According to a report by The PUNCH, a lawyer, who has been identified only as Abimbola, has lamented the loss of his property after he boarded a Delta Airline flight from Atlanta, United States of America, to Lagos.
Abimbola said efforts to recover the items since March 16, 2022, when the incident happened, had been abortive, alleging negligence on the side of the airline.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the legal practitioner and his wife travelled from Newark to Lagos via Atlanta.
The couple were reportedly requested to check in their carry-on luggage by the airline staff because the flight was fully booked without space in the aircraft cabin for loads.
The duo were said to have hesitated in releasing the luggage, but eventually dropped it with the Delta baggage handlers.
Abimbola, who was travelling with his wife for his 60th birthday celebration in Lagos, stated that he observed that his items were missing when he arrived in Lagos.
He listed the lost items to include a black Louis Vuitton cross-body vintage bag gifted to him by his wife for his 50th birthday, a pair of Versace transition sunglasses, another pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, a Movado wristwatch, two Apple laptops, an Apple CD loader, Apple air pods, a box with gold jewellery and other acquisitions.
He noted that he initially suspected the driver assigned to carry his family’s load from the airport.
“On March 20, 2022, I lodged a formal complaint at a local police station (Maroko Police Station) in Lagos and a police detective, Mrs Awe, was assigned to investigate it. This was because our entire luggage was in his (driver’s) custody.
“After the questioning, we concluded that there was merely circumstantial evidence, which did not establish any sufficient wrongdoing on the part of the driver,” he added.
Abimbola stated that he made further attempts by tracking his stolen Airpods with his US phone to a private house 10 minutes away from the Atlanta airport.
Upon the discovery, the lawyer said attempts to reach the Delta airline were abortive.
He said after several attempts to reach the airline’s help desk in Atlanta also failed, an official of the aviation company, identified as Tracy Adkins, contacted him.
The lawyer said, “She called me again the second time on the same day and we spoke at length during which she dropped a hint that regardless of whatever claim I may submit, the maximum compensation Delta will offer is $1,700.
“This is a slap on my face, a violation of my person and an assault on my dignity.”
Abimbola told PUNCH Metro that some of the items had “sentimental value” and that if he was flying to London as a British citizen, he would have been treated with more respect.
His lawyer, Akinwale Akintomiwa, said he would sue for damages on behalf of his client.
He said, “We are still putting our facts together and preparing the court processes. We have yet to file the matter in court. We will write a formal letter of demand stating that he (the victim) should be fully compensated rather than the meagre sum of $1,700 which Delta offered. “
Akintomiwa stated that the case would be taken seriously because of the perceived discrimination on the part of the airline.
He said, “From the facts of this case, there is absolutely no gainsaying the fact that the airline is liable for this egregious breach. The airline is in clear breach of the contract to transport him and his goods to Lagos safely and they are liable. The principle of law is that where there is a wrong, there must be a remedy. Ubi jus ubi remedium.”
The lawyer said Abimbola might be seeking various reliefs from the court, including an order compelling the company to pay the sum of N17,751,000 and the sum of 5,000,000 as general damages for the loss of the valuables.
The Director, Corporate Communications, Delta Airline, Olivia Cullis, in an e-mail to the media consultant of the airline, which was shared with PUNCH Metro, stated that the company had investigated the incident.
She said, “Delta works to put our customers front and centre of our business every day. We launched an internal investigation into this incident and responded to the Department of Transportation following the customer’s complaint. The response included Delta making a settlement directly with the customer, which adheres to guidelines set by the Montreal Convention.”
Efforts to reach the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, on the incident via calls and text messages were abortive.
Despite repeated attempts, our correspondent did not get any response as of the time of filing this report.