Dana reacts to physically challenged passenger accusation of discrimination by the airline
A Dana Air passenger with special needs, Chike Okogwu, on Sunday, reportedly destroyed check-in facilities of Dana airline, after alleging he was unfairly treated.
The airline, however, dismissed Mr Okogwu’s allegations in a statement released after the incident.
The incident happened at the domestic terminal of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The man, whose profile on Twitter reads as Media Consultant and Disability Advocate, posted his experience on his Twitter page Sunday evening accusing the commercial airliner of discrimination.
“This is indeed the height of discrimination against persons with Disabilities in Nig,” Mr Okogwu said.
“I booked a 7:20PM flight from Abj-Lag which was rescheduled to 9.05PM. I got my boarding pass only for Dana Air to say a new policy forbids carrying us with wheelchairs.”
A few minutes after the tweet, he posted again: “It’s turning bloody here in Abuja Airport.”
“If we die, we die. I say no to discrimination of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
“I met with all their conditions as displayed on their website please. Bought 2 Biz Class Tickets as you can see. Pls never allow anybody trample on your rights. I am only disabled by a messed up system but very highly exposed, cerebral & compassionate,” Mr Okogwu wrote.
Meanwhile, in a statement on Monday, Dana countered the claim of the passenger.
It said the company’s policy “in the interest of safety, is not to carry special passengers at night.”
“To put the issue into proper perspective, the said passenger (a PWD Person With Disability) who we regard as Special Passengers at Dana Air, got to our counter yesterday, 20th December 2020 at about 8pm for his flight and when our Duty Manager noticed him in the midst of the upsurge of passengers, approached him and politely explained to him that as a matter of policy, comfort and safety of our guests, we do not carry Special Passengers at night while offering to check him in first, on the 7am flight the next day.
“The said the passenger blatantly refused the offer and went violent on the Duty Manager causing her injuries in the process.
“This same passenger also went further to destroy our check-in systems, chairs, COVID-19 Protective glass shields and weighing machines at our counter in Abuja. ( We have our video evidence),” the airlinee said
It added that “the passenger has enjoyed the luxury of flying with them for many years even as other airlines have totally refused to even sell tickets to him as a result of his reputation of verbally attacking able-bodied staff assigned to assist him whenever he is flying.”
“Apart from this reason why other airlines avoid him, Dr Chike knows that Dana Air is among the few airlines that accepts Persons with Disability with a policy which we expect them to follow strictly in their own interest and in the interest of safety.
“While we acknowledge and regret the frustrations of our guests at this time and working round the clock to resolve the undesirable issues our guests are experiencing, we wish to state without an iota of doubt that Dana Air has never, and will never as a brand; discriminate against ANY passenger no matter the circumstance.”
Dana added that “it will not tolerate any acts of violence against any of her staff, passengers or property and as a law-abiding corporate citizen of Nigeria, we urge Dr. Chike Okogwu to be civil in his engagements as everything we do at Dana Air will always be in the interest of safety.”
Despite the hike in air fare, many Nigerians still rely on air travel as Nigerian roads have been rendered unsafe due to the activities of bandits and kidnapper.