Video:Chinedu’s Deportation Fiasco-Seven officials held in Lagos
Seven government officials and five airline crew have been detained in Nigeria for two weeks after they travelled to the country to deport Nigerian businessman Anthony Chinedu and two of his compatriots.
The officials from different government departments including foreign affairs, immigration and police, left Nairobi for Lagos in a chartered aeroplane on June 3 escorting the controversial businessman and two other Nigerians, Christopher Nnanyelu and Oluwatosin Adebiyi. The three had been declared prohibited immigrants in Kenya.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, the officials have not been allowed to leave Nigeria. They said authorities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos were holding them and their chartered East African Safari Express plane.
According to them, Nigerian authorities have insisted the Kenyans will not be allowed to fly out without the three men Kenya kicked out on drug trafficking claims.
Speaking to the Daily Nation from Nigeria on Sunday, one of the officials, who requested anonymity, said that attempts by the Kenyan embassy to secure their release had been unsuccessful.
Those stuck in Nigeria include Captain Tim Kavingo and his colleagues, flight engineer Alaka Ochieng’ and flight attendants George Kamau and Ismail Adan.
First officer Rokshanker Masoud, a Swede, is also affected.
The government officials who escorted the deportees were Mr Barasa Okosa, Mr Kariuki Ngugi, Mr Mungathia Muriira, Mr Pardala Dipason, Mr Kivuva Muthama, Mr Andrew Kambi and Mr Mutinda Kakindu.
A Nigerian journalist confirmed to the Nation that the aircraft was being held at the airport’s cargo air wing. The airline’s office in Nairobi did not return our calls on Sunday.
Sources indicated that the government of Sweden had already contacted its embassy in Nigeria to secure the release of the flight officer.
“We are stranded here. The airport commander has instructed that we cannot return to Nairobi without the deportees,” said the official who called the Nation from his hotel room.
The airport commander had blocked attempts by the East Africa Safari Express management to fly its crew back to Nairobi on a Kenya Airways flight. On Sunday evening, Foreign Affairs ministry’s Head of Communication Beatrice Kung’u admitted that several Kenyans, who accompanied the Nigerians deported 10 days ago, were still being held in Lagos.
But she could not discuss the circumstances under which the Nigerian authorities were detaining them.
“We are addressing the issue,” she said, but added that only the Immigration authorities could discuss the details.
Principal Secretary in the Interior ministry Mutea Iringo on Sunday said he was yet to receive information on the plight of the crew, but said he would check with the police.
They lost contact with the deportees after they arrived in Nigeria, the PS, under whose ministry Immigration falls, said.-nation.co.ke