The Egyptian Immigration Service on Monday has detained 59 Nigerians travelling to the United Arab Emirates at the Cairo International Airport.
SaharaReporters gathered that the passengers had boarded an EgyptAir flight from Lagos to Dubai, which would have a stopover at the Cairo airport.
One of the passengers told SaharaReporters that they were stopped from booking hotels and confined to a particular area in the airport and that all they were told was that it was for “security reasons”.
He said they were exposed to COVID-19 risks and extreme weather conditions.
He said, “Our plan was to take a trip from Lagos to Dubai with a stopover in Egypt and we are being held with no reasonable explanation; we have children, women and men here who have had to sleep on the floor and chairs.
“EgyptAir started their shoddy service delivery from Lagos by delaying flights for 75minutes, little did I know our ordeal had just begun. We got to Egypt at 9:20pm on Tuesday and we were asked to submit our passport for stamping (visa on arrival) before proceeding to our hotel in Cairo.
“Following their advice, we submitted our passports and waited till about 12am, none of EgyptAir’s staffers or Egyptian Immigration Services officials came to address us or tell us the reason for the delay. We were confined to a perimeter of the Airport, 59 of us, exposed to COVID-19 risks.
“We offered to book a hotel just 50 metres from the confinement but we were greeted with a resounding no. They cited security reasons as the rationale for not admitting us. EgyptAir refused to admit us into the hotel despite the fact that we used their flight and they knew there was a 24-hour layover between the flights.
“The Egyptian Immigration Service has refused to return our passports, they have refused to allow us purchase food in the airport, they have refused to grant us shelter even though we were willing to pay for it, all with no explanations.
“Some of us slept on the floor, others on the chair. Sleep has been elusive for others. It has been over 12 hours since they collected our passports; they have been refused to grant us the right to purchase food and have shelter.
“EgyptAir is also complicit in this as they have refused to mediate on our behalf in addition to their terrible service delivery.”
The passenger said he called the Nigerian Embassy in Egypt but was told nothing could be done about the issue.
“Funnily enough, the cleaners are charging us five dollars to charge our phones and another one (dollar) to use the airport WiFi,” he added.
Saharareporters, New York