By Prince Okafor
ABUJA—A mild drama ensued at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, last weekend, as the pilot of Max Air got into a heated argument with a passenger who, out of frustration resulting from almost eight hours of flight delay, abused the pilot who had stepped violently on his toes without apology.
After boarding, the pilot delayed passengers for four hours, insisting that the passengers he had altercation with was removed from the plane.
An eyewitness told Vanguard that the flight scheduled for 8:45pm did not take off until about 4:00am.
A passenger and former editor of Punch Newspapers, Mr. Najeem Jimoh, who eventually dropped off the flight at past 3:00am, lamented that the situation would not have degenerated if the pilot had apologized to the passenger he stepped on.
Explaining what transpired, Jimoh said: “I arrived at the airport, hoping to board by 8:45pm, unfortunately for us, there was excuse that there would be delay of flight.
”We waited till 1:00am, and midway into the loading of the aircraft, someone dressed like a pilot rushed past and stepped on one of the passengers violently.
”Instead of apologising, he continued without turning to look at the position of the person he stepped on. Due to the agitation already caused by the flight delay, this passenger started abusing him.
”As a result of the development, the pilot now insisted that the only reason he will fly the aircraft is for the passenger to be offloaded.
”He even invited the security personnel around to drag the passenger out, but after hearing the side of the passenger, the personnel appealed to the passenger.
”Some passenger opted to come down if the pilot remained adamant about the situation, while others were pleading that he should let go, considering the time. But he insisted he will not fly the aircraft.”
”We were there till past 3:00am, I had to beg those involved to assist me in offloading my luggage and I left. I was not able to go to the hotel I lodge, I had to stop by my office in Abuja. I got there past 4:00am. I learnt the aircraft left around the same time I got to the office.
”This is very sad, the passenger did not fight him, he used the F… word on him, but in all honesty, is that enough to hold 150 passengers for about four hours just because of one person?”