By Akin Kuponiyi
A Lagos based engineer who is also chairman/managing Director of Zenith Precision Limited, a limited liability company with registered place of business at Plot 12, Oladele Kadiri Close, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos State,has renewed his legal battle against KLM Royal Dutch Airlines over alleged breach of contract.
According to amended statement of claim filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer Barrister Enitan Afolabi,the Plaintiff avers that on or about the 3rd of July, 2018 he embarked on a trip to Frankfurt, Germany on board of KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES for valuable consideration and was scheduled to return to Lagos, Nigeria from Stuttgart, Germany on 14th July, 2018 via a RESERVATION CODE, MOHSKI and AIRLINE RESERVATION CODE V4P8K4(KL) stating his itinerary.
The Plaintiff further avers that contrary to the agreed route from Stuttgart, Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands to Lagos, Nigeria, the Defendant rerouted his flight from Stuttgart, Germany to Paris, France to Casablanca, Morocco to Lagos Nigeria.
The flight from Stuttgart, Germany to Paris, France was delayed from 7.00am to 3.00pm for which the Defendant paid compensation of 600Euro to the Plaintiff.
The Plaintiff was belatedly put on Air France flight with promise to drop him in Lagos, Nigeria en-route Casablanca, Morocco. However, the Plaintiff was punishingly flown from Paris, France to Casablanca, Morocco and dropped there and he was left stranded and dangerously to his fate for over 24 hours, which when added to the delay re-route occasioned on the Plaintiff comes to 48 hours.
The 48 hours certainly looked like a couple of weeks. The Plaintiff was left to frustration, isolation and deep depression.
During this period the Plaintiff could not access his family in Nigeria, his business associates, he could not meet his business appointments with some of his business partners and left incommunicado with the outside world.
The plaintiff avers that having been abandoned in Casablanca, Morocco by the Airline he unsuccessfully tried to contact the defendant and/or Air France office at the airport but was prevented from accessing the office at a point where he was required to have a valid transit visa in order to do so.
The Defendant himself willingly refused, failed to come to the terrible position he had put him. He was harassed by Morocco’s immigration authorities and barely escaped prosecution and imprisonment. All his efforts to find a solution to his travails met with a stone wall and was left dejected, miserable and at the mercy of the unknown.
At the Airport he wandered from one point to the other aimlessly and soliloquizing as to how he came to find himself in this wretched and intolerable condition. He was taken to a waiting deportee room where he tried unsuccessfully to sleep alternating between the bare floor and the chair. He was unable to change his clothes for the 48 hours miserable duration. He was completely dehumanized!
The Plaintiff avers that after frantically seeking for solution to his travails and could not get one as the Defendant made himself unavoidable, irresponsible he was compelled to take his destiny in his hands as he struggled to book another flight vide Air Morocco to Lagos, Nigeria which cost him 700EU (Seven Hundred Euro).
Once inside the aircraft flying him to Nigeria he observed co-passengers avoiding him like a plague and some of them covering their noses. The Plaintiff further states that on getting to Lagos, Nigeria he wrote to the Defendant vide the Defendant’s online platform on 27th July, 2018, 5th August, 2018, 13 August, 2018 and 20th August, 2018 complaining of the willful misconduct of the Defendant, although the Defendant responded to his protest on the online platform by his email but namely: refused, failed and/or neglected to address his grievances and further refused, failed and/or neglected to proffer solution and/or adequate compensation. The compensation offered by the defendant fell far short of the losses he incurred in consequence of the willful misconduct of the defendant.
The Plaintiff’s protests on the aforesaid dates on the Defendant’s online platform had since disappeared and much as the Plaintiff tried he has not been able to recover them. The Defendant is hereby given notice to produce them at trial.
In consequence of the willful misconduct of the Defendant and his lackadaisical attitude to his travails, he had no alternative than to consult and retain the services of Afolasade Afolabi, Esq of Enitan Afolabi & Co who wrote the Defendant vide letters dated 21st May, 2019 and 24th June, 2019 and the defendant although replied the aforementioned letters persisted in his willful misconduct to meet the demand of the Plaintiff.
The Plaintiff suffered special and general damages in consequence of Defendant’s breach of contract and willful misconduct. The Plaintiff avers that he is entitled to be indemnified as he suffered verifiable financial losses occasioned by the acts of omission and commission of the defendant.
By reason of the Defendant’s incompetence, deliberate act, act of negligence and willful misconduct the Plaintiff has been put to a lot of financial losses, travel stresses, loss of professional time, criminal imputation etc. and his health has been seriously and adversely affected.
Consequently, Plaintiff claims the sum of 700 Euro + N1, 200,000.00 + N45, 000,000.00 (Forty Five Million Naira only) from the Defendant being general and special damages as follows:
(a) Special Damage
Particulars of Losses or special damages;
700 Euro or its naira equivalent which the plaintiff had to pay for the alternative arrangement for flight from Casablanca, morocco to Lagos, Nigeria.
Loss of professional time at N50, 000.00/per hour – for 24 hours = N1, 200,000.00.
(b) General Damages – N45,000,000.00
Total = 700 Euro + N1, 200,000.00+ N45, 000,000.00
Meanwhile,the presiding Judge Abimbola Awogboro has adjourned till 28th of March,2020 for hearing.