Abuja - Some customers on Wednesday besieged the office of Air Nigeria in Abuja to demand the refund of the money they spent in buying flight tickets they did not utilise.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had in June, suspended the operations of the airline due to lack of maintenance.
Consequently, the Chairman of the airline, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, shut down the company for one year with effect from Sept. 10, and sacked 550 members of staff, while retaining 50.
Some of the customers told NAN that the management of the airline had yet to refund their money and that they were asked to contact the head office of the airline in Lagos.
Mr Olumuyiwa Okunade said he had been to the Abuja office on several occasions for the refund of his money.
He said that the few workers he met at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, refused to pay attention to his complaints.
Another customer, Chinyere Anyamele, said a notice on the door directed complainants to Air Nigeria’s head office, adding that it would cost more money to get to Lagos.
``Is the airline indirectly telling us to forfeit our money? It is not easy for someone who bought an air ticket in Abuja to travel down to Lagos for a refund.
``The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the NCAA should do something about this,'' she said.
Mr Ambros Dickson said: ``I am not a Nigerian, but I use the airline because of its name, thinking that it is better. But now, I can see that they are all the same,’’ he said.
Pastor Sola Ogunmodimu, another customer, described the development as fraudulent.
``It is a fraudulent act. Even before now, the airline was not treating passengers rightly. It is not customer’s fault that the airline failed in its operations.
``After sacking the workers, they are also supposed to attend to the customers whom they have collected airfares from.
``I am here again today to check if I will meet anybody. I have gone to their office at Transcorp, but they kept directing me to their head office,'' Ogunmodimu said.
NAN also recalls that the chairman of the airline also announced the suspension of its local, regional and international flights based on what he described as ``disloyalty of its staff''.
In a statement, the chairman said it was difficult to continue further investment in the carrier with the high level of staff disloyalty and weak business environment.
Ibrahim, in the statement, said 50 loyal members of staff had been selected with a mandate to recommence business within 12 months.