After a 12 year battle, a Nigerian court ordered Emirates to pay a local businessman $1.63 million in compensation for a single piece of lost luggage.
Orji Prince Ikem, a businessman from Nigeria, was traveling to China when his two suitcases were lost without an explanation at Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos (LOS) in 2007. The bags contained $700,000 and $930,000 of cash, respectively. Ikem was carrying the money in order to purchase goods in China, according to local media reports.
According to the businessman, before he boarded his Emirates Airlines flight, staff requested to take the luggage for safekeeping in the cockpit. After he refused a couple of times, Ikem handed the luggage in order not to miss his flight. However, after landing at his final destination in Guangzhou, China, he found that his luggage was lost and the airline could not find it.
For the next 12 years, Ikem was trying to track down his luggage. However, the Nigerian businessman was unsuccessful in his search. Emirates reportedly told him that the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) was responsible for all baggage handling processes at LOS.
The Federal High Court in Lagos ordered Emirates to repay the $1.63m that was lost, in addition to another $131,000 in compensation. “I hold that Emirates Airlines failed in its obligations to customers by not delivering the luggage containing the sum of $1.63 million,” announced the judge.
“Emirates has already filed an appeal in this matter and we will be vigorously defending our position,” commented the airline’s spokesperson.