CSO drags Dana Air to Court for barring wheelchair-bound passenger from boarding, demands N550m
By Onome Naomi
A civil society organisation, Disability Rights Protection Initiative, has dragged an airline, Dana Air Limited, before Justice F. O. Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Enugu, over the alleged discrimination against a physically challenged passenger, Gloria Nwogbo.
The case came up on Tuesday as the group is demanding N550m as compensation.
The airline was alleged to have on August 5, 2021, refused Nwogbo from boarding its airline at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, on the grounds that she was disabled, though she purchased her air ticket and obtained her boarding pass.
The Registered Trustees of DRP sued for Nwogbo (the applicant), a native of Awka in the Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The applicant, in the suit marked FHC/EN/CS/181/2021 and filed by her lawyer, Kelechi Chukwu, obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, asked the court to declare that the action of the respondent in refusing and denying Nwogbo from boarding and/or accessing their airline on the grounds that she was disabled “was inhuman, degrading and discriminatory.”
The applicant also asked the court to declare that the terms and conditions of the respondent’s air ticket, which states that “special passengers: wheelchair (WCHR) and visually-impaired (Blind) passengers cannot travel without an accompanied person, we are always happy to serve WCHR and Blind passengers but they cannot travel unaccompanied,” was discriminatory and contrary to Section 42(2) of the Constitution as amended, and therefore illegal, unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.
Other reliefs are, “an order of this honourable court directing the respondent to pay the sum of N50m only as exemplary damages to the applicant for the inhuman, degrading and discriminatory treatment meted out to the applicant.
An order of this honourable court directing the respondent to pay the sum of N500m only as general damages to the applicant for the shame, shock, public ridicule and psychological trauma suffered by the applicant as a result of the inhuman, degrading and discriminatory treatment meted out to the applicant.
“An injunction restraining the respondent, whether by themselves, their servants, officers, agents or privies, in any manner whatsoever from further discriminating against the applicant on the basis that she is a disabled person.
“An order of this honourable court directing the respondent to refund the sum of N28,800 only to the applicant being the sum paid as the airfare by the applicant to the respondent.”
The lawyer also sought an apology to be issued to Nwogbo for the alleged violation of her fundamental rights.