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Delta Air Lines Accused of Mistreating Nigerian Passengers – By Acclaimed Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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By Acclaimed Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  –

Award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has accused Delta Airlines of discriminating against Nigerian customers.
In a Facebook post, Adichie, whose books include Americanah, Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, took issue with Delta’s practice of requesting that customers produce a physical copy of their credit cards when checking in.
She began her complaint by reposting a letter she wrote to the airline in 2010, recounting an incident in which she had bought tickets for a flight to Nigeria for her elderly parents, but was forced to appear in person at the airport and present the credit card she had used before they could fly.

The airline, she said, “insisted that the credit card used to pay for the ticket must be physically produced, and the owner of the credit card physically appear, otherwise my parents would not be allowed to travel.” Her parents had already flown the outbound leg of the booking, and the credit card bill had been settled months earlier, she writes – saying it was obvious this was not a fraudulent transaction.

“I called and asked to speak to a manager and was rudely told that nothing could be done.
“I was shocked and unbelieving. My father, a 78-year-old diabetic who had an important family event to attend in Nigeria, was worried about missing his flight. I, unwell, was forced to dash to the airport as quickly as I could. I then ‘physically presented’ myself and my credit card.”
Her parents missed the flight.
Adichie says that, seven years on, “nothing has changed”.

The airline, she says, insists that it is policy to see the credit card used to book any flights purchased online or over the phone. However, she says, this has only ever happened to her when flying to Nigeria.
Even when buying tickets for family members from the US to Europe, Delta has not required her to show her card.
A spokesperson for Delta told The Media:
“To safeguard against credit/debit card fraud, a ticket purchaser may have to show a Delta agent the credit/debit card used to pay for their flights along with a valid photo ID prior to travel.
“If the purchaser is not travelling, they can present their credit/debit card and ID at an airport ticket counter or their local ticket office prior to the passenger’s departure. Delta implemented this policy many years ago to help protect both customers and the airline.
“The policy is not unique to Nigeria and is to protect against fraud.”
In her post, Adichie expressed sympathy with Delta’s need to prevent fraud but insisted the airline must “treat each case individually and not lump all Nigerian travellers into one group of potential fraudsters.”
A number of Nigerian citizens have told The Media that they have experienced similar problems.
One, who wished to remain anonymous, said that it had happened to them on more than one occasion: “Delta started doing that because some [people] stole credit card information and used other people’s credit cards to book flights. When the real owners find out, they just call their credit card companies to reverse the transaction and Delta is out of money.
“They found it most common that it happened with people flying to Nigeria, hence they started doing that.”
According to another passenger, who regularly flies between the UK and Nigeria: “I have been asked [to show my card], as having my family members as black Nigerians.”
However, they said that while it was common for black passengers to be asked, they had never seen it happen to a white passenger. “I understand there are fraud issues but the approach should be consistent and all passengers should be asked, not just those with a darker complexion,” they added.

 

Full Text :

DEAR DELTA AIRLINES, YOU MUST DO BETTER
Seven years ago, I sent this letter to Delta Airlines.
X
Delta Airlines Nigeria Policy: A Complaint
On April 20, 2010 I bought two Lagos-Baltimore return tickets on delta.com for my parents. I paid for the tickets with my credit card. They were scheduled to leave Lagos on June 3 2010 and return on November 1 2010. They arrived the United States as scheduled, with no incident. A few weeks later, our family plans changed. I contacted Delta and changed their return date to December 30 2010. A change fee was paid. Confirmation e-mails were sent. Everything else remained the same.
On December 30, I was ill in bed.
A family member took my parents to the airport. Delta representatives refused to check my parents in. They insisted that the credit card used to pay for the ticket must be physically produced, and the owner of the credit card physically appear, otherwise my parents would not be allowed to travel.
I called and asked to speak to a manager and was rudely told that nothing could be done.
I was shocked and unbelieving. My father, a 78-year-old diabetic who had an important family event to attend in Nigeria, was worried about missing his flight. I, unwell, was forced to dash to the airport as quickly as I could. I then ‘physically presented’ myself and my credit card.
My parents ended up missing their flight and were re-booked on the next flight.
While I understand that Delta is keen to prevent fraud, and I indeed sympathize about any fraudulent purchases that Nigerians might have made, Delta MUST also treat each case individually and not lump all Nigerian travelers into one group of potential fraudsters.
If the Delta representative had been willing to look at the specifics of this incident, it would have been quite clear that this was not in any way a fraudulent ticket purchase. My parents had already travelled on the first leg of the ticket months before and my credit card had already been fully charged.
I was fortunately at home, even if sick, but I might as well have been away. What then would have happened if I were unable to ‘physically appear?’ Does Delta expect everyone who buys tickets for family or friends always to be physically present at a Delta counter?
I write to register my profound disappointment and to strongly urge Delta to review its ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy towards Nigerian travelers. There must be ways to prevent fraud while also recognizing the individual humanity of each customer.
Sincerely,
Chimamanda Adichie
X
I sent this in 2010.
I received a generic, platitude-filled response, along with an inane one-hundred-dollar domestic Delta voucher that I never used.
It has been seven years and nothing has changed.
You still have to present yourself physically to show your card. No, you can’t have a family member bring the card. No, you can’t have a family member bring the card and a matching ID. (What are the odds that you would present a stolen credit card and a stolen valid ID?)
You complain and complain until you get tired because nobody cares. You tell yourself to just stop flying Delta but Delta has a monopoly on direct flights from the US to Nigeria, and the convenience, especially for elderly parents, matters.
You ask if this is something that Delta does only for Nigerian flights and you’re told that it’s done for all flight tickets bought online or over the phone.
But you know that is not true. You have purchased Delta tickets to Europe. You have never been asked to show your credit card. Not even when you purchased Delta tickets to Europe for a family member.
And as though it’s not bad enough that you have to physically present yourself at the airport, Delta gives you no confirmation that the card has been ‘presented.’ A Delta representative merely taps at a computer and says it’s done.
Which means that your cousin who flew from Lagos to the US, on a ticket you paid for, had difficulty boarding her flight, even though you had shown your card at the Delta counter at BWI, but you had no ‘proof’ of this.
Once in 2015 you were travelling from BWI to Lagos on a ticket purchased by a travel agent and Delta representatives asked for the credit card used to purchase the ticket, and you explained that it had been purchased by your Publisher’s travel agency and that you had already travelled on the first leg from Lagos to BWI.
But you were not allowed to board.
A Delta representative said, “your only option is to buy a new ticket here and the other one can be refunded later,” speaking airily as though buying a flight ticket was like buying candy.
You were frustrated and furious but you had to be in Lagos the next day. You were left no choice but to buy a new ticket at the airport. The Delta representatives remained indifferent as you tried to tell them how this made no sense, how you had already travelled on the first leg of the same ticket, how a ticket purchased by an established travel agency could not possibly be fraudulent.
‘Indifferent’ is inaccurate. The Delta representatives at BWI are decidedly unpleasant.
(except for one person, and it is telling that this one person stands out, so rare is her courtesy)
The others all glow with hostility.
You wonder if this hostility is simply the rage of workers who are not paid a fair wage, or if it is the armor they wear to implement policies that they know very well are ridiculous.
On another occasion in 2015 when you are forced to present yourself so that your parents could board a flight, you complain and ask for the manager. The manager looks through you as you try to speak. She manages to be both stone-faced and reproachful. You feel accused. You feel like a thief.
Nobody deserves this but even in an aviation industry that rewards frequent fliers with privileges, yours don’t count – your platinum frequent flier card means nothing because you are a Nigerian and Nigerians are all a blur of fraudulence. God save you if the only time you can go to the airport to ‘physically present yourself and your card’ happens to be a busy check-in time. You will stand in the special services line forever, ignored, waiting to convince Delta to take your money. If you do show the card but then need to change your travel to a different date, you must again physically show yourself and your card.
Delta’s policy is crude and contemptuous. Crude because Delta won’t bother to figure out a more sophisticated way to address fraudulent ticket purchases. Contemptuous because Delta is indifferent to the unfair burden that this places on Nigerians. Some hardworking Nigerians have two jobs, families, responsibilities. They buy tickets for themselves and their families, they pay with their hard-earned money, and Delta asks them to ‘present yourself’ at a Delta Airlines counter which may be twenty or fifty or one hundred miles from where they live.
Delta’s message is this: If you want your family to board their flight then present yourself, and prove to us that you are not a thief because we start with the premise that you are a thief.
And it might be a good idea, Delta, to better train your flight attendants on your Nigeria flights (or perhaps pay them a fair wage?) Like the patronizing woman in the business class cabin of the Lagos-Atlanta flight on October 31 2017 telling me that my two-year-old daughter – who had a full seat and presumably the normal rights of any passenger – was ‘annoying.’ She was ‘annoying’ because she was babbling like a two-year-old and had pressed the ‘call attendant’ button two times. I was stunned. Because I know how easily Nigerian passengers are labeled ‘aggressive’ and ‘difficult,’ I chose not to speak to this woman. I feared I might raise my voice.
Instead I wrote her a note on the menu card, telling her how unacceptable her manner and language had been and how people deserved to be treated with dignity. She read it and came to my seat and pushed the card back at me and said, “I will not accept this from you!”
Dear Delta Airlines, enough. You must do better.

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Emir Sanusi: Path to Africa’s development

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Africa’s development agenda must focus on the socio-cultural and commercial interests of Africans and the upliftment of Africa’s trade and economic ecosystem, said Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and a former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, during his address at the 2018 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group in Busan, Korea.
“Africa’s economic transformation will be best achieved through fast-tracking regional cooperation and the execution of hard-nosed structural reforms that focus on the development of the continent’s human capital and material resources,” said Emir Sanusi II.
The Emir shared insight about revamping African regional integration, trade and economic relations with Executive Directors and Governors of the Bank, comprising Finance, Budget and Economic Planning Ministers from member nations.

An economist and financial risk expert, the monarch traced Africa’s post-colonial economic woes to the continent’s fiscal indiscipline and endemic disregard for its competitive advantages. For these reasons, he asserted, Africa’s development was stunted and its global trade ties lopsided in favour of offshore trading partners.
“Nine out of every 10 countries in Africa have huge trade deficits with China, but Asia developed mostly on domestic investments and resources,” he noted, underscoring the need for African Governments to invest in and promote creativity and indigenous enterprise.

The Emir advocated a series of structural reforms, including strategic investments in key sectors including agriculture, infrastructure, education, and small and medium enterprises. He called for deliberate industrial diversification noting that China has begun to move its mega-sized manufacturing capabilities out of low-cost industries.
African Governments also need to eradicate constitutional provisions and structures that increase the cost of governance at national and sub-national levels, manage demographic growth, and revamp and harmonize moribund and ineffective customs and excise duties that promote cross-border smuggling and revenue losses to governments, he said.
Africa’s debt burden continues to inhibit capital investment in industrialization, he observed, lamenting the misallocation of resources: “We need to begin to ask ourselves, ‘what do we do with the available funds in our coffers?’”
“Perceptions matter. So there is an urgent need for improved transparency, as this is clearly linked to good governance,” he said. “We need to accept that we have a perception problem that we must address. We need to tackle corruption, block leakages and create opportunities for new jobs.”
“Private sector capital is crucial for sustained economic growth but so is government’s intervention in guaranteeing business externalities like power, water and waste management, roads, housing and the legal and regulatory environment for innovation, commerce and industry.”
On trade, the Emir called for a regional and pan-African approach to trade negotiations, a tactical model which should be led by the Bank.
“The African Development Bank has the intellectual resources and clearly is better positioned to negotiate with China on behalf of Africa as a bloc of nations,” he said. “Europe approached global trade as a bloc so why can’t African nations do the same? This is clearly another area in urgent need of the Bank’s intervention.”
President Adesina recalled the Emir’s progressive posture during his time in public service.
“As Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was pro-development. He channeled significant investments into agriculture, infrastructure and SMEs.”

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Ndigbo ask for Better Nigeria with Ekwueme Square Declaration

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By James Eze (eziokwubundu@gmail.com)

The Igbo ethnic nationality of Nigeria rose from their Summit on the Restructuring of Nigeria in Awka the capital of Anambra State on Monday with a Ten-point wish list seeking for a balanced federation that would meet their needs and the needs of other ethnic groups in Nigeria.
The Igbo position on restructuring which has been re-christened as ‘The Ekwueme Square Declaration;’ is a tightly knitted ten-point demand for a better Nigeria which opens with a demand for a Constitutional Conference backed by a law from the National Assembly that would provide a unanimously accepted platform where the diverse people of Nigeria would hammer out a new constitution that would be known as “The People’s Constitution.”
Delivering the Declaration at the hugely successful ceremony, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Chukwuma Soludo who is the Chairman of the Organizing Committee stated that the second item on the Igbo demand seeks a slight amendment to the current system of government as it recommends the retention of the presidential system only at the federal level, leaving the regions or states to choose the type of government that is best for them. But perhaps the most audacious demand under this point is that the tenure of the office of the President should be a single term of six years with five Vice-Presidents representing each of the geopolitical zones except the zone that produced the President. The demand prescribes the same tenure for Governors and Deputy Governors which would be rotated among the senatorial districts.
The third demand asks for six geopolitical zones forming the federating units or six regions of the country. There will therefore be six regional governments, each comprising the current states within each zone and any other state that may be created within the zone from time to time. Each Region will have its own Constitution, for the good governance, peace and development of the region. Such Regional Constitutions have to clearly delineate levels of authority between the regional government and the component states (that is, defining powers that are exclusive to the Region and powers that are residual to the states). The Regional Constitutions will not be inconsistent with the Constitution of the federation, and will be invalidated to the extent of its inconsistency with the federal constitution. It seeks a review of the current revenue sharing formula based on local governments to a new structure based on regions. Consequent upon this, the Ekwueme Declaration therefore demands for an additional state for the South East Zone in line with the 2014 National Conference which states that in the spirit of reconciliation, equity, fair play and justice, a new state should be created in the South East.
The forth demand is for equality of all the regions or states that become the federating units while the fifth insists on the scrapping of the concept of State of Origin from the constitution to be replaced by the State of Residence. Expounding this concept The Ekwueme Square Declaration recommends that ‘any child born of Nigerian parents anywhere in Nigeria should acquire the indigeneship (residency) rights of the area at birth. It also recommended that any Nigerian citizen who has resided in any part of Nigeria and paid taxes there for a period of ten years can acquire the indigeneship (residency) rights of the area, except the right to their traditional stool.
The sixth demand makes a solid case for a two or three-tier police structure with defined responsibilities that would be controlled by the federal and state or regional governments respectively while the seventh seeks the abrogation of section 162 of the 1999 Constitution which vests control of resources in the federal government. It recommends a truly federal system that gives control of resources to the federal units, vesting ownership rights, control and exploitation of resources in the states. It also argues that the federating units should keep 50% of rents, royalties and profit taxes on minerals from their lands while paying 20% to the regional government and 30% to the federal government.
Demand number eight makes a strong case for the replacement of the Federal Character Commission with Merit and Equal Opportunities Commission to ensure that merit is entrenched in the conduct of national and regional affairs, prescribing that 60% should be reserved for merit and 40% for affirmative action.
The ninth item demands that elections into the office of the President and federal legislature should be conducted by the electoral body of the Federal Government while elections into regional/state offices should be conducted by electoral bodies set up by the regional/state Constitutions or laws.
And finally, the tenth declaration seeks the latitude for federating units to have their own judicial systems with courts of first instance, appellate courts and Supreme courts to adjudicate on matters that are in the concurrent and residual lists as well as matters exclusively preserved for the federating units.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano had recounted that for 58 years, Ndigbo had worked tirelessly with other Nigerians to lay a foundation for a better federation and a more perfect union.
“We have made the most sacrifices and more often than not, we have also paid the supreme price for the unity of this country. But we have made these sacrifices in the belief that in the contemporary history of mankind, the road to nationhood is often paved with the blood of patriots. Indeed, Ndigbo have paid the price for Nigeria’s greatness. We paid in blood. We paid in FULL!” he declared.

Then, rallying Ndigbo to rise to the occasion, Governor Obiano observed that “the future summons us to a brighter dawn! And we must walk in the shadows of our fathers. Yes, our fathers played a major role in Nigeria’s long road to independence. And today, we have gathered to dream a balanced federation into existence for Nigeria and Nigerians.”

Noting that every nation on earth is work in progress, Governor Obiano observed that “citizens of both advanced and developing countries continue to ask their countries hard questions that will lead them to a better federation, a better nation and a better society. And Nigeria cannot be an exception to this rule. So, we must ask Nigeria hard questions too!”

Governor Obiano further observed that following in the footsteps of their forebears who invested their youthful hopes and intellectual power in Nigeria, the younger generation of Ndigbo have ‘invested our wealth, our enterprise and our emotion in remaking Nigeria. Indeed, no other ethnic group has as much emotional investment in the Nigerian project as Ndigbo. And now, we have been called upon to re-imagine Nigeria. We welcome this challenge with both hands.”

Articulating the wishes and aspirations of Ndigbo, Obiano declared that “as governor of Anambra State, I was born and raised in Nigeria and I have lived in Nigeria for the better part of my life. I have lived the Nigerian Dream and experienced the horrors of Nigeria’s many Heartbreaks. I know what my people want from Nigeria and the question we must ask of Nigeria. We must ask what every forward looking people want from any socio-political arrangement… life, liberty and a chance to raise happy families. We must ask for a just, fair and equitable federation where every citizen is guaranteed the freedom to be the best they can be and to aspire to the highest position in the land regardless of their tribe, culture or religion. And this is what Nigeria in its present structure, has not given to us!”

Also speaking, the 91-year old leader of the Ijaw ethnic nationality, Chief Edwin Clark observed that Ndigbo had been treated very unkindly by the federal government and wondered why Igbo youths who bore no arms and hurt nobody had to be branded as terrorists.

Chief Clark also blamed the federal government for not giving Ndigbo an additional state as recommended in the 2014 Constitutional Conference and insisted that such denials and deprivations were behind the spate of separatist agitations from the region.

The event also featured moving speeches from the leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the Middle Belt, Dan Sulaiman, Chairman of the occasion Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu among many others.

 

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Zimbabwe applies to re-join Commonwealth, 15 years after leaving

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Lagos, Nigeria – Zimbabwe has applied to re-join the Commonwealth after the country withdrew its membership 15 years ago under former President Robert Mugabe.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa submitted a application on May 15 for the country to return to the 53-member group of mostly British former colonies.
“Zimbabwe’s eventual return to the Commonwealth, following a successful membership application, would be a momentous occasion, given our shared rich history,” Scotland said in a statement.

To rejoin, Zimbabwe must go through an assessment followed by consultations with other members states, the statement said.
Zimbabwe was first suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 on the grounds that Mugabe, who had ruled the country since independence in 1980, rigged his re-election in 2002 and persecuted his opponents.

The former dictator withdrew Zimbabwe’s membership out of the group after the country’s suspension was renewed in 2003.
Mugabe was ousted last November following a military takeover and impending impeachment ending his 37-year rule over the country.
The Commonwealth secretariat will send observers to monitor the country’s elections in July, following an invitation from the Zimbabwean government, the statement said.

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Ohanaeze Ndigbo seeks 6-year single term for president, governors

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Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a socio-cultural umbrella of Ndigbo, has called for the adoption of a six-year rotational single tenure for the president and governors of 36 states in the country.
It also demanded creation of one additional state in the South-East geo-political zone, scrapping of local government system and resource control for states where natural resources were exploited.

These were some highlights of the resolutions tagged, “Ekwueme Square Declaration 2018’’, which members of Ohanaeze Ndigbo reached during their one-day summit in Awka on Monday.
Charles Soludo, the Chairman, Planning and Strategy Committee and Organising Committee, read out the resolutions.
Mr Soludo further said Ohanaeze want the federal government to adopt the report of the 2014 National Conference.
He said the resolution already ratified by all the component arms of Ohanaeze, equally demand that the current Constitution of Nigeria, which he stated was the product of the military, be redrafted.
Mr Soludo added that Ohanaeze recommended that a constituent assembly for the drafting of a new constitution be constituted and thereafter a referendum be held, adding, “Whatever recommendations of the group would be sent to National Assembly.”
He said the group also demanded for the scrapping of state of origin and its replacement with residential rights whereby a Nigerian would have full right in any place he or she resides for 10 years.
On the six years single tenure, the group noted that six vice presidents from each of the six geo-political zones should be elected, while the governorship seat would be rotated among the senatorial districts.
On his part, John Nwodo, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the summit was organised to enable Ndigbo articulate major challenges affecting the country.

Mr Nwodo claimed that the present constitution of the country was skewed against Igbo people and should be redrafted to give Igbo people fair treatment.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, challenged the Ohanaeze leadership to convince those yet to support the restructuring of the country to back the idea.

Mr Ekweremadu assured that he would table any bill on the restructuring of the country whenever the Ohanaeze present it at the National Assembly.
A former Foreign Affairs Minister, Ike Nwachukwu, who also spoke called on the people of Middle Belt to support the call for restructuring of Nigeria, claiming that they stand to gain more.
Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the Chairman of the summit, called on Igbo people especially the leaders to exhibit honesty in their affairs, to help move the people forward.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra in his address thanked the organisers for choosing his state for the summit organised for the Igbo people to articulate what they want as Nigerians.
Earlier in a sermon, Ben Osisioma of the Anglican Communion, called on Ndigbo to rely on God for solution to their challenges in Nigeria.
The summit was attended by prominent Igbo leaders from Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Rivers and Delta.
(NAN)

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Flutterwave Chief Executive Joins World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders Community

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Flutterwave, Nigeria Chief Executive Iyinoluwa Aboyeji has been nominated amongst one hundred that are joining the World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leaders community this year.

He is the co-founder of a digital payments platform designed to make it easier to do business across the continent. Previously, he was one of the founders of Andela – a company training African developers and hiring them out to global tech companies – which received investment from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

The one hundred of the world’s brightest under 40 invited to Shape an inclusive and sustainable future according to WEB. “One hundred of the world’s most promising artists, business leaders, public servants, technologists and social entrepreneurs have been asked to join the World Economic Forum’s community of Young Global Leaders. They are joining a community and five-year programme that will challenge them to think beyond their scope of expertise and be more impactful leaders. They were nominated because of their ground-breaking work, creative approaches to problems and ability to build bridges across cultures and between business, government and civil society.

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