- Johnson Emmanuel Josiah, 44, stayed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport for more than two years
- The Liberian national, who arrived in the Philippines in April 2019, was granted asylum in Canada
- Josiah has been moved to the airport’s terminal 1 in preparation for his flight in the coming days
A 44-year-old Liberian national who was left stranded at an airport in the Philippines for several years has been allowed to fly out of the country.
Johnson Emmanuel Josiah was approved to travel out of Pasay City’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Canada after his request for asylum was granted, Philippine newspaper the Manila Bulletin reported.
The Liberian national arrived in the Philippines on April 21, 2019 via Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR-383 from Guangzhou, China, records from the south-east Asian country’s Bureau of Immigration showed. He was scheduled to leave the country later that year on Oct. 4 via a flight by Kenya Air, but he refused to board the plane and became unruly.
Another African national, identified as Alain Njogho Acha of Cameroon, was left stranded in NAIA with Josiah since 2019 after their requests for asylum were denied. Both men refused to go home for unknown reasons.
Josiah and Acha stayed at the transit lounge in NAIA’s terminal 2, where they were cared for by PAL.
The status of Acha, who arrived in the Philippines on April 4, 2019 as a transit passenger from Thailand’s capital of Bangkok, is unclear.
Josiah has reportedly been transferred to NAIA’s terminal 1 in preparation for his flight to Canada in the coming days.
Syrian national Hassan Al Kontar experienced a similar situation in late 2018 when he was granted residency in Canada after being left stranded at a Malaysian airport for seven months.
Kontar lived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport from his arrival on March 7, 2018 until his departure in late November of that year.
The then-37-year-old had refused to return to his home country out of fear of being arrested for not joining the military, but he was granted asylum and permanent residency in Canada. His move to the country as a refugee was sponsored by the British Columbia Muslim Association and the Canada Caring Society.
“The last 10 months, it was very hard. I could not do it without the support and prayers from all of you. I could not do it without the help of my family, my Canadian friend’s family, and my lawyer. Thank you all. I love you all,” Kontar was quoted as saying in a video update.
“What happened to Hassan is emblematic of what it’s like to be a refugee. He is one of the millions upon millions of refugees out there — people stuck in limbo like he was,” Kontar’s lawyer, Andrew Brouwer, said in response to the approval of his client’s asylum request.