Connect with us

News

Oby Ezekwesili Narrates Airport Harrasment by SSS

Published

 on

Oby Esekwesili & Onyeka Onwenu - May 2014 - BellaNaija.com 01
On Monday, social media activist and the former Minister of Education Oby Ezekwesili announced via Twitter that the State Security Service detained her at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja and seized her passport.

She was on her way to London for a BBC Hard Talk interview.

On Tuesday, Ezekwesili narrated her ordeal to members of the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans.

According to Punch, it was in a statement bu CANAN Executive Director Pastor Laolu Akande after the former minister visited the group in London.

“I arrived at the airport yesterday (on Monday) to travel to London on British Airline. First, after the luggage screening section, I moved to the Customs people, sitting right next to it and do a more thorough bag search. Rather than they handling my luggage as is the practice, there were three SSS men, who rudely took over before they could do so, and ordered me to open my bag.

I was travelling light, with just my hand luggage leather roll on and my computer bag. I placed the bag for them (to see) and one was already furiously frisking through it when the Customs advised that a woman be allowed to do it. She was allowed and she did it.

She finished, zipped up the luggage and they said I could proceed. But I asked that the computer bag be also searched, and they did.

I went on to do my checking and got my boarding pass, and was swiftly done. I arrived the Departure Immigration Desk at about 7.15am and presented my passport and forms. The Immigration staff did his processing and handed to the SSS official.

Usually, their entire process lasts no more than five to 10 minutes on a passport. As a frequent traveller through our Lagos and Abuja airports, I speak based on experience and evidence. Even on the same day, the process for other travellers that I witnessed did not last more than five minutes. But on Monday, it became five, 10, 15 and 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 minutes for the Departure Desk processing for me, with no explanation given except “We act under instruction.”

And when she asked why her passport had not been given to her;

“He responded, ‘I am not doing this personally madam. I am simply acting based on instruction, and you of all persons should understand that.’

When it was 20 minutes into the process, and with BA announcing the final boarding call for the 8am flight, the officer walked out of the cubicle, heading off. I followed him, asking where he was going without giving back my passport nor an explanation on why it was being withheld. His nonchalant response was ‘just wait. I am trying to help you’.

It became evident that they withheld the passport to detain me at their departure desk in order to miss the flight. That was when I tweeted @ 7.37am ‘@obyezeks: Is this a democracy? I am being detained by the SSS @ Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. The SSS has refused to give my passport to me.’ At 7.41am ‘@obyezeks: On my way to London this morning for my @BBCHARDtalk appearance billed for tomorrow and the SSS has detained me by withholding my passport.’

At that point, I brought out my phone to record him even as I asked for the passport. He got angry and charged at me that he would seize my phone. Then his colleague screamed at him a third time to handover the passport. He did.

18 Comments

  1. moimoi

    July 23, 2014 at 5:44 am

    you vexed someone high up there madame, they were just trying to make you sweat! i smell Doyin okupe!!!

  2. B

    July 23, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Eish pls edit headline o “Airport”

  3. Funmi

    July 23, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Watched her interview this morning on BBC hard talk it was an interesting interview. What a shame to my fatherland called Nigeria.

  4. Beeee

    July 23, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Of course she is implying that they SSS was working on instruction from Jonathan. Our government is not perfect, obviously but what did these ex politicians do when they were in office? What did this woman do while she was the Minister of Education. In the State of Georgia in the US, Governor Roy Barnes started the Hope Scholarship which pays college tuition for all high school students with a 3.0 GPA. This scholarship has lasted through several administrations.. What did this woman do as a Nigerian Education Minister. Today she wants to be an activist. Was she an activist for change when she was in office? They are all the same to me so she should stop with this hypocrisy abeg. No one is saying she shouldn’t speak but if she was really detained, she wouldn’t have been able to tweet.

  5. Idak

    July 23, 2014 at 10:00 am

    In the inner recesses of her heart, I am sure this woman wishes she did more during her time in govt. The fact that she was same as those in there now makes her activism ring a bit hollow.
    I hope Abati and NOI will not come back as activist after his govt and try to tell us about the lofty intentions they had while in govt. The future will forever judge your actions and damn your intentions.

  6. Ifeanyi

    July 23, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Madam Ngozi, top government officials both on favour or out of favour do not open her mouth widely to the public, a state man you are however is part of your responsibilty to restore Nigeria diginity not by condeming every action carried by the govt via the media. how come you only speaking now? You were one of them some years back and to my knowledge you never agitated a meaninigful change or highlighted the atrocity going on in the government. Prof Bath Nnaji during his short term showed that not every govt officials are senseless, he did it and today every Nigerian is proud of his work though he never last. You should use your fame for what will benefit every member of this country

  7. Atyl

    July 23, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Madam, I do not buy your crocodile tears. The table has turn against you and you turn activist. Please stop all this and ask God and all Nigerians for forgiveness because you are not better off.

    • Rick

      July 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      You sound foolish.

  8. Ogini

    July 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    @ beeee, idak and ifeanyi I second your comments….

  9. racy

    July 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    dis woman dat is always looking unkept, y dnt u respect ur self n let us rest wit ur boring activist work. stop deceiving ur self, we know who u r(wolves in sheep’s clothing

  10. ak

    July 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Nigerians and your lack of knowledge….. All the commenters on here.. Have several seats.

    Oby was a Minister not a Politician. She never campaigned to be Minister, she was appointed to the role. Her job duties were first in the Mining, then in Education sector.

    She was Minister of Education for only one year before She moved on to the World Bank, probably out of frustration and a need to align herself with her background in Economics/Accounting

    Oby is known everywhere as “MADAM DUE PROCESS”

    In a nation lacking the very definition of that word, any individual whose nickname is that, is definitely one who was outstanding.

    Finally, comparing the kidnap and utter displacement of over 300 girls and nonchalance that is so egregiously displayed on a daily basis by a group of inept leaders and equally inept Military to providing Scholarship for high school students is just plain foolish.

    • Idak

      July 23, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      I think you are more in need of the several seats you are offering.Ezekwesili started off in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration as the Pioneer head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (aka Due Process Unit). It was in this position that she earned the sobriquet of “Madam Due Process”. So nothing extra ordinary there.
      Some of the criticisms being levelled on this page are nothing out of order. If she was as militant in govt as she has been out of government, then you will have a point.
      She dis not move to the world Bank out of frustration. She was nominated by the govt of the day.
      Absolving her of inability to effect change from within because she was not a politician but a minister, is laughable at best.

    • Akwanwa

      July 24, 2014 at 7:30 am

      @ Idak, I agree with U̶̲̥̅̊ in all totality

    • ak

      July 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Actually there is everything extraordinary there. A nickname shows what people think of you: Iron lady didn’t get that nickname by accident, neither did President Sidon Watch, and definitely not Madam Due Process

      Your whole reply, while well intentioned, proved and expantiated on my point.

      You say, “She dis not move to the world Bank out of frustration. She was nominated by the govt of the day.” …. I said “She was Minister of Education for only one year before She moved on to the World Bank, probably out of frustration and a need to align herself with her background in Economics/Accounting”

      Please tell me, is Education related to Economics? Assuming the Govt nominated her for that post (which by the way is similar to the post from which she was first appointed), from a totally different position, pls tell me what that means?

      3. You sound like I said she started off as a Minister… Please re-read my comment.. “Her job duties were first in the Mining, then in Education sector.” In context of the previous sentence, “She never campaigned to be Minister, she was appointed to the role.” this statement means, her first duties as a Minister, not in the government, were in the Mining sector.

      Finally, i will respond to “Absolving her of inability to effect change from within because she was not a politician but a minister, is laughable at best” by simply saying what I said before “comparing the kidnap and utter displacement of over 300 girls and nonchalance that is so egregiously displayed on a daily basis by a group of inept leaders and equally inept Military to providing Scholarship for high school students is just plain foolish.”

      Issues of terrorism are vastly different from issues of Corruption.

      Like I said, “Nigerians and your lack of knowledge….. All the commenters on here.. Have several seats.” Maybe I should have added lack of comprehension skills.

    • ak

      July 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Listen to her BBC HardTalk podcast… where she says, she was simply “frustrated”

      That, my dear Idak, is what 100% of Nigerians are… We hear the news and we are just frustrated… almost to the point of even accepting it as an everyday occurence.

      Oh bomb blast in Kaduna, again? Nothing new under the Sun.

      Sometimes it takes that one event to alter one’s perception. This Chibok girls issue has been that for many Nigerians… Minister or Politician or What not.

      May our country pursue, attack and recover everything plundered away from us by the wicked people we call our leaders and whom we place our trust in.

  11. NNENNE

    July 24, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Madam Oby, please focus on the girls release. Stop making it seem like Jonathan kidnapped them..Jonathan is not the criminal here but Boko Haram. Let’s all work with him till the girls come home. If you have great ideas, how this can happen, share them. Let’s put BH to trial not GEJ.

  12. ak

    July 24, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    AND ALSO LEARN AND NEVER REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKES

  13. ak

    July 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    BTW Idak and Co….

    Please venerate yourselves by showing us one tangible way you have spoken up against Boko Haram and Chibok kidnappings… in your place of work, school, or church

    Tell me how many rally’s you’ve held? How many petitions you’ve asked to be signed?

    or even better, please tell me if everyday, for the last 100+ days, you’ve prayed for the safe release of ChibokGirls.

    IF you have, then please, start casting stones…. if not, then just sidon watch and let someone take up the cause you cannot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tangerine Africa


Star Features

css.php