[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 15:22 GMT
Nigeria condemns 'rude' airlines
A Nigerian traveller with luggage
Mr Fani-Kayode said Nigerians were being "treated like animals"
Nigeria's aviation minister has accused two UK airlines of treating Nigerian passengers with the "utmost contempt".

Femi Fani-Kayode said British Airways and Virgin Atlantic could face "major sanctions" over alleged maltreatment of Nigerians on their flights.

But British Airways says it is "very distressed" by the comments.

"We will be visiting the minister personally next week to address his concerns," a British Airways spokesperson told the BBC News website.

'Respect and dignity'

Mr Fani-Kayode said he "would not sit by and allow our people to be treated like animals by anybody or for any reason".

He said Nigerian passengers usually faced such treatment when checking-in for a flight.

However, BA's Becky Livingstone said: "We take great pride in our customer service and have the same excellent standards for all our customers throughout the world."

A spat between the Nigerian government under the former dictator Sani Abacha in 1997, led to BA's flights being suspended for several months, leading to huge losses for the airline.

Virgin Atlantic's Nigeria office says it is preparing a response to the minister's accusations.

Mr Fani-Kayode advised both airlines to "offer better training and far more discipline" to their staff so they could learn to treat their Nigerian passengers "with respect and decency".

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the two biggest international passenger carriers to Nigeria operating daily flights to Abuja and Lagos, respectively.

How can we make flying safer?
30 Oct 06 |  Have Your Say
Country profile: Nigeria
11 Oct 05 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific