Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has asked airlines to impose fines on passengers who stay on seats not allocated to them on the aircraft.
Soyinka said this in a statement issued on Saturday in reaction to the furore that escalated following an incident that occurred recently on an aircraft with him as the principal actor.
The professor of Literature was asked by an unidentified young man to stand up from the seat allocated to him aboard an international flight, insisting that the playwright sat on the wrong seat.
The incident, which was made public by Tonye Cole, former Group Executive Director of Sahara Group and a former Rivers State governorship aspirant, elicited varied reactions on social media, and was even a topic of discussion in the traditional media.
But in his reaction, Soyinka admitted that he sat on a wrong seat and said he would never rationalise such action in any form.
The octogenarian stated that the airlines could help humanity by sanctioning erring passengers who pick the wring seats and genuinely hand over the proceeds to the needy in the society to eradicate health challenges, especially malnutrition.
The statement read: “Those who permit themselves to be persuaded, even for one second that I, Wole Soyinka, having wrongly identified a seat number like millions of travellers all the time, and all over the world, would then attempt to consolidate the error in any form, through act, word, or gesture, qualify to be the first beneficiaries of this vastly improved humanitarian policy.’’
He added, “I don’t know how much airlines succeed in raising for their charity drives through those envelopes they distribute to passengers into which their captive donors are exhorted to deposit their loose change before disembarking. Such monies are then distributed to worthy causes all over the world, especially in the pursuit of health. What I am convinced of is that they would generate a hundred times more if they were more creative.
“For instance, they could impose a fine on passengers who take the wrong seat on boarding, even for a second. One can only rejoice in the thought of such benefits to humanity in its efforts to eradicate all kinds of diseases, especially malnutrition, and ensure the supply of nutrients that prevent the premature onset of brain impairment.”