Two African men have been living at an airport in the Philippines for almost two years – in a real-life version of The Terminal.
Johnson Emmanuel Josiah, 42, from Liberia, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino National Airport in April 2019 from Guangzhou, China. He applied for asylum but was denied.
The other African man, Alain Njogho Acha, 32, from Cameroon, arrived from Bangkok, Thailand, that same month but his asylum application was also denied.
The Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration spokesman Dana Sandoval said the government would not take responsibility for the men. They handed them both over to the airline after their requests were denied.
She said: ‘It is now the responsibility of the airlines to put them on the next flight to their country of origin.’
Officials said that despite repeated requests, the two Africans refuse to go home.
Josiah was scheduled to depart on October 4, 2019 with a Kenya Air flight but he refused to board the plane and allegedly became aggressive.
A Philippine Airlines spokesman said that the two men would ‘make a scene’ each time they were loaded onto planes.
She said: ‘Every time we tried to board the two Africans, they always made a scene and became unruly until it was too risky for other passengers onboard.’
The airline carrier has been responsible for the duo ever since, paying for their meals and accommodation at the airport’s transit lounge in Pasay City.
Data from the United Nations Refugee Agency states more than 1,400 refugees sought asylum in the country since 2015 more than, most of whom are from Syria, Yemen, and Cameroon.
The Terminal is a 2004 comedy-drama film starring Tom Hanks where he played the role of a man stranded in a foreign airport after war rages in his home country.