By Francis Ogwo
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday ordered Emirates Airlines to pay $1.36million to pay one Mr Orji Ikem, a businessman, being the amount contained in his hand luggage which got missing in the Airline’s custody on his trip to China in 2007.
Justice Muslim Hassan who presided over the case also ordered the Airline to pay N50 million as damages to Ikem for the “untold hardship and loss of earning” he suffered by the deprivation of use of his money from 2007 till date.
The judgement by Justice Hassan according to reports, is coming after nearly 12-year legal battle with the Airline to recover his two hand luggage containing personal effects and $700,000, as well as $930,000 in 18 bundles of $50,000 wraps each and $30,000 cash not wrapped.
In his ruling on the plaintiff’s prayers for the return of his $1.36 million and N100 million as general damages, Justice Hassan observed that the airline, through its lawyer, Prof Awah Kalu (SAN), failed to refute Ikem’s claims.
The judge held: “I have read all the processes filed by both parties as well as their agreements and resolved that the only issue for determination is whether the plaintiff is entitled to the reliefs sought before this court.
“A claim not controverted is deemed admitted. In this case, the defendants did not call witness but rather rests its case on that of the plaintiff which means that all what the plaintiff claimed and their pleadings are admitted.
“I hold that Emirate Airlines failed in his obligations to customer by not delivering the luggage containing the sum of $1.36 million.
“On the whole, I hereby make the following orders; An order that Emirates Airlines pay the plaintiff the sum of $1.36 million.
“An order that the defendant pay the sum of fifty million Naira (N50 million) to the defendant as damages. Parties shall bear their own respective costs.”
At the court proceeding, it was learnt that the $930,000 belonged to another businessman, Olisaemeka Ugwunze, who wanted it delivered to China for a business transaction.