total is now nearly 10x the original amount.
At least it’s my understanding that this is the cause, because when I Google the person’s name and the airline, that’s the only case that comes up. If I’m totally off base, someone please correct me.
For a huge international airline, it’s not worth canceling flights over ~$23,000. I’ll be curious to see if Emirates just pays the amount, or if we do see a 777 seized for some amount of time, because perhaps Emirates will appeal the decision on principle.