CNNInternational interview with Nigeria'sPresident Obasanjo and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu onDemocracyand Security Issues


"Our ordeal with KLM"
"They bumped me and my daughter from a confirmedflight; then flies out with 5 pieces of our luggage...." TONY IGWE inexclusive interview tells USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwuof 5 hours of anguish and disappointments at the George BushInternational Airport in Houston, on Friday March 26,2004

 

Tell us briefly about this incident

Iset out on a family trip to Nigeria with my 4-year old daughter,Erinma, on March 26. On the other hand, I have the business componentto the trip. I bought a ticket from one the largest ticket servicescorporation in Texas, EST International Travel, Inc., in southwestHouston- fully paid to value of almost $2000.

Upon getting to the George Bush Intercontinental airport, wechecked in our luggages early enough for the KLM airlines/NWA(Northwest Airlines) flight 662Q (with confirmation #3YP8SD) andobtained two boarding passes/passenger verification card for a 4pmdeparture. We were checked in by Elysia Brown who told to proceed toGate D9 for departure.

Then what happened?

Upon reaching there, we queued in line as other passengers wereboarding, we were approached by a KLM staff person Mr. Danie DeSimonewho asked for my last name. I gave it to him; and he our seats werenot ready yet. I waited for about 10-15 minutes and told me "theflight was full."

I told him "I've a full ticket, I'm confirmed and I have aboarding pass, and wondered how the flight could have been full,suddenly?

What did he say?

He said that's all he had to tell me. I complained and hesuggested to put me in another day's flight. I insisted that I havetime-bound business and family commitments in Nigeria.

Where was your daughter at this time?

She was standing by me and was asking when we were going to board.She started crying when I told her the KLM airlines/NWA (NorthwestAirlines) would not board us for the flight to Nigeria. She criedmore and said she "I want to go see my grandma and aunties inNigeria."

Did they tell you any other thing?

Danie came back to ask my daughter's age. I told him she's 4.

It's really that the same falsely accused me of coming in at 3 pm.Which is not true. Regardless, I was fully checked in, with boardingpasses. I'm still wondering why they singled me out? Why were they soinsensitive to my daughter's pain and cries? Why did they fullyconfirm us for the flight only to maliciously remove us form thescheduled flight? They didn't care a little girl was traveling withme.

Have you ever flown KLM?

Yes; in 2001 to Nigeria.

Why did refuse the offer another day's flight?

Because of the mistreatment, the utter disregard forprofessionalism, customer courtesy. Basically everything went out thewindow. They did offer me any good reason. The false claim aboutcoming in late does not fly. How could I come in late and I still get7 lugagges checked. There simply no reasonable explanation other thantheir being accusatory about coming late. That's why I told them,flatly, that I will never fly KLM again!

What transpired after you made that decision?

When it became obvious they will not let us travel, I asked for myluggage. Danie told in a very condescending tone that "you should godownstairs, your luggage will be there waiting for you." When I gotdownstairs, they had only 2 pieces when I requested for the remaining5 they said they will bring them. I waited for about 20 minutes, andthey were forthcoming with the luggage. Elysia came to me then totell the other 5 luggage were on-flight to Nigeria.

She confirmed I came in on time, otherwise I would not have beenchecked in and confirmed and given a boarding pass.

Then she offered repeatedly, on behalf of the airlines, to pay$500 each if we agreed to fly with KLM another day.Which I refused. Iwent to the British Airways and she came over to me to make the sameoffer. The KLM people just won't quit. Yet, I must note that Elysiawas very nice and polite.

Do other Nigerians passengers face similar if not exactly thesame treatment of being pulled from their flights, sometimes?

Of course, yes. It's sad. Our people should not face suchdiscrimination. I've wondered why did my daughter have to go throughthe anguish of being ready and okayed for a flight to see her grandparents and family and then suddenly told she cannot travel. Whyshould we pay for such reckless and insensitive.

 


"Obasanjo has ruined this country...." An open letter to Nigeria's President Obasanjo. By Prof. Niyi Osundare:
Dear President, millions of Nigerians see you as the source of their problems. Millions curse you under their breadth. Millions more loudly pronounce their imprecations at the slightest opportunity. You rule over a degraded country, Mr. President; your every act has consistently contributed to that degradation.

Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability. By Chido Nwangwu, USAfricaonline.com Publisher.


NEWS INVESTIGATION: The Marc Rich Oil Deals in Nigeria
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?


Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
Why Bush should focus on
dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide.
How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By USAfricaonline.com contributor Prof. Mobolaji Aluko
Obasanjo's late wake to the Sharia crises, Court's decision and Nigeria's democracy. By Ken Okorie
Obasanjo's own challenge is to imbibe "democratic spirit and practice," By Prof. Ibiyinka Solarin
Johnnie
Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu
Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's challenge and crises? By USAfrica The Newspaper editorial board member, attorney Ken Okorie.
Obasanjo's late wake to the Sharia crises, Court's decision and Nigeria's democracy. By Ken Okorie
Sharia-related killings and carnage in Kaduna reenact deadly prologue to Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967. By Chido Nwangwu.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS

Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
ARINZE: Will he be the FIRST BLACK AFRICAN POPE? By Chido Nwangwu
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game 
It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers

Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa

Steve Jobs extends digital magic


Apple announces Titanium, "killer apps" and other ground-breaking products



USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.

CLASS is the leading social events and style magazine for Africans in north America.



APPRECIATION
A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."

TRIBUTE
A KING FOR ALL TIMES: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century.



Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu


Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam
DEMOCRACY DEBATE
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on CNN. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.

Tragedy of Ige's murder is its déjà vu for the Yoruba southwest and rest of Nigeria. By Ken Okorie
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
NEWS INSIGHT
CNN, Obasanjo and Nigeria's struggles with democracy.
Why Obasanjo's government should respect
CNN and Freedom of the press in Nigeria.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS


Lifestyle
Sex, Women and (Hu)Woman Rights. By Chika Unigwe

Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.
22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
Bola Ige's murder another danger signal for Nigeria's nascent democracy.

In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination, USAfricaonline.com Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'

AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
CONTINENTAL AGENDA
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson