…as FAAN, Air peace, Med view others shun investigative hearing
By Gift Chapi Odekina
Persons living with disability on Tuesday threatened to sue Dana, Ibom airlines and others to court over alleged discrimination against persons living with disability on their airlines.
Speaking at an investigative hearing by the house committee on disability, Executive Secretary of the commission of persons living with disability, James Lalo, insisted that most operating airlines set up policies which are seen as discriminatory to persons living with disability, hence the need for the national assembly to enforce compliance of the constitution is necessary.
“Section 31 of the 1999 constitution says that there shall be no discrimination against persons with disability. Therefore it is an offence for airlines to come up with policies that violates our law and are not friendly to persons living with disability.
” We have been engaging with stakeholders to see that this issue is addressed, we met with the MD of FAAN to get us offices in the airport where our members will be attended to but he complained that the airports offices are filled up hence our request can’t be granted.
“We are ready to partner and trains airline operators to know how to handle persons with disability who patronise them. Most of us are well taken care of and attended to if we travel outside the shores of this country but are treated with disdain in our own country.
Chike a person living with disability in his presentation through his lawyer accused DANA air of discriminating against him because of his condition and insisted that the airline must pay for damages.
“On that faithful day Mr Chike was in the airport to board DANA air from Abuja to Lagos but while at the airport his flight was rescheduled to 9pm and after waiting for hours and it was time to board his flight he was approached and told he cannot board the flight because it is part of the airline policy not to fly persons with disability at night,” she stated.
In his defence the Head of Operations DANA air, Emen Ettiete, stated that DANA air was never involved in discriminating against persons with disability. According to him, the airlines puts passengers safety first hence DANA makes sure all passengers boarding including those with disability are not in any risk or danger.
“We in DANA airline don’t discriminate against persons with disability in face we pay extra services to make sure they are comfortable on our airline, the case if Chike which the matter is still in court, as alleged, we did not refuse him boarding the flight on that faithful day it was a already late into the night and we did not want to risk his life considering his condition ” he said.
Representative of National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Rohda Tyoden while giving the agencies stand on the issue said that NCAA has not taken likely report on discrimination against people living with disability.
“According to her petitions in allegation have been dealt with in he past where some victims get compensation from the airlines.Speaking earlier in her open remark, the chairman of the committee, Rep. Miriam Odinaka said that the investigative hearing was necessary after several petitions where submitted against airline operators.
“This investigative hearing seeks to address some of these issues concerning how people with disability are treated in our society today.
That is why all stockholders and airline operators have been invited so we can know where these issues are coming from.
“On the airlines and agencies who have refuse to honour our invitation, the committee will take decisive decision on the issue because this is an investigative hearing and parties invited should be here” she added.