Businesswoman drags airline to court demands N250m compensation

by David Ibemere

March 4, 2018 | 7:20 am
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A Nigerian business woman, Tolulope Ogundokun has dragged Turkish Airline to Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for the  treatment she received from the Airlines’ Official in turkey, which include delayed boarding, and delayed delivery of her two luggage for four days during her trip from during her trip from Istanbul, Turkey, to Heathrow, London
Ogundokun, who resides in Lagos, told the Federal High Court through her counsel, Mike Igbokwe (SAN) how she was battered and physically abused by a staff of Turkish Airlines at Ataturk International Airport, Turkey, for asking why she had SBY (standby) on her boarding pass instead of a seat number.
According to her in an affidavict, “I got to the check-in Line C Counter to enquire why standby on my Boarding Pass. The Airline representative told me the flight was overbooked but I should go to the boarding gate, I may be considered if the area was not fully occupied.”
When she insisted on seeing the manager for further explanation despite her confirmed ticket, her wish was granted. “But then the manager, Selim Tartan, told me to go check their website, that a confirmed ticket did not guarantee a seat on the aircraft. His words: ‘I don’t have time for you.’
She continued: ”You can stand there and keep asking me questions,’ Tartan fumed and threatened that if I persisted in knowing why I was put on standby he would not allow me to travel on the flight and that if I did he would remove my checked-in luggage from the aircraft”.
On getting to London, Tolu  said she discovered that Mr Tartan had carried out his threat: her checked-in luggage were not on the plane. .
Returning to Nigeria, Tolu through her Solicitor,  Mike Igbokwe SAN, sued the Airline in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/439/17 for delayed boarding and delayed baggageTolu is claiming, among others, for the sum of N250,000,000.00 as damages.
The Airline, however, filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court on the ground that the Federal High Court was not the proper forum to hear the Plaintiff’s case.
The Defendant wanted the case to be heard in Turkey, as opposed to Nigeria where Tolu instituted the case. Tolu’s Counsel objected, citing Section 251(1k) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); and Section 7(1k) of the Federal High Court Act, CAP F12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (as updated to 2010).
On the other hand, Tolu/Plaintiff’s Counsel, Igbokwe SAN opposed the objection and argued that Section 33(1) of the Montreal Convention, 1999 allows the Plaintiff to file the instant suit in any of the four jurisdictions mentioned therein. The learned Silk argued that Section 33(1) of the Montreal Convention, 1999 gives the Plaintiff the option of suing in any of the below four jurisdictions:
He further argued that what the law recommends is that “an action for damages may be brought at the option of the Plaintiff in the territory of any of the State Parites.” submitting that the jurisdiction to institute the action is at the “option of the Plaintiff” and not for the Defendant to decide for the Plaintiff.
 The Court thereafter struck out the further-affidavit and the reply on Points of Law and adjourned the case to March 9 this year for Ruling.

by David Ibemere

March 4, 2018 | 7:20 am
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